Pierro Gallery of South Orange Presents Four Artists from the Gallery Aferro Residency Program

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The Pierro Gallery is pleased to host four alumni of the Gallery Aferro Studio Residency program in an exhibition that will run through February 15.  The artists will present installation-based exhibitions that were originally premiered at Gallery Aferro in Newark NJ. Each artist's project reflects the rigorous and often experimental studio work undertaken during their six month residency. The installations, under the heading Four from Aferro are as follows: Skinning The Image, Katrina Bello; The Edge of Pause, Marcy Chevali; Sowing Promise, Vikki Michalios; and Toile News Project, Margaret Murphy. There will be an art talk in the Pierro  gallery with the artists and co-founder of Gallery Aferro, Emma Wilcox on January 30th at 7pm.

Connecting Gallery Aferro and Pierro Gallery via the residency program, highlights the artistic vibrancy of the region, and the important role that workspace programs and art centers play in placemaking and the free exchange of ideas. “I’m thrilled to bring these artists to the Pierro Gallery in South Orange,” says Sandy Martiny, Gallery Director.  “Each one is engaged in cutting edge artistic practice that interprets aspects of our contemporary life in surprising and beautiful ways.”

Chevali and Bello's installations both reflect a kind of testing of physical and perceptual boundaries, with Bello investigating the dimensions of space using painting and video, and Chevali creating objects that appear to transcend gravity and possibly time. Michalios and Murphy are both engaged with a different, but equally passionate investigation, creating artworks in response to the 24 hour news cycle and challenging the viewer to consider the difference between an event and the media coverage of it.

Gallery Aferro's residency program brings together 10-12 local, national and international artists each year to work on ambitious projects across an expansive and highly diverse cross-section of contemporary art practice, encompassing sculpture, printmaking, painting, installation, video and performance. Each artist receives 24/7 access to a large studio, career support, studio visits from curators, the opportunity to participate in public events such as artist talks and open studios, a culminating solo exhibition, inclusion in a publication and the chance to document their experiences on the studio blog. With an ever-expanding alumni network of almost 70 artists, there are ongoing opportunities for collaboration and fellowship.

The Pierro Gallery of South Orange was founded in 1994 by artists and volunteers from the community who renovated three dilapidated, underutilized rooms in the Baird Center. Today this well used space provides a bright, creative environment in which to experience the work of established and emerging contemporary artists. The gallery produces five to six exhibitions each year and offers free special events, gallery talks, and workshops related to exhibitions for artists, the general public, and schools and community groups.

The Edge of Pause
Marcy Chevali

Through the subtle transformation of everyday items, this installation elicits a sense of endless patience, with an edge of muted anticipation. Chevali's sculptural decisions evoke a space where time is stretched, warped, and on occasion moves backwards.

Marcy Chevali is a visual artist with an MFA from the Maine College of Art; she has been based in New York City since 2008. The recipient of a 2011 Gallery Aferro Studio Residency, Chevali has shown work in galleries and artists’ spaces in the city, including Queens Museum of Art, Lexington Art League, Aicon Gallery, AC Institute, The Gallery of Contemporary Art at Sacred Heart University and with organizations such as Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peculiar Works Projects, and 4heads.  Chevali works in multiple media  (thread, tea, paper, sugar, turmeric) and stages performance pieces that engage problems of gender, adornment, and narrative. She has served on the board of directors for the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective since 2011.

Skinning The Image
Katrina Bello

The point of departure for Katrina Bello's new series of work is a quote by British painter Cecily Brown, who said about her work in the February 2013 American Vogue magazine: "I need a source, especially at the beginning, when I'm trying to get under the skin of an image." Thinking of painting as similar to skin is not a new concept, but the idea of the image as having a skin is something that Bello is trying to understand through this body of work.

Katrina Bello is a visual artist whose focus is painting and drawing.
She received her MFA in Studio Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and has exhibited in the United States and the Philippines. She currently lives in New Jersey.  She is an alumna of the Gallery Aferro Studio Residency Program.

Toile News Project
Margaret Murphy

After a decade of working with figurines deconstructing gender and consumerism Margaret Murphy’s new work that is based on the current news images that confront us daily on google and facebook. Using acrylic and silkscreen on fabric she paints sections of a toile fabric design switching out the central figure with one from a current event. These paintings juxtapose historic sentimentalized views of life with current images and viewpoints.
Award winning artist, curator and educator Margaret Murphy received her BS degree from Towson University in Maryland and her MFA in Painting from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University in New Jersey. Murphy is the recipient of a Pollock Krasner Individual Artist Fellowship, a New Jersey State Arts Council Fellowship in Painting, a Puffin Foundation Grant, a MacDowell Colony Artist Residency and many others. She was inaugurated into the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base in 2011. She has exhibited in solo and group shows internationally. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at the Visual Art Center of New Jersey, HPGRP Gallery in NY, Real Art Ways in CT., and Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia, as well as a traveling Ten-Year Survey Exhibition. Murphy is represented by Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia. Murphy is an accomplished curator mounting over a dozen contemporary art exhibitions in NY and NJ. She has taught at numerous colleges and universities for the past eighteen years.

Sowing Promise
Vikki Michalios

The work and art of Vikki Michalios is about environmental systems inspired by ecological events, contemporary media coverage of them, or legends related to them.  Since the 2009 Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe, fields of sunflowers have been planted to absorb radioactive contamination from Japan’s soil. The flowers lifted spirits while lightening the radiation damage. Sowing flowers of hope for a radioactive free future was the point of departure for the series of water based screen prints. Prints, as well as a 6 foot high by 20 foot long water garden, can be seen together. The garden installation, “Beyond Organic,” is intended to ignite inquiry about modern use of natural resources and its impacts on ecology and health.

Vikki Michalio’s drawings, prints, paintings, and installations have been exhibited nationally in group exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. Past exhibition venues include the Hunterdon Museum (Hunterdon, NJ), Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, NY), Jersey City Museum (Jersey City, NJ), Teachers College Columbia University (New York City, NY), Walsh Gallery at Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ), Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), Blackburn 20/20 at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (New York City, NY), Center for Contemporary Arts (Bedminster, NJ), Contemporary Artists Center, (Woodside, NY), Curious Matter (Jersey City, NJ), Denise Bibro Gallery (New York City, NY). Upcoming shows include her first solo show, “Sowing Promise,” at Gallery Aferro (Newark, NJ), and the 2014 Aljira Emerge 11 group exhibition curated by Edwin Ramaron. She has been published in The Star Ledger (NJ), New York Arts Magazine (NY), and Steven Zevitas, Studio Visit Magazine (MA). Michalios was awarded residencies at Millay Colony of Art (Austerlitz, NY), City Without Walls, ArtReach (Newark, NJ), Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua, NY), and Gallery Aferro (Newark, NJ). She is a 2013 recipient of Aljira Emerge 11. Michalios earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts from The Evergreen State College with a focus in literature and an M.F.A. in Painting from the University of Oregon. She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and now lives and works in New York and New Jersey.

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