SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The universe is coming to South Orange with the opening of the “Captivating Cosmos” exhibit at the Pierro Gallery Thursday evening, Nov. 7.
The exhibit is curated by Alyssa Dreliszak and Meaghan O’Connor, a pair of graduate students in Seton Hall University’s graduate museum professions program, and will run through Dec. 21.
“Advances in the study of such theories as black holes, parallel universes, and the curving of spacetime have forced physicists to walk the line between science and philosophy,” reads the Pierro Gallery’s website. “The Captivating Cosmos explores the ways that artists have sought to give experiential meaning to these obtuse ideas.”
The pieces featured in the exhibit were hand-picked by Dreliszak and O’Connor from a pool of tri-state artists, with a handful of pieces selected from farther west.
“For the most part we looked at artists from North Jersey and New York,” Dreliszak said. “But we also picked a lot from Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and even a few from Minnesota.”
According to her, all of the pieces chosen for the exhibit were designed to combine the mystery of the unexplored galaxy with the beauty of art, creating an intersection between the two that will interest everyone in the community.
“We’ve always been very interested in the universe,” Dreliszak said. “Back when I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, until I realized you have to be good at math to do it. So we didn’t want to put on an event just for artists, or just for scientists. We wanted to put an educational spin on it too, so that hopefully it will appeal to the wider community.”
The artists who were able to accomplish this are those who put a creative spin on theoretical concepts in their work. Among them are David Mazure, a Pennsylvania-based painter who explores the relationship between micro and macro universal concepts, and Assunta Sera of West Orange, who puts to canvas the idea of spacetime curvature.
The collaboration between Seton Hall and the Pierro Gallery comes as a result of increased enrollment in the university’s museum professions program.
“There has been a lot more interest in (Seton Hall’s) art classes lately,” Dreliszak said. “So the powers that be at the university decided they wanted to expand beyond the on-campus Walsh Gallery, and contacted Sandy Martiny, the Pierro Gallery’s director, to host an event.”
The exhibit will be complemented by a panel discussion with local scientists and select artists in the Seton Hall library’s Beck Room on Dec. 12, where they will discuss their inspiration and how the two mediums can intersect.
In the words of Stephen Hawking: “We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”
The reporter is a student participating in hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.