SOMERVILLE, NJ –Throughout December, Gallery on Main's "Artist of the Month" series features an exhibition of digital collage works by Zig Mantell.

Meet the artist at a free opening reception at Gallery on Main on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 5-7 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Mantell, an artist and musician, has explored many art forms throughout his life, from pencils, photography and painting to piano. There are many facets to his works that do not fit neatly into a single category, and many layers to his visual and musical creations.

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In 1990, after a 20-year period of painting large oils and pencil works, he spent time working primarily on musical composition and performing his piano works, recording two CDs in the process — all while maintaining his industrial career. Around 1994 when he returned to visual arts, it was to use photography as a means of exploring the concepts of collage.

Then, in early 2000 everything went digital and Mantell began using a Mac computer, not only to record and produce music, but also to use Adobe Photoshop with his digital camera.

“This changed the way I approached all my creative projects in a very dramatic way,” Mantell said. “Whether it's music or visual, my work has always been improvisatory. The randomness and momentary connections we make are the most interesting. Dreams we have exhibit that randomness the same way being in a public space among others can. We have always wanted to interpret those dreams as meaningful.

"I marvel at the environments we have made for ourselves all over the world.” he continues, “I use my camera to record the iconic material we surround ourselves with. It all represents our collective aspirations and dreams through the personal act. I look for the essence of our environment and how we live in it. I think of it as a study with no end.

“My use of Photoshop instead of any other means of expression may only be temporary," he adds.. "My urge to paint is ongoing, even now. And it is probably why I like to turn my photos into paintings.”

Gallery on Main is located at 30 West Main St. and is open Sundays 11 a.m.- 5p.m, Mondays through Saturdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and by appointment. To learn more, visit, call 908-722-4234 or follow