The paintings of Jane Rocca Hecht will be on exhibit at the Westfield Memorial Library through the end of May. The library is located at 550 East Broad Street.
Jane Rocca Hecht, a native of New Jersey, holds a B.A. from Rowan University. She was a special education teacher from 1967-1972. From 1995-2010, Ms. Hecht was enrolled part-time in the Continuing Education program at Drew University. She studied the classics, medieval studies, art history European history, and Chinese studies.
President Jimmy Carter awarded Ms. Hecht with a letter of commendation for her volunteer work in organizing the 2005 Suzhou Embroidery Exhibition at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum in Atlanta, Ga. The exhibition honored the 1979 Cultural Agreement signed by President Carter and Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping.
For the last fifteen years, Ms. Hecht has studied Chinese brush painting with Professor Hsu Dan, Ms. Diana Kung and Mrs. Nu. Ms. Hecht has studied life drawing and artistic anatomy at the New Jersey Visual Arts Center and at duCret School of Art. Her paintings have been exhibited at the Visual Arts Center, duCret School of Art, Swain Gallery, Watchung Arts Center, Morris County Library, and Bernardsville Library. Her paintings have won numerous watercolor awards.
Ms. Hecht is a member of the Westfield Sketch Group. Her note cards are sold by the Dominican Nuns of Summit in The Cloister Shoppe at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, Summit, N.J.
This exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Professor Hsu Dan, who spent a lifetime melding Eastern and Western painting techniques. Professor Hsu taught Ms. Hecht the spontaneous painting style that aims at expressing the essence, energy, inner life or soul of an object or landscape. This art form does not replicate, but rather expresses the poetic feelings an object or landscape evokes. In other words, the artists strive to paint what they experience rather than what they see. The paintings are created in an art studio from the artist’s memory of an experience and from rough sketches made on site.
Visitors to the library can also stop by the display case in the front entrance of the library as well as the side display case near the New Fiction section. The front display case features the work of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Garden State Chapter, and the side case features the Ukrainian Easter Egg collection of Westfield residents Mary Ann Kerelejza Dolling and husband Ulf Dolling.
What each of the collections in the display cases have in common is the delicate nature of the craftsmanship. The embroiderers are exhibiting purses; wall hangings, large and small; Christmas ornaments and jewelry, which is made out of crystal beads that are embroidered together with a beading needle.
The Guild also does outreach work, and the tiny caps that they knit and the gowns that they embroider for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Paterson, are on display.
The Ukrainian Easter Egg collection is the work of Catherine Kotyk-Kerelejza (1917-2012), who was born in New Britain, CT and raised in a Ukrainian immigrant community. After the death of her husband in 1979, she developed her artistic skills and found solace in painting the intricate designs typical of the Ukrainian Easter egg, known as pysanky. She searched for eggs continuously and even found a local farm that supplied her with goose eggs.
The display cases can be seen through the end of April and the paintings through May 31, anytime the library is open: Monday through Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Fridays 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturdays 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Individuals interested in exhibiting their artwork or showcasing their collections should contact Jen Schulze, Head of Adult Services at 908.789.4090 ext 7951.
Founded in 1879, the Westfield Memorial Library—the community’s destination for discovery and ideas—engages minds, entertains spirits and facilitates lifelong learning for people of all ages. For more information call 908.789.4090, visit the library’s website at www.wmlnj.org, or stop by the library at 550 East Broad Street for a copy of the award winning, quarterly newsletter Take Note.