Art inspired by the subway, plants are all part of exhibitions at RU-N this academic year

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Above: Martina Shenal, Suizenji Garden (jima), Kumamoto Prefecture, 2012, archival pigment print, 24”x30”, courtesy of the artist

The Paul Robeson Galleries of Rutgers University-Newark have announced the galleries’ 2015-2015 schedule of free public exhibitions.

The (Not So) Secret Life of Plants
Paul Robeson Galleries, Main Gallery, Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Newark, New Jersey 07102-1801
through Dec. 17, 2015; Reception, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, 5 -7 p.m.

Plants are the foundation on which most visible life on the planet exists.  They are under stress, with diminishing natural environments and the very real possibility that many plants may become extinct even before humans are aware of their existence.  This exhibition explores the nature of plants and how humans interact with them, from the forest to the home.

Artists in this exhibition: Thea Clark, John Edmark, Dana Fritz, Jim Jacobs, Ming-Jer Kuo, Jessica Lagunas, Sam Metcalf, Lina Puerta, Lindsay M. Robbins, Martina Shenal, Linda Stillman, Adam Swart, Yeon Ji Yoo, Rachel Yurkovich

Pig Wars & Migration: Maria Lupo
Paul Robeson Galleries, Orbit 1 Gallery through Dec. 24, 2015; Reception, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, 5-7 p.m.

Maria Lupo’s work explores the personal, societal, and environmental impacts of war and migration.  Both are driven by basic needs such as food, safety, and freedom, but can lead to tense societies where equality and peace seem hopeless.  Lupo writes, “We are a global, world network and we are all held prisoner by the terror of war and its slaughter of the human spirit.”  Maria Lupo is a nationally recognized artist, a Registered Art Therapist, and holds a second Masters in Counseling Psychology.  Her work is included in many public and private collections.

Subway Series 2012 – Present: James Wilson
Paul Robeson Galleries, Orbit 2 Gallery, through Dec. 24, 2015; Reception, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015 5-7 p.m.

James Wilson’s ongoing “Subway Series” is composed of the artist’s observational drawings from life on Path and subway trains in and around Newark.  In rapid lines, Wilson captures moments of privacy and solitude in public places.  James Steven Wilson is a born-and-raised Newark artist, a graduate of the city’s famed Arts High, and a fixture of the Newark skateboard and graffiti scenes.  Wilson writes, “Through my art I hope to tell stories of whimsical irony, pensive despair, and playful joy.  One theme present throughout my work is that of the dispossessed youth.”  In addition to his art practice, which includes murals, drawings, paintings, and 3 dimensional works, Wilson is an art handler, artist educator, and mentor for local youth.

Bloom: Patricia Arias-Reynolds & Sarah Lamont
Paul Robeson Galleries, U-Gallery, through May 2016; Reception, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, 5-7 p.m.

The works in this exhibition celebrate and meditate on the burgeoning energies found in nature—visible and invisible, implied through interactions of color and gesture.  Both artists, Patricia Arias-Reynolds and Sarah Lamont, are recent graduates from Rutgers University-Newark’s Department of Arts, Culture & Media.  Sarah Lamont drips, splatters, and pours her materials onto saturated canvases to arrive at color interactions reminiscent of those created by foam bath bombs on the surface of water.  Patricia Arias-Reynolds’ work uses trees as a starting point to explore spirituality, nature, energy, and healing.

Exploring Global Leadership in Tanzania
Paul Robeson Galleries, Pequod Deck Gallery, through Oct. 22, 2015; Reception, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, 5-7 p.m.

For the past five years, the Paul Robeson Campus Center has been committed to designing student development programming that challenges participants as they move through critical stages of identity development. Through a series of intentional service learning initiatives, we offer our students an opportunity to serve as global citizens and active social change agents.

This exhibition features photographs from the Robeson International Leadership Exchange. This ten-day initiative based in Tanzania and Zanzibar, encourages students to engage models of leadership through a global lens. This partnership with Zanzibar University and our non-profit allies, prepares and challenges Rutgers students to cross boundaries of difference, gain cultural competency, and further their professional development.

I Might Be Next: Jerry Gant & Bryant Lebron
Criminal Justice Gallery, Rutgers Center for Law and Justice, 5th floor, 123 Washington St., Newark; through Dec. 24, 2015

In the midst of recent headlines about unarmed Black individuals killed by white police officers, Newark artists Jerry Gant and Bryant Lebron are investigating the Black experience with criminal justice in modern America.

One Worm at a Time: Armisey Smith
Messier Gallery, Robeson Campus Center, 3rd Floor; through July 28, 2016

This series of murals tells the story of a person of color navigating mental illness, working through the stigma and taking the journey through this disability to find balance, peace, and resilience.  Armisey Smith is a Newark-based illustrator, graphic designer, curator, and painter.


Images are available for media use; please contact Caren King Choi, gallery manager amd education coordinator, 973/353-1625; fax, 973/353-5912; or;

For additional information please contact: Carla Capizzi, senior public relations specialist, 973/ 353-5263;; or Anonda Bell, director and curator, Paul Robeson Galleries, 973/353-1609,

The Paul Robeson Galleries’ programs are supported, in part, by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and by private donations.  The Galleries are also supported by the Paul Robeson Campus Center, the Faculty of Artsand Sciences, and the Cultural Programming Committee, Rutgers University-Newark.