Artwork by selected members of Hoboken’s hob’art co-operative gallery will be featured at the Clifton Arts Center and Sculpture Park in Clifton from Jan. 16 to Feb. 23 for the exhibit “Alchemy.”
Curated by hob’art member France Garrido, the exhibit explores transformation. The artists featured in the show are described as exploring past and present or life or death in their art.
The Reporter met up last week in the artists’ studio of hob’art members Myrna Micheli and Willie Baez, who both have pieces featured in the upcoming exhibit.
A resident of more than six years, Micheli joined hob’art a year after she settled in to town. She shares an artist studio at the Neumann Leather building with fellow resident Willie Baez, and North Bergen artist Walter Rodriguez.
Journey to creativity
During the interview she spoke about loneliness as a source of inspiration, world travel, and her progression from figurative painting to landscapes to a recent exploration of doll making.
“Most of my work…reflects the different places I’ve been,” said Micheli last week.
The “Alchemy” exhibit opening at the Clifton Art Center Gallery features the works of selected hob-art artists.
“That was fabulous,” said Micheli about her time in Jakarta. “That is where I started taking painting classes.”
Before pursuing art, Micheli studied science as an undergraduate in Puerto Rico and received a Master’s in Bilingual Education from Boston University. She privately trained in the fine arts. In Jakarta she studied water color with Japanese artists among others.
“I just loved it,” said Micheli. “When I moved to Buenos Aires I continued taking private lessons with different artists.”
Expressions out of solitude
Loneliness has served as a backdrop to Micheli’s work throughout her years exploring art.
“The art provided me this venue to discharge all my loneliness…my solitude…all of my feelings,” said Micheli. “Being so far away from your family, your country, your childhood friends just gives you a way…to appreciate and miss them so much.”
Art served as a source of refuge and happiness for Micheli.
“Art was a great tool for me,” said Micheli. “When you start work you just immerse yourself in this capsule or world. It just gives you so much peace and happiness.”
She prefers oils and also works with acrylics. Micheli is drawn to paint landscapes. She was recently inspired by Baez to try her hand at doll making.
“I was very lucky to meet Willie through a friend,” noted Micheli.
“We got together and we just clicked,” said Micheli about the first time she met Baez, which was close to four years ago. Baez helped introduce Micheli to the artist world in Hoboken as well as opportunities to show her work.
A well-known artist and resident of 26 years, Baez has dedicated 30 years to painting and in the past year has explored printmaking.
“Last year I decided to try different media,” said Baez. “I took up printmaking and I loved it.”
He said that the two etchings featured in the exhibit Alchemy, “Cumuliform,” and “Rainmaker,” represent the process of transformation in moving from one medium to the other. The etchings are of objects Baez invented.
“I decided to do these machines that don’t exist,” said Baez. “It is a combination of propellers and bicycles and all kinds of things that don’t really make sense.”
Micheli has two pieces titled “Space” and “Synergy” in the Clifton exhibit.
“In alchemy…you mix two things to create something different,” said Micheli.
“My work in a way…is a transition piece for me.”
On Saturday, Jan. 16, “Alchemy” will open at the Clifton Art Center Gallery, which is located at 900 Clifton Ave. in Clifton. The exhibition will be open to the public until Feb. 23, and a reception to meet the artists will be held on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. In case of inclement weather the reception will be held on Sunday, Jan. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.