Four artists have been exhibiting their work together throughout Hudson County as part of an artists’ group called the “Quarters.” They are Secaucus resident Bobby Travieso, Secaucus resident Julie Gadaleta, Bloomfield resident Robin Mitchell, and Glen Ridge resident Susan McCallen. All with diverse backgrounds and bodies of work, they recently held an exhibit at the Secaucus Public Library through July 2.
“We have been showing on and off together for about six years now,” said Bobby Travieso.
Quarters has exhibited together all over New Jersey including Edgewater, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, and several times at the Monroe Center for the Arts in Hoboken. Their art ranges from fine art to photography to cartooning.
“Quarters is a small, close-knit group of four who enjoy exhibiting our artwork in untraditional local places,” said McCallen. Some of these nontraditional spaces have included a pet spa, a kung fu academy, and an antiques cafe.
“I’m very proud of these exhibits, as they underscore the message that art is for everyone, everywhere,” said McCallen.
“I’m very proud of these exhibits, as they underscore the message that art is for everyone, everywhere.” – Susan McCallen
Travieso has been proactive in seeking out a local arts scene since he moved from Manhattan to Secaucus 13 years ago.
“It was a slow interaction of meetings through shows that all four us got together,” said Travieso about how the group met. He said that other than friendship, the group provides a support system and greater visibility for their work.
“We all look out for opportunities and let each other know about future shows,” said Travieso. He said that the group tries to meet at least once a month at one of their homes.
From cartooning to metal sculpture
Each artist brings a distinct element to the Quarters and their exhibits present a range in subject and medium.
Travieso is known as the cartoonist of the group and displayed his personal collection of 30 cereal boxes at the recent library exhibit. His work also includes fine arts pieces but his pieces tend to incite humor.
“I take real, commercial cereal boxes and without opening them alter their front appearance to create my own theme,” said Travieso.
Travieso pursued art as an adult after college. However, he had begun drawing at the age of seven after his father was killed during a holdup in Manhattan’s Washington Heights during the early 1970s. That event influenced him greatly and he took to art as an outlet.
Exploring own sense of self
McCallen has been exhibiting for close to 10 years. She said her work has been labeled as “neo-expressionist.” She addresses a number of themes through her pieces including the idea of internal and external space and a figure or figures within that space to provide context.
“My hope is to encourage the viewer to explore his or her own sense of self within that space,” said McCallen. She hoped to demonstrate the range of her artwork at the recent exhibit with pieces such as the acrylic painting “The Crow,” a metal and glass panel sculpture “Face,” and the watercolor pencil drawing “Retired Clown.”
Revealing natural forms
Mitchell is inspired by classic masters such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Claude Monet, Leonardo da Vinci, and modern artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Andrew Wyeth, and Norman Rockwell.
“I love detail and realism,” said Mitchell. “Natural forms, textures and bright colors seem to draw my attention more than anything else.”
Her piece “3 Cats” of her mother’s three cats was created using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator software and incorporated scanned photos and Clip Art to transform the much loved pets into a painting. Her other works are inspired by people and places. One is a male torso sketch completed in college that reminds her of creative capability under pressure. Another is “Fancy Closet,” a painting that brings elements together such as a feather boa, red bedroom slippers, a teal umbrella, and red sun hat inspired by her grandmother who loves red.
Noticing the lines
Gadaleta began photographing fire escapes in her Hoboken backyard at the age of 15. She has always been intrigued with lines, angles, and looks for the unnoticed. She has a series called “Window Art” that features reflections of mannequins looking longingly through windowpanes at street traffic.
In another series of line artworks, one photograph shows a rusty lock against a purple metal grate with peeling paint. She is inspired by shooting macro, landscapes, still lifes, nature, and candid subjects.
“My vision on photography is being able to capture a moment of time and turn it into art,” said Gadaleta in her artist statement.
“My work is a reflection of…the roads I’ve traveled [and] the pain I’ve felt of lost dreams, disappointment, frustration and fear,” said Gadaleta. “Then there is hope, desire and new dreams yet to come.”
The Quarters plans to exhibit as a group at the Monroe Center for the Arts in Hoboken in October during the Hoboken Artists Studio Tour.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.