Deptford Twp. – Nine artists will bring their distinctive, elegant works to Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) in celebration of Black History Month. A reception will be held on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Dr. Ross Beitzel Art Gallery to kick off the new exhibit.
Artists Erik James Montgomery, Susan Jarvis Ragland, August Riche, Khalilah Sabree and Aundreta N. Wright will join artists from the Labelle Art Gallery – Henry Lee Battle, Charles Bibbs, Kenneth Gatewood and Edwin Lester – to proudly display their collection of illustrations, mixed media, paintings and photography thanks in part to the South Jersey Chapter of LINKS – a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization that has sprouted more than 250 chapters aimed to help communities with civic and cultural education since 194
Erik James Montgomery is a self-taught, fine art photographer who creates relevant, thought-provoking, visually-unique imagery. He is the owner and instructor at EJM Photography in South Jersey and has showcased his photography at various art galleries, colleges and community events over the past 20 years. Montgomery’s goal for his work is to give a visual voice to every one of his subjects, thereby becoming a photographic storyteller and a documentarian of this era. In 2011 he founded the Erik James Montgomery Foundation, dedicated to instructing at-risk youth in the artistic development of professional photography.
“Urban folk art” is how artist Susan Jarvis Ragland describes her acrylic or gouache, pen and ink creations. She is primarily a self-taught artist, although she has completed some coursework at the Maryland College of Art and Design. Ragland has worked on projects for the National Coalition of Black Women Voters, University Music Entertainment, the National Conference of Artists and George Washington University’s upcoming anthology “Diversity and Inclusion: Advancing GW’s Commitment to Academic Excellence.”
Graphic artist and producer August Riche was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. into a world of art, culture and music she was destined to become a part of. She attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia before deciding to leave to fully-commit herself to freelance work. Riche has since been creating largely within, but not limiting herself to, several styles of art, including abstract, urban stencil and graphic illustration. A life-long love of music has spurned her to also utilize the medium of audio production.
Khalilah Sabree’s art is about spiritual transformation. Her current body of work contains a variety of large-scale, mixed-media paintings. She filters the world through the eyes of an African-American Muslim woman and educator, with much of her recent work focused on the destruction of the Muslim world and how the world views Islam. Sabree maintains a private studio at Artworks in Trenton, N.J., has a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of the Arts and received her B.A. from The College of New Jersey. Her work has be exhibited extensively throughout the tri-state area.
The subject matter in Aundreta Wright’s work are as varied as her interests in life. She has created craypas floral drawings, hand-constructed pots, tiles, paintings, prints and mixed-media collages. Wright is currently an adjunct professor at Mercer County College, after 45 years of service in the Trenton and Savannah school systems and many volunteer efforts with civic organizations. She received her M.A. from Montclair University, her B.A. from Florida A&M and her A.A. from Mercer County College.
Well-traveled Air Force veteran Henry Battle, describes his style as richly realistic, figurative snapshots of life. His subject matter ranges from spiritual and family-friendly to romantic moments frozen in time. Battle hopes for his viewers to be captivated by the passion of his subjects, then drawn into the detail of it, discovering a bit more with each viewing.
Internationally acclaimed artist Charles Bibbs combines realistic and larger-than-life interpretations of contemporary subjects that are ethnically rooted. After 25 years of balancing his passion for creating art with working a traditional, eight-hour-a-day job, Bibbs decided to dedicate himself to his art full-time, forming his own publishing and distribution company, B. Graphics and Fine Arts, Inc. Today, he is one of the top-selling artists in the country and his company has grown into one of the leaders in the African-American art print market.
Kenneth Gatewood grew up surrounded by family that encouraged him to utilize his God-given talent to create works of art. He grew up impressed with the values of family and togetherness, which have influenced his work. Gatewood’s fond childhood memories of family picnics, fishing trips and holiday celebrations are reflected in many of his pieces.
Paul Goodnight’s work has been featured in numerous television programs and movies, including “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” “Seinfeld,” “ER” and “Ghost.” He discovered his gift for art at a very early age. After serving a short stint in the Army during the Vietnam War, he returned to Boston where he decided to pursue art as a career and never looked back.
The reception will feature light refreshments, along with the music of Greg Moore and Actual Proof, a Philadelphia-based band that showcases some of the best jazz musicians in the tri-state area. The opportunity to purchase works from the exhibit will also be extended to interested individuals.
The show will run until March 3 in the Art Gallery located in the College Center. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 856-415-2122.
Rowan College at Gloucester County is located at 1400 Tanyard Road in Deptford, just off Exit 56 of Route 55.