Thursday, September 26, 2019

Fall Exhibitions Opening at Visual Arts Center of New Jersey on September 27

Painted Threads and Nadia Haji Omar: Ascension

WHEN: On view through the entirety of the fall and into winter, closing on February 9, 2020. Opening reception Friday, September 27, 7:30–9 PM. Gallery Hours: Monday–Wednesday and Friday, 10 AM–5 PM; Thursday, 10 AM–8 PM; and Saturday & Sunday, 11 AM–4 PM. Please call 908.273.9121 to confirm holiday hours. Adult and children’s group tours are available throughout the year.
WHERE: Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, 68 Elm Street in Summit
Visit for more information.

“In organizing Painted Threads I am honored to add to the Art Center’s impressive history of fiber-oriented exhibitions, which have explored the synergy between fine art and craft,” said Curator Mary Birmingham. “The work presented by Nadia Haji Omar in Ascension and Natural Selection offer an ideal complement to Painted Threads because of a natural affinity between her work and that on display in the Main Gallery.”

Appearing in the Art Center’s Main Gallery, Painted Threads explores the impact of weaving on contemporary art. Participating artists include Mark Barrow and Sarah Parke, Samantha Bittman, Crystal Gregory, Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson, Victoria Manganiello and Julian Goldman, Desire Rebecca Moheb-Zandi, and Oriane Stender. These artists view the loom as a place for experimentation and discovery and a means for creating unique hybridized works. Some of them paint during the process of weaving, integrating pigment directly into the warp threads. Others weave textiles that become supports for paintings, and several others utilize weaving as the starting point for mixed-media wall assemblages that hover between two and three dimensions. Their unconventional approaches invite viewers to consider the interconnectivity of weaving, painting, and sculpture while challenging the traditional hierarchies of fine art and craft.

The exhibition includes several site-specific works that identify and explore a conceptual link to the history of computers and digital technology. On view in our Stair-gazing space is a new iteration of Samantha Bittman’s site-specific project, Interlace—a digitally printed wallpaper created in Photoshop. This colorful and greatly enlarged pixilated graphic is based on weaving drafts and underscores the influence of weaving on the development of the first computers.

A catalogue illustrating work by each artist featured in Painted Threads will be available and includes essays by Sarah Archer and Sarah Mills, as well as an introduction by Mary Birmingham. Major funding for this exhibition and publication has been provided by The Coby Foundation, Ltd.

The work of Rhode Island-based artist Nadia Haji Omar will be on display concurrently in the Mitzi and Warren Eisenberg Gallery & the Marité and Joe Robinson Strolling Gallery I. Haji Omar’s intricate paintings and works on paper examine the intersection of language and abstraction. Her method of mark making is similar to sewing and weaving, as it relies on the accumulation of repeated marks—mostly dots and dashes—to create color and form. A series of seven paintings titled Ascension will be on view in the Eisenberg Gallery. Inspired by the seven layers of heaven as described in the religion of Islam, each painting incorporates an Arabic numeral and represents a different aspect of heaven. Natural Selection, a series of related drawings will be on view in the Robinson Strolling Gallery I.

About the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey

For 85 years, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey has been exclusively dedicated to viewing, making, and learning about contemporary art. Recognized as a leading non-profit arts organization, the Art Center’s renowned Studio School, acclaimed exhibitions, and educational outreach initiatives serve thousands of youth, families, seniors, and people with special needs every year.


Major support for the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is provided in part by the Peter R. & Cynthia K. Kellogg Foundation; the Wilf Family Foundations; and Art Center members and donors.