Saturday, January 13, 2024



Impressions from Nature

WHEN: January 18 to March 22, 2024. An opening reception will take place on Thursday, January 18, from 6 to 8pm. Gallery hours: Monday through Friday, 7am to 7pm
WHEREAcademy Square Gallery, 33 Plymouth Street, Montclair, NJ., 862-500-1447

Studio Montclair, Inc. is delighted to host Impressions from Nature, a lush exploration of nature both real and imagined. (Above left: Marsha Heller, Stormy Weather, Oil on wood, 12 x 9 inches)

An artist in the impressionist tradition, Heller uses a variety of mediums  paint, acrylic paint, soft pastels, and encaustic  to create her paintings. She describes her process as beginning with the “the impression of a landscape, whether imagined, real, or dreamed. Perhaps it was a fleeting image, as if glimpsed from a speeding car, then remembered and revisited later. The painting emerges out of the color memories, and the shapes appear in the process of layering pigment on paper or canvas…until my vision is as clear to the viewer as it is to me.” Heller’s oil and acrylic paintings are done with a palette knife to facilitate the layering of paint to achieve a depth of color. Her work with soft pastels enables her to harness a great intensity of color along with expressive mark-making. Her use of encaustic paint, in which a heat gun is used to move the pigment around the surface of the painting, enables unexpected surprises  hopefully serendipitous ones  often described by artists as “happy accidents.” Ultimately, according to Heller, “My work celebrates the sensuality of nature as I find it in the crannies and corners of my garden. I have been called by Artspeak magazine ‘an artist whose color creates a shimmering surface in her landscapes. The seductive mosaic is satisfying in itself.’” (Above, right: Untermeyer Garden, Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches)

The exhibit extends to two floors of the Academy Square Gallery. The second floor features Heller’s “The Book of Skies,” paintings depicting the extraordinary vistas often glimpsed during an early evening walk or through rearview mirrors. Says Heller, “Always inspired by natural phenomena, I chose the sky with its infinite possibilities for this series. How many times I have seen the sky and thought to myself, if I painted that, no one would believe it! So now I have painted those unbelievable skies, those impossible skies…all meant to give the viewer the pleasure I felt at my first sight of them.” (Left: Cape Cod Garden AutumnOil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches)

About the Artist: Based in Leonia, NJ, Marsha Heller received a degree in Art History from Oberlin College followed by study in graphic design at the School of Visual Arts. She also studied oil painting with Revington Arthur at Chautauqua in Chautauqua, NY for three years along with instruction by New York-based artists Irving Marantz and Sam Feinstein. She has had several one-woman and small-group exhibits in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

About Studio Montclair: Studio Montclair is a nonprofit organization of exhibiting professional artists and others interested in the visual arts. Its mission is to promote culture and education in the visual arts and encourage emerging artists. Founded in 1997, the organization includes over 450 members including artists from around the United States, as well as Europe and Asia. For more information, contact, or call 862-500-1447.