‘Cool Art’ returns with an eclectic mix of works

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ELIZABETH, — The Elizabeth Arts Council will hold its annual Cool Art in June art show tonight at the Elizabeth Public Library.

Since the EAC’s inception in 1998, its mission has been to support, promote and advance the arts and culture in and around the city of Elizabeth.

Members of the EAC have contributed their talents and expertise to many undertakings in Elizabeth and throughout Union County, including the 9/11 Memorial Advisory Committee, Historic Midtown Elizabeth Community Action Partnership, Union County Theater Project, the Elizabeth Playhouse, St. Joseph’s Social Service Center, Union County Historical Society and the library. The EAC also promotes the works of local artists, writers and performers.

Participating Cool Art in June artists are Jan Bogdanski, Paula Borenstein, Susan Connell, Danielle Curia, Derek Jay Dent, Raymond Horner, Kenneth Joos, Leo Osorio, Daniel Pagdon, and Virginia Mason Pagdon.

EAC president, Daniel Pagdon, told LocalSource that the participating artists’ works represent an eclectic array of art and photography.

“We have some very good works,” Pagdon said in a recent phone interview.
According to Pagdon, whose photography will be displayed as part of the exhibit, the art will remain at the library for a month.

Paula Borenstein, vice president of the EAC, said that the Cool Art show is in its 10th year.

“We’ve been doing this awhile,” Borenstein told LocalSource in a recent phone interview. “We have a variety of artists. I’m really pleased — it’s a very diverse show.”

Borenstein, an artist who works with fabric and vintage items, will be displaying several fabric collages at the show, including “Playball,” which Borenstein describes as a baseball scene, and “Le Sac,” which features a sack filled with vintage clothing and articles.

“It’s kind of a time capsule,” Borenstein said.
Another is called “Ot Azoy,” a title gleaned from a Yiddish song about a tailor.
Joos, 78, told LocalSource that he has worked in all mediums, including charcoal, oils and acrylics.

“I sold my first painting when I was 12 years old,”
Joos said in a recent phone interview. “I’ve sold over 300 paintings.”
Joos, who often paints landscapes and nature, attended an art school in Westport, Conn., founded by one of his favorite artists, Norman Rockwell, as well as attending art schools in both Paterson and Newark.

Curia, who is also a tattoo artist, told LocalSource that her artwork is inspired by her tattoo designs.

“I primarily do traditional and neo-traditional works that are reminiscent of tattoos,” she said in a recent phone interview. “What I paint is what hopefully people would say, ‘Oh, I want that on my skin.’”

Some of Curia’s works include a monochromatic picture of Audrey Hepburn, roses, and others.

“My free-form art can get kind of controversial, so I kind of keep it in my room,” she said.

Horner moved to New Jersey in 1977 and currently lives in Irvington. He is an adjunct professor at Kean University and teaches painting, drawing, sculpture, 3D design and art appreciation.

“Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of different things,” Horner told LocalSource in a recent phone interview.

Horner, who is also an associate pastor at Calvary Gospel Church in Newark, said he enjoys painting local landscapes.

“You can go all over the place, but there’s a lot of nice places right here,” Horner said. “They’re often right in your own backyard.”

Jan Bogdanski, who specializes in nature photography, told LocalSource that he has been taking photographs of the Rahway River for the last 10 years.

“It’s all nature-related,” Bogdanski said of his photography in a recent phone interview. “I’ve been told that they’re a little bit abstract.”

Leo Osorio, whose main focus is digital photography, told LocalSource that he is self-taught, but comes from an artistic family.

“My father is an artist as well, with mostly oils and acrylic,” Osorio said in a June 3 email. “But photography is my niche. I specialize mostly in digital photography with styles, mostly in nature, animals, architectural historic sites and buildings, historic cemeteries and abandoned sites.”

Osorio said that at the exhibit he will be showing photographs taken mostly throughout the state, including both color and black and white, nature and some notable locations such as the historic Asbury Park Casino and Fort Hancock
at Sandy Hook.

“Over the years, I have developed a specific style that has led me to pursue my love of photography,” Osorio said. “What inspired me to continue my photography was the many outings and weekend visits to many sites that included historic sites and explorations to abandoned sites and nature trails. Exploring my own city of Elizabeth also led to the formation of my photographic group on Facebook and that has kept me busy touring the city as well. Whether photographing Elizabeth or on the road in New Jersey, it all adds in further developing my style and interest.”

An opening reception for Cool Art is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today, June 8, in the third-floor exhibit area of the Elizabeth Public Library, 11 South Broad St. https://www.facebook.com/Elizabeth-Arts-Council.