This internship has given me a newfound appreciation for the city of Newark, and more notably, the artists that have been borne of this city. Before my time here at Gallery Aferro, I only thought of Newark as the home of the Prudential Center and the most convenient airport. I became interested in local artists, and excited to learn about those whose work permeated the bounds of New Jersey. I spent the second half of my internship viewing and scanning a couple hundred slides of Gladys Barker Grauer’s work. I didn’t know her before, but my conception of art and this city is far richer since learning about her. Her work is not limited to any one medium and comments on themes of race, identity, and power. On a recent trip to the Hirshorn in D.C., I made sure to check out Barbara Kruger’s ongoing exhibition in the lower level lobby. It seemed like every surface (walls, floors, etc.) was splashed with her unmistakable bold text and evocative questions. Born into a lower-middle class family in Newark, Kruger went on to explore themes of sexuality, identity, and power through her intense text and photo montages. I am especially drawn to art that makes a social statement, and it seems Newark lends itself to that.
Not only have I been introduced to an incredible array of art and artists throughout my time here, but I have been able to experience various tasks that inhabit the art world. It was fulfilling to work with the staff of Gallery Aferro as they always made you feel welcome and important. I learned so much from Candace and Juno, and Emma and Evonne were always passionate when answering even simple questions relating to art. I also had the singular opportunity to assist resident artist Amanda Thackray in her studio. She taught me several new artistic practices including paper-making, and allowed me a closer look at what goes into her work. Apologies for sounding trite, but interning at Gallery Aferro has been an amazing experience and has accorded me many new ideas for my own art and future.
Thank you Gallery Aferro!
-Genevieve Felsenstein, Dual Studio Practice Intern