Opening tomorrow, and on view until January 5, is “Art in Nature/Nature in Art,” a collection of primarily plein air pieces inspired by the land in Monmouth County, New Jersey. It’s at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank. 

Lucy Kalian is both a participating artist and the curator of the exhibition, which benefits the Monmouth Conservation Foundation, an organization that works toward preventing the subdivision and excessive development of land in the rapidly changing area from Sandy Hook to Freehold, New Jersey. She recalls the origins of this exhibition.

“Woodwind Tree,” by Lucy Kalian, graphite on toned paper, 8 x 6 in.

“Dawn, Navesink River,” by Skip Whitcomb, oil, 10 x 20 in.

“I was up in New Hampshire with the Hudson River Fellowship recipients, and of course I spent a lot of time outdoors,” recalls Kalian. “When I came home, this area started feeling so congested. I did some research and found that the Monmouth Conservation Foundation was doing a lot to keep some wild space, and I wanted to support them. I reached out to see if people wanted to contribute, and so many did. Artists have to have the space to paint. That’s how the whole thing started.”

“Approaching Storm,” by Guy Hembling, oil, 24 x 36 in.

New Jersey farmland of the sort the Monmouth Conservation Foundation fights to preserve

More than 25 pieces will be on display, including work from Skip Whitcomb, Emilie Lee, Robert Pillsbury, and Stuart Fullerton. Kalian says the hotel, and especially its manager, have been very supportive of her efforts, going so far as to completely host the reception. She has made arrangements with a few of the local artists participating in the show to ensure that if any pieces are purchased right off the wall, additional pieces will fill the holes. How well is it going?

“We are already looking forward to future shows like this,” says Kalian.


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