The free exhibit runs until August 20, and features fine and self-taught artists who’ve been influenced by the natural environment of the Delaware River.
By Abby Schreiber
Through August 20, walk into the gallery at Perkins Center for the Arts in Collingswood, and you’ll be greeted by an enormous wooden rooster.
Carved out of driftwood by artist Dick Jeffreys, it’s just one of many Delaware River-themed pieces of artwork featured in the summer exhibit, “SJ Waterways: The Tides That Bind.”
The exhibit represents the first collaboration between Perkins fine artists and those whose works have been curated by the Folklife Project at Perkins. It combines artistic interpretations of South Jersey’s waterways and environments and ethnographic documentation of them.
Perkins Center Associate Director Diane Felcyn said the Delaware River has a cultural influence from which many artists take natural inspiration. The works depict “the influence of natural waterways on art and artifact-making, communication and occupation frequently crossing paths,” the exhibit description reads.
“Every little pocket of the world has a little subculture, and the environment and the ecology and the natural things that are unique to that area definitely have an influence on aesthetics and creativity and the need to create,” Felcyn said.
The exhibit features a variety of river-inspired artworks. One standout piece is an authentic Rob Roy Canoe, on loan from the Red Dragon Canoe Club of Edgewater Park, and which dates back to 1902.
There’s a hand-drawn map of Little Egg Harbor inlet from 1986, created by artist and captain Russ Albertson, who used to fish on the waters. Multiple sculptures of fish rest on stands throughout the gallery, all carved by Tuckerton artist Mark Bair, their tails in motion as if still swimming in the Delaware.
Other featured artists include Phillip J. Carroll, Hugh Campbell, Mary & Stephen Carter, Ray Hoffman, Frank Hyder, Edwin Leaf, Ray Miller, and Glenn Rudderow. The mix of formally trained and self-taught artists lends a platform to those whose work may not be as widely known.
“We’re merging fine artists and self-taught artists together,” Felcyn said. “The self-taught artists and traditional cultural artisans don’t have as many opportunities to show their art in a formal art setting. We’re hoping to help people to become more aware of their work by putting them together.”
“The Tides That Bind” opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 11 at Perkins Center for the Arts in Collingswood.
The exhibit is free and available to view from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays through August 20.