This is a holiday season like no other, at least in my lifetime. The downward spiral of the economy is sucking us all into the abyss. Those of us who are still standing, still putting food on the table, want to be as giving as we can. Our hearts go out to those who are financially impacted by the downturn.
In what should be a season of celebration, abundance, generosity and spending time with family, the economic downturn may not allow us to fully rejoice.
Thinking back to my parents’ recollections of the Great Depression, there were always tales of togetherness through it all. So, when we are feeling financially, emotionally and spiritually impoverished, rather than focusing on giving gifts, shopping, commercialized decorations, we must remember what the season is really about: a time of connection, of drawing nearer to one another as the days grow darker and the weather grows colder.
The universal meaning of the holiday, regardless of faith or lack thereof, is about recognizing a light in the darkness, warmth in the cold, hope for those who have lost their way.
“The longest night of the year is also the day that the light begins to return,” says the Rev. Forrest Gilmore of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton (and whose writings I have based this post on). “That is the magic of this season.”
The Gallery at Mercer County Community College is celebrating light in all its various forms with the exhibit A Light Without…A Light Within. The works of three gifted oil painters — Robert Beck, Joseph Gyurcsak and Kyle Stevenson — are on view through Dec. 18. The Gallery is located on the second floor of the Communications Building on Mercer’s West Windsor campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road. Gallery hours: Tues. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., Wed. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thurs. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Gallery will also present a Winter Solstice evening of music and poetry Dec. 17, 6:30 p.m., featuring bassist Wilbo Wright and other guest musicians and performers.
“Each work on display explores or celebrates ‘light’ from many sources, illuminating both interiors and landscapes,” she says. “These are three virtuosic artists; the result is a show to steady the heart and intrigue the eye.”
Robert Beck, a Bucks County native, returned to art after a career in business, attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Over the last 15 years, his work has been exhibited in dozens of solo and group exhibitions, including a 1999 solo show at the James A Michener Art Museum. He has won numerous awards in juried exhibitions and his Lambertville studio serves as both a teaching and gallery space for him, and has also served as the site of salons featuring other regional artists and musicians. Besides working as a full-time painter,
Joseph Gyurcsak began his formal training at Parsons School of Design and later received his BFA at The School of Visual Arts in New York City. He has studied with some of America’s finest contemporary artists and illustrators including Alex Gnidziejko, Braldt Bralds, Michael Deas, and Stephen Kennedy. Inspired by 19th century painters, he continues to study the works and techniques of George Inness, Willard Medcalf, Anders Zorn, John Singer Sargent, and Joaquín Sorolla. In addition to his painting career, Gyurcsak is the resident artist for Utrecht Art Supplies. He is an art materials expert who assists artists and industry manufacturers on all aspects of materials and techniques.
Kyle Stevenson, an associate professor member of the Fine Arts faculty at MCCC, was raised in Houghton, NY, home to Houghton College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in art. The son of college professors in a rural area, he developed a world view that is indelibly white middle class. These middle class attitudes, expectations and assumptions, as well as a deep respect for the history of western art, are seminal to his painting. After a stint as a professional picture framer, Stevenson worked for the artist Tom Buechner as a studio assistant, where he gained a wealth of technical knowledge and understanding, as well as exposure to the finer points of the commercial side of the art world. Stevenson then studied under Steven Tanis and Larry Holmes at the University of Delaware and earned his MFA in Painting in 2002.
Pictured: “Landscape” by Kyle Stevenson