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James Oliver Gallery is pleased to present Luster, a group exhibition featuring the works of Martin L. Benson, Julia Policastro, and Ellen M. Weider. Join us for the Opening Reception on Saturday May 18th, from 6-9pm. RSVP here!

Luster displays the works of three artists working in coaxial modes, where a sense of unique enlightenment is offered through the window of each vignette. For each, an alternative environment is offered as an alluring, metaphysical reality. Composed especially of autogenic form, the works emit a transcendental brilliance.

Benson’s work embodies his own experiences exploring the terrain of deep inner landscapes. The artist states, “I use math, pattern, geometry, and color as a way to express what I am feeling and learning.  When I think deeply about my experiences with self-inquiry, I get the feeling we are all just like a rainbow: beautiful, present, and yet a figment within a universal mind. This is why the rainbow spectrum is a repeated symbol in my latest body of paintings. I use the rainbow as a way to point to a transcendent and unifying principle, while at the same time seeking to ground the paintings in something familiar and earthly. This is where the horizon lines and atmospheric elements come into play.”

Martin L. Benson, Plant A Seed, Bare a Fruit
Oil on canvas, mounted to a panel
24 x 24 x 2", 2021

Policastro’s creations exist as enigmatic objects that transcend the conventional labels of painting or sculpture. Her artistic language merges the two forms and aims to dissolve the distinction that often constrains each medium. The outcome is a series of objects that function as portals into invented scenarios and scenery. By employing canvas, oil paint, foam, and plaster, Policastro gives permanence to these alternative realities and draws from a reservoir of imagery deeply rooted in visual history and our collective familiarity. The juxtaposition of the plaster frame with the oil paint challenges the purpose and functionality of each element.

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Weider’s images float in an undefined, ambiguous space. Some suggest houses, buildings, rooms, and other architectural or geometric structures. The structures sometimes evoke human presence and human interactions, and can also be seen as metaphors for internal states of being. Other works employ organic and geometric forms that create a similar effect. Weider’s paintings can be interpreted as pure abstractions or as self-contained narratives. An ironic humor with a meditative, existential, transcendental bent informs them.

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Left: Ellen Weider

Yellow Diptych
16 x 20”
Oil & graphite on linen panel


Right: Ellen Weider

Stars & Jars
Acrylic & graphite on linen panel
16 x 16”

On view through June 15, these luminary projections deliver a congenial rapture not to be missed. 

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