The Nilson Gallery features accepted solo exhibitions from our New Jersey Emerging Artists Series, a unique and exciting program for NJ artists who have never had a one-person show of their work in our state.
In addition to our Emerging Artists Series, the Nilson Gallery features community-based collaborative exhibitions and exhibits that highlight the talents our artist members.
NJ Emerging Artists Series presents
Stephen Barnwell: Capital Offenses
August 9 – September 8, 2019
Opening Reception & Book Signing: August 16th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
IMAGE: Dread & Circuses • Digital Print with Mixed Media, 16 x 20, 2018
The events of 9-11 awoke within me a political consciousness, and for almost twenty years I have been creating moneyart to comment on social and political events. I feel that artists should observe the world around them and speak truth as they see it.
Money is the Prime Mover of our culture. It dictates the world of business, determines government policy, and even drives our own behavior. Money is a powerful symbol in all societies, and its iconic imagery can be a potent voice of social and political commentary that speaks across all borders. Moneyart is also an inherently transgressive and subversive genre. Since only governments are allowed to create money, I am appropriating the authority of the government: I am stealing the voice of power to criticize power.
As citizens – and consumers – we have all been conditioned since childhood to see inherent value in these pieces of paper called money, and to treat money with an almost reverent desire. The genre of moneyart uses the visual vocabulary of currency and financial documents to exploit that emotional response, and I use that response to enhance the power of my work and my messages. Further, I take great joy in deconstructing iconic national symbols, subverting them for the purposes of satire. I believe that national icons need challenging to remain living symbols, rather than brittle, lifeless dogma.
Beyond that of ordinary two-dimensional art, Moneyart has the properties of a familiar object or thing – e.g.: currency, stamps, or stock certificates – which adds new meanings and connotations to the experience of the artwork. Resembling a form of currency gives the art a sense of purpose or functionality, as well as a false sense of history or authority.
Artist Gallery Talk and Book Signing
Stephen Barnwell: Captial Offenses
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
My technique for creating this body of work is digital collage. I assemble quite large collages in Photoshop from scans of original, public-domain engravings from my collection of hundreds of vintage books and periodicals from the late 19th century. My style of collage is one that does not look like a collage, but rather a seamless, unified image. This requires spending hours upon hours searching for each individual element in the work, which often comprises hundreds of elements, to find not just an appropriate image, but one that is compatible with the total collage. These elements are scanned at a very high resolution, cleaned, resized and manipulated, and then added to the final assemblage. They are printed on my own high-resolution color laser printer, one at a time, with unique serial numbers. I also like to add multimedia elements to the prints, such as stickers, stamps, seals, embossing, and watermarks to give the prints a lush, textured look, which also makes them unique hand-made artworks, rather than simple prints.
Stephen Barnwell is a professional artist, working in printmaking, illustration, and book design. His prints have been exhibited internationally in museums including the Palais de Tokyo Contemporary Art Museum in Paris, the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art in California, the Altmärkisches Museum in Stendal, Germany, and the Lahti Art Museum in Lahti, Finland.
Barnwell has been in over eighty exhibitions in galleries across the country and around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Santa Barbara, Houston, London, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Brussels, Naples, Seville, Budapest, Copenhagen, Finland, Hungary, and Bulgaria.
His prints are in private collections in all fifty US states and in fifty-one countries around the globe, and they are in the permanent collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Los Angeles, the Haupt Collection in Berlin, the Lake Eustis Art Museum in Florida, and Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. Among other awards, Barnwell has won the Frederick Bartholomew Award from the American Color Print Society in Philadelphia, and his work has been featured in two monographs, Capital Offenses and MoneyArt, published by Antarctica Arts.
Stephen Barnwell was born in Rutherford, NJ in 1960. He received his BFA from Bard College in 1983.
A full resume is available at StephenBarnwell.com/resume.html.