Jon Rappleye | Hudson County Community College

Courtesy of Hudson County Community College | Jon Rappleye's "Evolution" is an oil and acrylic on panel painting that measures 22 by 30 inches.

If you have ever felt bewildered by a piece of contemporary art in a museum or gallery, the universe would not blame you. What are you to make of this painting that presents a mama bird feeding its baby a worm during the apocalypse?

Like an estranged lover, contemporary art can appear remote, even mute. No matter how many questions you ask of it (What are you thinking right now? Why are you so blue? Who made you look like this?), it refuses to answer you. If it feels like a staring competition, it is.

To make matters worse, the only person capable of speaking on the work’s behalf, is the artist. And artists never seem to be around when you need them.

Hudson County Community College in Jersey City is helping breach the abyss between contemporary art and the community by hosting a series of lectures featuring artists whose works appear in its permanent collection. These lectures, which are organized by the college’s Fine Arts Acquisition Committee, will provide the opportunity for the public to meet artists and learn about contemporary art practices.

The first talk will feature artist Jon Rappleye on Thursday at 6 p.m. The program will run forty-five minutes to an hour.

Rappleye is a representational painter whose vision of the natural world hinges on lunacy. One of the major themes driving his work is conflict: the battle between life and death, growth and degeneration. Rappleye’s painting, “Evolution, 2860 AD,” which he created in response to 9/11, is permanently installed in HCCC new building at 2 Enos Place.

Rappleye says, “I think [the talks are] a good opportunity to see what artists are doing right in their own community. This is a new program that the college is starting and a chance for the community—both artists and nonartists—to come together.”

Andrea Siegel, the coordinator of the HCCC Permanent Collection of Art, thinks Rappleye is the perfect candidate to inaugurate the new series.

“The work’s terrific and he’s articulate and funny; it should be a great talk.”

The recent closure of the Jersey City Museum has not only deprived artists of a venue to exhibit artwork, but it has also robbed artists of a much-valued meeting place.

“We are working to enrich the community’s experience of the vibrant Hudson County arts scene by building a public collection comprised of emerging and established New Jersey artists and major American artists,” said Siegel.

Original post may be found here.

1 comment
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