ARTSpeaks Showcases Two Leading Jersey City Artists

ARTSpeaks Showcases Two Leading Jersey City Artists

ARTSpeaks - the innovative artist talk by Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) that uniquely profiles some of the area's leading visual artists - returns on May 25th with a rare pairing of Jersey City-based painters who've created two distinct bodies of work.

The upcoming ARTSpeaks spotlights two artists whose work has been critically acclaimed and featured in exhibitions, museums and leading galleries worldwide, but could not be more diverse: Ray Arcadio -specializes in surreal pop art imagery and was a founding member of the early 1990s Jersey City-based political art movement, ARTFUX - and Kati Vilim, an Hungarian immigrant and abstract artist known for her geometric imagery and inventive applications of color theory.

The matchup may seem contradictory - surrealistic pop vs modern abstraction - but contrast is the essential appeal of JCTC's ARTSpeaks - profiling two very different visual artists for an interactive event guaranteed to veer into the unexpected. When it comes to ARTSpeaks, opposities not only attract, they enlighten. Community dialogue is an essential component of the JCTC's mission and with ARTSpeaks that exchange is not only with the audience, but between two seeminly divergent artists.

"I am looking forward to hosting Kati and Ray for our next ARTSpeaks because I hope to uncover and demystify the worlds that these artists have come from that informs the work they are currently making," said Lucy Rovetto, Visual Arts Coordinator, JCTC. "Ray's surreal portraits of superheroes and popular icons are like totem poles to modern society full of puns about fitting in and defining yourself. Kati's work may be viewed as abstract and mathematical, but she uses symbols shapes and colors to invite the viewer to explore the dynamics of space and perception, making us questions the movement and energy of light."

Held in the intimate Black Box Theater at Merseles studios, ARTSpeaks artists are interviewed onstage by Rovetto, moderater of the evening. Projections accompany the dueling interviews, followed by an audience Q&A - with a unique, 'quirky' twist. Audience members are encouraged to write down on index cards "Quirky Questions"-basically anything - no matter how off-the-wall or inappropriate - they've always wanted to ask an artist. The index cards will be read by the ARTSpeaks moderator, ensuring the anonymity of the person asking provocative questions.

In addition, an audience raffle concludes the evening, with prizes including artwork from the two participating artists and free tickets to upcoming JCTC shows. Other raffle prizes will be announced prior to ARTSPeaks.

This edition of ARTSpeaks is part of Resistance, JCTC's current series. JCTC presents thematic series that explore - through visual arts, theatre, readings, dance, music and other performances - topics global in scope but relevant to the community.

"I hope to exploring with the audience what both artists, as they formed their unique identity and found their artistic voice, may or may not have been reacting to in terms of resistance," added Rovetto. "Ray as a Latin American artist who was a founder of a cultural jamming political art movement that was one of the earliest incarnations of street art and Kati, who was born in a communist nation then as a woman artist who against all odds, found her place in the male dominated European and American art scenes"

Ray Arcadio, who earned a BFA from NJCU, has a background is in street art and graphic design. He is co-founder - along with Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, John Santerineross and Ron English - of the culture jamming collaborative group ARTFUX, who created numerous murals, stencils and other forms of political street art up and down the East Coast. Ray has exhibited extensively around the United States and has appeared in various newspapers, magazines and television shows. In addition to solo shows, he participated in numerous group shows throughout New York and New Jersey, and was chosen one of 30 artists to represent the state in the The Visual Imaginary of Latinas/os in New Jersey, sponsored by Rutgers University's Center for Latinos Arts and Culture. In addition, Ray has been part of numerous conventions including New York Comic Con and East Coast Comic Con. His work is in the permanent collections of the Jersey City Museum, the Museum of Modern Religious Art at the University of St. Louis and the Museo Moderno de Arte, Santo Domingo. Most recently, he painted what is being called the first street mural in North Bergen.

Kati Vilim has earned MFAs from University of Fine Arts in Budapest, Hungary and from Montclair State University. Her work has been exhibited at galleries and art institutions in the United States and Europe, including the Sheldon Museum in Lincoln, Neb., Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers and the Index Art Center in Newark N.J. Her work is also held in the Vass Collection, Yuko Nii Foundation Collection, Müller-Keithly Collection , Julia Lanigan Collection, and the Adarlo and Fernandez Collection.

Funding for Resistance was made possible by generous support from the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development, Thomas A. DeGise, Hudson County Executive and the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Resistance was also made possible through the generosity of Ben LoPiccolo Development Group, JCTC's Board of Directors, private donors and local Jersey City businesses.

Jersey City Theater Center, Inc. (JCTC) presents programming at Merseles Studios and White Eagle Hall. JCTC is a nonprofit, 501c3 arts organization committed to inspiring conversations about the important topics of our times through innovative and progressive performing and visual arts that celebrates diversity, bringing communities closer together and enhancing the quality of life.


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