Each week, Patch finds something for you do to to enjoy your time off, and spend time with family or friends, or exploring new interests. Here is this week's pick:
The Watchung Arts Center officially opens "Abstracts and More," an exhibit featuring works by world-recognized monochrome printmaker and longtime WAC trustee and former president Heinz W. Otto. What's remarkable about this Upper Gallery installation is that the 92-year-old artist incorporates new-media elements in the form of digital photography.
Otto has spent his photographic and printmaking life earning his reputation, but with the world's move to new media, which turned his darkroom into a thing of the past, the artist made a bold move: adding digital photography into his body of work.
"All a person needs is a little imagination," he explained.
Using Plexiglas panels in a myriad of different sizes that already had his previously created abstracts on them, and experimenting with a variety of different types of color ink dyes from his days of working in the tool and die industry, the self-taught Otto created new unique and colorful multi-layered images. In addition, he used canvas sheets in different shades and colors with this procedure and converted his new works into digital pictures.
“With this method I have been able to express my fantasies, visions, and creative stories,” he said.
Otto has been a judge, lecturer, and exhibitor for many years. With his wife Dotti, he started the Garden State International Salon, which he chaired for 13 years. He also achieved the goal of 1600 acceptances in International Salon, receiving a Sapphire Star in Pictorial Prints. In 1991, he was awarded a fellowship in the Photographic Society of America and has been an active member since 1971. He currently has 95 photographs in the Print Collection located in Oklahoma City at the headquarters of the Photographic Society of America. His work has been displayed in galleries in the Philippines, Austria, and Germany, at the Eastman Kodak House in Rochester and the Lever House in New York City and in Taiwan. He has been published in domestic and international magazines.
Alongside Otto's exhibit is one by local painter Judith O’Donnell, called "Travel with Me." This installation focuses on the artist's favorite places around the world.
The exhibitions open Sunday and run through Saturday, Sept. 28. Preview and post-opening special showings are offered Friday from noon-3 p.m. and Sundays, Sept. 15 and 22 from 1–3 p.m.
Four works donated by Otto and O’Donnell will be up for auction to benefit the Children’s Arts Education Program at the Performing Arts Center in Newark and the arts programs at the Watchung Arts Center.
You can talk with the artists at the installations' opening reception, which takes place Sunday from 1-4 p.m. This reception is free and open to the public; light fare will be available. The Watchung Arts Center is at 18 Stirling Road in nearby Watchung.