Art gallery explores children’s book illustrators

By Samantha Malnick
Correspondent

Created to explore the media and styles of award-winning children’s book illustrators, the College’s fall exhibition, Visual Voyage, attracted more visitors than expected when it opened on Wednesday, Oct. 22.

The gallery was full of laughter and smiles, people pointing their fingers and furrowing their brows at over 50 works on display, with plenty of adoration given to the various uses of materials.

“We tried to have as much diversity as possible,” said Emily Croll, director of the Art Gallery and Sarnoff Museum. “We wanted to include so many different styles and capture all the different sides and views of the artists.”

The purpose of this exhibit was to hone in on the different media and let the visitors explore the works of artists such as Chris Van Allsburg, Jan Reynolds, Faith Ringgold and Leo Lionni.

“I was having so much trouble choosing which pieces to put in the show,” Croll said. “There were so many incredible artists that we liked, so we weren’t sure what to send out.”

Media varied from piece to piece — some were complex, others were more simplistic. There were artists who used acrylic, crayon, marker and tissue paper in one piece, while other artists used media like oil on washboard, woodcut print with acrylic paint, silkscreen on silk, and scratchboard on oil paint.

Terri Epstein, an ’05 graduate from the Art Department, came back to the gallery for the first time since she left College. She was amazed when she saw some of the works in real life.

“It’s interesting because the pieces are the same as in print, but here, up close, the texture is so different,” Epstein said. “It’s really incredible.”

The overall atmosphere in the room was exciting and positive. Visitors were intrigued by the works they were analyzing. People who had just met for the first time were deep in conversation — alumni were reminiscing about the building and how it has come such a long way.

Amanda Intilli, a junior art education major who works for the Art Gallery, was glowing with excitement about the exhibit.

“I was almost crying from some of the pieces,” Intilli said when exploring the gallery. “Seeing them during my childhood, while I’m growing up and then seeing them in person was just crazy to me.”

She was most excited to see the work done by Chris Van Allsburg from “The Polar Express.”

“I think that it’s exciting because it’s children’s books,” said Debra Lampert-Rudman, author of “Iris the Architect.” “Most of the books we’ve all read or heard about before.”

Neither the College’s Art Gallery staff nor visitors expected the turnout to be so large.

“Half the people in the audience were from off-campus, so I think that’s really great,” Croll said.

“This was a really good turnout,” Epstein said, looking around the room. “Especially on a Wednesday afternoon, on a rainy day. I would not have expected to see so many people. The gallery really has improved a lot since I’ve last been here.”

‘Visual Voyage’ gallery opening draws large crowd. (Photo Courtesy of TCNJ Center for the Arts)
‘Visual Voyage’ gallery opening draws large crowd. (Photo Courtesy of TCNJ Center for the Arts)