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Press Coverage for "Berths and Ghosts" at Novado Gallery

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Artist's Talk Saturday, May 20th at 3 pm at 110 Morgan Street, Jersey City, NJ 07302

Excerpt from"The Downtown Art Crawl, Step by Step and Studio by Studio,"

by Tris McCall | Jersey City Times

May 12, 2023

The current main attraction at Novado Gallery (110 Morgan) is “Berths and Ghosts,” an engrossing exhibition of oil paintings of the hulls of boats by Philadelphia artist Brooke Lanier. She’s plainly fascinated by her subject, but she resists romanticizing them; instead she renders her old ships down to the the rust-streaks and watermarks. Her vessels feel imperturbable, dominating her frames and barely displacing the sea around them. They’re just there, tall, stately, and occasionally lyrical, and worth memorializing. Lanier is just as good at capturing the play of light on the surface of the water, the reflections of sea-blue and oxidized red in the eddies, and the playful swirl of gentle waves against buoyant steel. The Novado Gallery is open on weekends from 11 until 5 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 11 until 7 p.m., Friday from 11 until 4 p.m., and Monday and Tuesday by appointment.

"New sailboat paintings mimic the process of shipbuilding, becoming shadows of their former selves"

By David Mosca | The Jersey Journal

Published: May. 10, 2023, 8:04 a.m.

Brooke Lanier’s paintings of sailboats are not your grandparents’ paintings of sailboats. The artist’s exhibit at Novado Gallery, “Berths and Ghosts,” which is nautical in theme, features these once glorious structures now in disrepair. The show can be seen at the gallery from May 11 through June 10 and an artist talk for the exhibit will take place on Saturday, May 20, at 3 p.m. Lanier’s paintings are about curiosity, history, memory, and ways of seeing. The forms of these boats hint at what their original purpose once was, with their hulls showing physical evidence of rough pasts with details such as dents, scratches, discoloration, and pigments of rust. In order to learn more about the history of the subjects in her work, Lanier talked to historians and volunteered to help restore one of the ships she paints most, the Gazela, which dates back to 1901. She learned about the structures of ships and how layers of weathered paint concealed the metal and wood underneath them. Her paintings are meant to mirror the way the ships are built. When it comes to depicting the ships in her works, Lanier goes with an abstract approach. Some of the vessels depicted are reduced to flat planes of color, and others have their surfaces replicated almost exactly. There are close-ups of rudders and bows that are meant to put emphasis on the size of the subjects. The water is painted with different weather conditions based on the time of day. Some waters may appear turbulent while others look placid. The paintings in “Berths and Ghosts” are also contradictions. There are enormous objects that weigh tons yet float. There are shapes that do not belong in a scene, although they were built for that express environment. They represent possibility and bring about ways of moving that would be impossible. Meanwhile, there are ghost ships and derelict structures that are unwilling to relinquish an historical past of achievements and voyages.

Tours of the exhibition are available in person and via FaceTime or Zoom, by appointment. Novado Gallery is located at 110 Morgan St., in the Modera Lofts building, 1st level, Jersey City. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

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