Many updates from the past few months. First of all, oculusart.org 2.0 has been launched! There are a number of new and excited updates on this new website, including:
A complete, searchable archive of past events
An easy membership form
An up-to date monthly meeting schedule
Chronicles of on going publications, projects, and events
Detailed artist info/statements
In other news, the organization continues to continue.
The past few months have largely been devoted to the construction of our collaborative work “The New World is Going to Need Houses”, a conceptual collaborative show based around themes of utopia, futuristic lifestyles, and communal living. The show was an exhibit in partnership with Gallery Aferro’s yearly Open Doors compendium Market Street Convergence.
To view a full text of the show proposal, click here.
Additionally, for the second year in a row, Oculus gave themselves the official task of throwing the unofficial Newark Open Doors after party.
494 BCE, Rome. Realizing that they were crippled by taxes, debt, threat of war, arbitrary laws, and that they were less working for themselves than they were for the patricians, groups of plebians left their homes and cities en masse. They had made up the majority of the population, and without them the patricians were left without anyone to produce food, goods, and create business. They relocated to Mons Sacer, or the Sacred Mountain, and there they built their own society, thus re-appropriating power and culture.
2013 AD, America. Realizing that they were crippled by taxes, debt, threat of war, arbitrary laws, and that they were less working for themselves than they were for the 1%, groups of working class citizens left their homes and cities en masse. They had made up the majority of the population, and without them the 1% was left without anyone to produce food, goods, and create business. They relocated to the New World, and there they built their own society, thus re-appropriating power and culture.
The idea of home and family had changed a lot since the beginning of the industrial age. The vision of that 1950’s perfect family- mother, father, son and daughter- was no longer functional or relevant. The members of the working class living in the New World redefined what a family was. They began to form family based on real bonds, as opposed to financial advantages and tradition. They could marry who they wanted, love who they wanted, live as they pleased. Without wealthy people to work for, the working class could utilize modern technology for advancement of ideas and making their lives easier, rather than running around a poorly-paved gerbil wheel.
They no longer had unreachable beauty ideals and manufactured culture. They worked together, instead of against each other, yet still maintained individuality and respected each other’s differences. Together they constructed new homes more fitting of their new lives. These makeshift homes were ergonomically designed and sustainable, and capable of being taken down and moved when families decided to travel to another location in the New World.
This conceptual ‘New World’ society already exists in many ways. The current age is a divided one- with many different worlds and paths existing simultaneously. Down one path, we have what most would consider normal- a life where one seeks to go to college, take out loans, get a job to pay off those loans, buy a house, settle down, and have a family. Down another path, we have a much different route- leave your home (or, don’t even have one in the first place), forget your obligations as a consumer, have no conventional living structure, rescind the human tendency to get into debt, travel, live in boxcars, tents, huts, cabins. Sometimes this happens by choice, and sometimes by unfortunate economic circumstance. This alternative lifestyle, this nomadic traveling population of the world has exploded in number.
“The New World is Going to Need Houses” seeks to venture down the latter path.
This exhibit consists of three main parts: conceived “New World” home structures, portraits of the members of the New World familial unit as individuals, and projects each member of the group assigned each other (to explore each other as artists and members of a collective). In a metaphorical sense, these homes are not just seen as actual physical structures, but as reflections of the collective as a whole. What was once a structure built in mass quantity by a faceless contractor, is now a deeply personal project built by those who will inhabit it. This embodies the idea of collective construct. All members of this new family, though part of the collective, are individually all as important as the act of construction in the first place. Each individual is valued for their differences in personality, taste, talent, and ability. Together they are working for themselves and each other, and an immediate happiness and meaning- not for the promises of happiness and meaning ‘in the future’, through consumption. They immediately reap the rewards of their work- and find fulfillment and self-discovery through their actions.
TRANSFORMATIONS is a collaboration between Oculus Art Collaborative, Index Art Center, and the Newark Arts Council.
The exhibition will be held during the NAC’s 11th Newark Open Doors weekend.
Daniel Patrick Helmstetter
Kelly Ann Pinho
Ellen “Krackers” Whitney
Jeannie N. Epiphan
Mural by Daniel Patrick Helmstetter and artists of OCULUS ART COLLABORATIVE
Oculus is pleased to announce that our participation in the Paterson Art Walk was a wonderful success.
We had the third story in a former industrial warehouse right near the historic Paterson Falls.
Oculus collectively built a large multimedia installation in the alloted space we’d been given, titled The Soft Machine (Climbing the Stairs).
Upcoming, Oculus will be participating in October in Newark as a pop up gallery. We will be taking over the first floor of an unused building in Newark and repurposing it as a gallery/show space, yet to be named.
Oculus has also been undertaking renegade installations. What are “renegade installations”? It’s a secret. You’ll have to wait.
Oculus met tonight, for its second official meeting of 2012. Meetings have been officially scheduled weekly for every Thursday night in either Bloomfield, Montclair, or Fair Lawn.
First matter of business was official appointments of Heidi Hussa as President, Alex Cumming was appointed as Vice President, Montgomery Nummi was appointed as Temporary Secretary/Journalist, Melyka Sucaldito was appointed as Photo Journalist, Dawn Foster was appointed as Digital Administrator, Linda Chen was appointed as Public Relations Officer/Marketing Advisor.
Also under discussion was the movement of the date for the Montclair Clean Up from April 13th due to its proximity to Mardi Gras and the question of weather or not the message might be misunderstood because of this. Possible replacement dates include Arbor Day or further on due to other events occurring during the month of April.
The literary magazine, “Slowmelt,” was looked at and is near completion of its first edition. In addition to a few anonymous authors, artists Ashley Marie Simon, Linda Chen, Melyka Sucaldito, Carly Walshak, Matthew Annunziata, Veronika Hoglund, Alexandra Mason, will be a part of the catalog. Scheduled release of Slowmelt is currently TBA, but odds are we will be seeing a few copies before the end of the upcoming week.
In a few months, we will have legal non-profit status. Non-profit status enables us to receive grant money, charitable donations of property, and to have adults take us really, really seriously. We have wanted, for so long, a place to call our own- where we can hang out, throw shows, play music, display art, and share and create together, and not have to worry about noise complaints, cops, parents, and boring people.
This coming month, on the 15th, we will be throwing the first of many collaborative art shows at the Stanhope House to raise money to buy this magical dream place that we ALL deserve to have access to.
On that Saturday, we will be gathering together to enjoy the music of Strange Shapes, one of our favorite bands to dance to, out of Brooklyn; The Handsome Men, our good friends from Montclair; Big Girl, who will destroy you with wild psychedelic sounds; and Bible Gun- two of the most ridiculous and wonderful human beings/musicians/friends you will probably ever meet.
Playing acoustic, accompanying the *super secret thing* that we’ll get to describing later, we have the likes of YOUNG LEGS (Steven Donahue of Rabbit Troupe), playing a medley of songs on a guitar/then another guitar/then a banjo; The Hums, which is two very adorable girls from Bergen County, and Sail the Boat, also from Bergen County.
While you’re being serenaded by a soundtrack of awesome music, displayed throughout the Stanhope House will be the works of our extremely talented friends Rosemary Gonzales, Chris Diorio, Jeannie Epiphan, Christian Peslak, Nunki Kaus, Matt Annunziata, Sam Cohen, and Adam Papanestor.
This is where we want YOU! To be a part of our big, strange family and come to this event. In the collaborative spirit of Oculus, we will be working together (well, if you want to and don’t mind possibly ruining your clothing) to paint a few canvases and a totem pole in the beer garden in the back section of the Stanhope House. Hopefully, with your effort and the effort of the talented artists, we can create something that we can be appreciated and that we can sell to help us reach our goal!
We truly believe that in working together, we can create something way bigger and better than working alone.
The cost is $8 to get in- and 100% of the profits from the show will go towards our goal. IF you, or any of your friends, or your relatives or enemies or whatever are interested in being a part of this, let us know- send us a message, email us (firstname.lastname@example.org), send us smoke signals, stand on your roof and howl at us. At the least, come out and enjoy our company, and support your friends. We’d love to see you all.
Oculus’s opening night reception at the Gallery at River’s Edge was a great success. Special thanks to everyone who was involved in putting this together, including Donna Compton for being an amazing curator and Steven Donahue for providing an awesome sound system.
Up and showing are the works of young photographers Rodolfo Diaz, from the Bronx, as well as Alexander Benson and KC Weimann, both from Ridgewood, NJ. UArts students Richard Cardoza, Olivia Palmerini, and graduate Mark Fionda student are featured, bringing a cutting-edge Philadelphia style with them. Two mixed-media artists, Cecilia Ortiz and Rosemary Gonzalez add uniquely primitive-chic flavor, and freelancer Jeannie Epiphan’s commissioned prints are on display.
It was a rough run, but we truly put effort into last night. In front of the Rockaway river, Dani Glovin opened the night with her acoustic act, Procrastihontas. She played cleverly written and mellow songs, which went well with the setting midday sun. Hollow-Eyed, from Ridgewood played afterwords, with an unsettling but supremely unique, droning ambient act with three talented young musicians. Big Girl, a four piece band with incredible musical chemistry from Patterson, played a psychedelic shoegazey, lit only by dim christmas lights. Afterwards, the Handsome Men from Montclair played a hopelessly catchy and distinctive set for a half hour. Ending the evening was Lionel Pryor, who melted everyone’s faces off with sick riffs and theatrics.
To those of you who missed this one, get ready for the 19th! The line-up already consists of two bands, Magnolia Sage, fronted by Robb Fleming from Rockaway, and An Endless Register, a delay and reverb-heavy post-rock band based in Montclair. Get ready.
This month at the Rivergarden Gallery in Denville, NJ, we will be having our maiden voyage as an art organization and non-profit. From August 1st to August 22nd, our artists will be showcasing their work for our (currently unnamed) exhibit. As of today, 10 different artists from the tri-state area will be featured.
Everything began at the very beginning of 2011, when Garrett Kemp and Heidi Hussa attended the final meeting of a former environmental non-profit organization looking to culminate their operations. After a unanimous vote and signing of papers, the 501(c)3 title had been passed from the former Rockaway-based organization to the new young leaders. With the assistance of Viktoria Kosubal, the new bylaws and mission statements were been drafted, and the new purpose of the organization was clarified.
The new goal- the non-profit would be dedicated to the perpetuation and appreciation of the arts. However, the founders did not want their organization to be an unrelatable and distant gallery show sort of organization. Oculus wanted to use art to bring together a community by way of collaborations between artists of different mediums, possibly under one roof, to work on multi-faceted projects.
So far, being about 6 months into their development, Oculus has just begun to explore the possibilities of their own potential.