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By Ann Marie Coolick

Art Prompt: An Evening with Ann Marie Coolick

By Cindy Brookshire, Contributing Writer
 By Ann Marie Coolick
By Ann Marie Coolick

I took the Hylton Performing Arts Center up on the opportunity to try something new – a free, fun & friendly gallery reception for artist Ann Marie Coolick on Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m.

Being a writer, I have several times taken myself on “art dates” to stimulate creativity. Wine tastings from WineStyles of Montclair, hors d’oeuvres from Wegmans, and a happy crowd made for a festive atmosphere.
Coolick’s exhibition (called Strelitza! for the genus of plants that includes the bird of paradise) offers many impressionistic nature scenes, either in the woods or near bodies of water or up close with flowers. Some focus on patchwork-type block patterns. Out of the blue was a night view of the Washington, D.C., skyline, overlooking the 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon, those three prongs especially jutting out into the darkness.
What stood out for me, in all of the works, was a lot of acrylic paint. I mean, a lot. The block patterns were caked on like frosting. Water scenes were frenzied, in a thousand silvery tips pulling away from the canvas, as if fish were agitated just under the surface. In a north coast beach scene, I could almost feel the porous, hard chocolate-brown rocks, though my memory of walking on them in New England was at least four decades ago.
We sat briefly in chairs, facing a screen, next to which an easel displayed an art piece. The artist, who stood at the back of the gallery cradling a baby, let the work, and the time-lapse video she created about her technique, “impasto,” speak for itself. She even raffled one piece of her work off to a lucky patron.
Coolick’s exhibition in the Buchanan Partners Art Gallery at the Hylton Center is open now through Jan. 25. Gallery hours are Tue-Sat, 10 am – 6 pm, Thur., 10 am-8 pm and two hours before each performance. Take yourself on an art date!
By Ann Marie Coolick
By Ann Marie Coolick

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