Rotunda Gallery kicks off new year with new exhibit

Staff Writer

 “Vienna Dreams” “Vienna Dreams” METUCHEN — An exhibition of the newest works by artist Chelsea Villegas of Highland Park will grace the walls of Metuchen Borough Hall’s Rotunda Gallery through March. The public is invited to attend an opening reception from noon to 2 p.m. Jan. 12.

The Rotunda Gallery, located in Metuchen’s Borough Hall on the corner of Main Street and Middlesex Avenue, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The public is welcome to view the exhibit.

Villegas, a mixed-media artist, uses a combination of drawing, collage, oil paint and wax to express her interest in landscape, travel, the nature of human consciousness and the human form.

“The initial impetus for my work typically begins with a photograph, revived from a pile of discarded photos and printed material I collect from garage sales and antique shops,” Villegas said. “Using the likeness of that person as a starting point, I employ a wide range of mediums: oil paint, watercolor, encaustic, charcoal, collage, as well as found objects to piece together a certain reminiscent mood.

“I’m interested in the notion of time and its effect on the human psyche, as well as the physical way it shapes the world around us. The layering of collage and wax is analogous to the way people collect experiences and memories, and store them in their physical forms.”

Rotunda Gallery Director

Janice Fried said she is excited about Villegas’ work.

“Her beautiful, textured, encaustic painting style and arresting subject matter will be of special interest to anyone looking for something visually intriguing,” she said.

According to Grace Shackney, chair of the Metuchen Arts Council, which operates the Rotunda Gallery, the gallery was established approximately four years ago in an effort to invite the arts into the everyday public life of the borough.

“We got permission from the Borough Council to use that space in the rotunda of the building, and we’ve had some local artists and some not-solocal artists rotating exhibits there all through the year,” Shackney said, adding that joining forces with three other professional galleries in town has allowed Rotunda Gallery to contribute to openings, shows and events.

The local galleries in Metuchen are Nails in the Wall at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 17 Oak Ave.; Transformations Gallery in the Old Franklin Schoolhouse, 191 Middlesex Ave.; and the VAM Art Gallery, 15 Station Place.