Exhibit explores Earth’s elements

METUCHEN — Nails in the Wall, the Gallery at St. Luke’s, sponsored by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 17 Oak Ave., Metuchen, will begin its fourth season with the opening and artists’ reception for “EarthAirFireWater: Elements/Sacraments,” from 2-5 p.m. Sept. 19.

Along with the opportunity to meet most of the exhibiting artists and hear several speak about their work, the opening will include Janet Aspinwall’s dramatic monologue as the New Testament “Woman at the Well.”

Aspinwall has performed in many community theater productions in New Jersey, most recently as Sister Aloysius in “Doubt” at the Cranford Dramatic Club Theatre. She is a long-time member of the First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen, where she is currently a deacon.

The exhibit features 50 pieces of work by 29 artists — both local and from across the country — and runs through Dec. 31.

Included in the exhibit is art in a full range of media, from freestanding, three-dimensional works to collage, paintings, mosaic, video and photography.

“The Gallery Board was amazed at the scale of many of the works sent to be considered,” Board Member Deborah Kmetz said. “It’s almost as though the theme called for pieces ‘as big as all outdoors.’ But we are delighted to have a space that can elegantly present work of very large dimension.”

Artist and graphic designer John Langdon of Pennsylvania, who created images for the book and film “Angels and Demons,” has several large graphics in the exhibit, as well as a print of the ambigram he created for the Dan Brown work.

Ewing artist Joy Kreves, whose work is focused on the environment, has several sculptures included; the noted New Jersey photographer, Nancy Ori, is represented in the exhibit, as well.

While much of the work is, in a sense, nondenominational, some pieces distinctly reflect the sensibility of several different specific faith traditions.

And that is one of the features that distinguishes Nails in the Wall, according to gallery representatives — the gallery’s interest in, and ability to, bring together artists with work on spiritual themes whose imagery and understanding flow from different spiritual streams.

One aspect of the exhibit is particularly serendipitous. With themes prepared two years in advance, those who serve the gallery were amazed that the exhibit coincides with the renewed discussion around the environment surfaced by Pope Francis’ new encyclical “Laudato Si.”

Because of this, one of the programs connected to the exhibit will be a presentation and discussion of the document by Roman Catholic Sister Julie Keegan, who serves as a member of the Spiritual Center, Aston, Pa. The presentation is scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. Nov. 8 at the gallery.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday; 4-6 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit www.nailsinthewall.com or contact Gallery Director LindaVonderschmidt- LaStella at EarthsongsCeramicStudio@gmail.com.