University Galleries and Collections

Artie Van Blarcum: Honorable Mention

September 8 - October 16, 2015

This exhibition presents the work of Artie Van Blarcum, a self-taught photographer who was active in New Jersey camera clubs in the 1960s. Van Blarcum experimented with alternative techniques to produce over-exposed or silhouette prints, sometimes embellished with hand drawing. Curated by Gerald Slota, adjunct art professor, these selections are drawn from an archive of nearly 300 prints that were donated by George Tice.


 

Press Release

Photographs by the late Artie Van Blarcum, a self-taught artist who was active in New Jersey camera clubs in the 1960s, will be on view in the University Galleries in the Ben Shahn Center for the Visual Arts at William Paterson University in Wayne from September 8 through October 16, 2015. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on September 20 and October 11 from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Sunday, September 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. A panel discussion on his work is scheduled for Tuesday, October 13 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the University Galleries. 

Van Blarcum experimented with alternative techniques to produce over-exposed or silhouette prints, sometimes embellished with hand drawing. Curated by Gerald Slota, William Paterson University adjunct art professor, these selections are drawn from an archive of nearly 300 prints that were donated by renowned New Jersey photographer George Tice. 

Photography had been a life-long interest of Van Blarcum’s since his days in the U.S. Army where he taught himself how to use a 9-inch by 12-inch Zeiss Ikon glass plate camera in a Signal Corps darkroom. After the war, he took courses at the Modern School of Photography in New York, and the Suburban School of Photography in East Orange, New Jersey. He was an active member of the Tri-County Photography Club for more than 25 years, during which time he submitted more than 300 prints in camera club competitions. It was at one competition in particular in 1960 that he met and befriended George Tice. 

It wasn’t until the publication of George Tice’s book Artie Van Blarcum: An Extended Portrait (Addison House, 1977) that Van Blarcum experienced any kind of spotlight. While he had competed in the local photography competitions, Van Blarcum’s work only ever merited honorable mentions. But Tice saw something special in Van Blarcum’s character and work that others did not recognize at the time. In September 1977, Van Blarcum and Tice exhibited their work together at the Witkin Gallery in New York to coincide with the release of Tice’s biography of Van Blarcum. 

Van Blarcum was born and raised in North Arlington, New Jersey. While his passion was photography, he worked as an assembler for most of his life, holding a position at the Kidde fire extinguisher factory in Bloomfield, New Jersey. He enjoyed a simple life of routine living as a bachelor in the same house since he was a child. Eventually due to poor health, he was taken in by a preacher’s family in his own home and then moved with them to Nebraska. He lived there until his death in 1997; he is buried with his family in Arlington Cemetery in Kearny, New Jersey.

The exhibition is one of three on view concurrently in the University Galleries. On view in the South Gallery is the annual exhibition by members of the William Paterson University art faculty. Raymond Saá: New Work, on view in the Court Gallery, juxtaposes monochromatic and polychromatic compositions made up of abstract and botanical forms.

This exhibition is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The William Paterson University Galleries are wheelchair-accessible. Large-print educational materials are available. For additional information, please call the William Paterson University Galleries at 973-720-2654.

Related Events

Panel Discussion

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

South Gallery