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Weekly Recommendations: Photography and Art at RoCA

by Amy Alinkofsky

Remnants of an Exodus and Seasons of Change are two exhibitions featuring photographic works by Al J Thompson and paintings by SuHua Chen Low. These artists document the ever-changing landscapes around them. It’s a very popular saying that, “change is the only constant in life.” Life, relationships, neighborhoods, workplaces, age, and almost everything is all about change. The key to growth and success is adapting and embracing the changeBoth of these artists go beyond what the eye sees in the environment of landscape, surroundings, and people to capture the essence and feeling in an image. 

Boy & Tree

Al J Thompson’s Remnants of an Exodus is a love letter to his second home in Spring Valley, New York, a Caribbean immigrant community, 40 minutes from New York City. Jamaican-born, Thompson settled in the immigrant community of Spring Valley in 1996.

With a series of black and white photographs made over several years Thompson observes and experiences change firsthand, as the community undergoes a dramatic shift in both demographic and political landscapes. In turn, he finds Spring Valley fraught with insecurity and uncertainty but bound by love. Thompson’s documentation is the witness in the transition of a community.

As a devotee to the science of Psychology and Visual Arts, Thompson sets out to convey the nuances that he believes are circumstances of societal turmoil. His rhythmic approach to photography, at times envelopes people, places, and things that often generates poetic dialogue with subtlety — one that he perceives is consistent to the impression that all things relate.

His photo book was recently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, Missouri State University, Denver Public Library, and San Francisco Public Library. Thompson has been involved with a number of photography exhibits and commissioned for companies such as Weill Cornell University, Under Armor, Moët Hennessy, NYC GO, Kaiser Health News, The New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, and New York Times. His work made several appearances in PDN, BOOOOOOOM, Lenscratch, British Journal of Photography, The Guardian, National Geographic, Italian Vogue, NPR, Buzzfeed, Lensculture, Rocket Science, Float Magazine, GUP, C-41, among others.

SuHua Chen Low‘s Seasons of Change embraces the ever-expressive landscape and seasonal surroundings she witnesses every day at her home in New Jersey. SuHua, born in Taiwan, represents a unique convergence of Western oil painting technique with traditional Chinese landscape art and water and ink paintings. She creates passionate works of intensity with striking colors, inherent vitality, and poetic lyricism. 

Cameras capture images of what stands before them. SuHua goes beyond what a camera sees to show the essence of the landcapes she paints. When Low sees a tree, she hears the music of the tree, senses its poetry and feels its meaning. She portrays in her paintings a stronger essence than the actual object. The artistic mood of her paintings is depicted through a “splash” technique, influenced by traditional Chinese water and ink paintings. One experiences something deeper and richer each time they revisit a painting.

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SuHua studied painting from Taiwan master artists Shih-Ciao Li and Ke-Mei Li receiving guidance on painting skills and inspirations of art. This is the foundation of her Western and Chinese painting works. SuHua has exhibited in Taiwan, the Reeves Reed Arboretum, Summit NJ, Straube Center, Pennington, NJ, Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Center in Bridgewater, NJ, the Bendheim Gallery of Greenwich Art Council, Greenwich, CT.

Remnants of an Exodus and Seasons of Change are on view through Nov 20, 2021.  The exhibit is free to the public and is open Mon through Sat, 11a–4p.  Masks are required in the exhibit spaces and building for the safety of everyone. 

Rockland Center for the Arts is the oldest and largest arts organization in Rockland County, presenting outstanding programming in the arts for over 70 years.  RoCA is located at 27 S Greenbush Rd, West Nyack. For more information, visit rocklandartcenter.org or call 845-358-0877.

RoCA’s programs are made possible, in part, with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature. Funding is also made possible by the County of Rockland.

RoCA gratefully acknowledges support for its programs from The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation, M&T Bank, The M&T Charitable Foundation, The Dorothy Gillespie Foundation, Peter & Rebecca Lang, Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C., Luxury Kitchen and Bath, Golden Artist Colors, Inc., QuietEvents, the Estate of Joan Konner, Lighting Services Inc., Sarah and Stephen Thomas, the Mark and Jessie Milano Foundation, Zaklin Family Charitable Fund, The County of Rockland, Simona and Jerome Chazen, Art Services Group, RoCA members, donors and business members.

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