The following is from the Ethical Culture Society of Essex County:
A series of shadow box art constructions featuring all 44 U.S. Presidents by artist Robert Freese will be on display at the Ethical Culture Society from October 1 through mid-December. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, October 15, from 7 to 9 pm. All are welcome.
A graduate of Pratt Institute with a degree in Graphics & Illustration, Freese was art director and designer at several New York publishing houses for nearly four decades.
The Presidential Shadow Boxes have been a labor of love, 28 years in the making (so far). Most have never been exhibited in the New York area before. They were born of Freese’s fascination with our 44 chief executives—their personalities and the impact they had on their times. Some of these portraits are straight-on direct: Van Buren, known as the “Red Fox of Kinderhook,” is presented with a fox. The meaning of others are more subtle. Humor plays its part such as Taft stuck in a White House bathtub.
Many of the collage elements are actually contemporary with their subjects. The oldest of these are the Tyler silhouette (1844) and the Pierce engraving (1852).
You may agree or disagree with Freese’s interpretations—and that represents one of our many privileges as Americans.
The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County, 516 Prospect St., Maplewood, NJ. For more information on visiting the show, call 973-275-1633. www.essexethical.org.