By Kevin Bass
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Artists and art enthusiasts funneled through the doors of Lincoln Hall at 5 p.m. on Nov. 15 to enjoy a faculty art exhibition.

A diverse crowd of art lovers gathered for an artists reception at the Marlin Art Gallery on Camden County College’s Blackwood campus to admire the works of nine staff members. Gregory Brellochs, Kay Klotzbach, Fred Herr, Deborah Moss Marris, Joanna Platt, Yikui Gu, Tom Murray, Leontien Rotteveel and Phil Rychert contributed 31 original pieces to the collection on display. Paintings, photographs, videos and sculptures filled the 600-square-foot space with fine arts and crafts.

About 80 people navigated across the hardwood floors to view the exhibits on display. As the line for light refreshments formed in the adjoining lobby, Brellochs, a visual arts professor, held court in front of one of his nine offerings. He began by outlining his early days as an artist to a group of interested patrons. Brellochs studied health for three years before discovering his calling as an artist. He switched his major, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Striving to achieve his best, he continued his education, obtaining a master of fine arts degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

The crowd’s attention shifted to the work of art behind him as he explained his creative process. Brellochs spent 30 to 40 hours developing a 21-inch-by-31-inch graphite on paper piece titled “Pulse”. He said, “It’s graphite, not pencil. There’s a difference.” When asked about the style of his work, Brellochs said, “It’s energistic. I know that’s not a word, but it’s the only way I can think to describe it.”

Among the crowd of gatherers was visual journalist Velvet McNeil. She brought her 3-year-old daughter Zorie along to absorb the exhibits. “We came to enjoy the artwork and mingle,” McNeil said. She expressed her appreciation over the accessibility of the faculty and staff as they showed off their work. “That one is dancing,” Zorie said, drawn to a floral oil and plaster painting by Deborah Moss Marris titled “Limelight”.

Murray, a visual arts professor, also offered an attention-gathering display to the exhibition. His piece, titled “Who Let You Know?”, is a stop-motion animation piece. This three-minute labor of love took a month and a half to create. It is impressive not only by sight but also by sound. Murray made use of his musical talent to produce the song accompanying the video, forming a multi-sensory work of art.

“You don’t have to be a student to visit the gallery. We’re a community college, which means the entire community is welcome to come,” Murray said.

The Marlin Art Gallery was established by the late Dr. William Marlin, the first full-time art faculty member of Camden County College. He wanted to increase exposure to the arts for the institution’s students as well as the surrounding community. The faculty artwork remains on display until Dec. 15, but the gallery holds seven exhibitions annually, providing residents plenty of opportunities to attend.

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Spectators discuss the artwork at the 2017 faculty art exhibition in the Marlin Art Gallery at Camden County College. By Kevin Bass, CCC Journalism Program

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