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Artist Curated Project Exploring Self in the Collections Presented at Ramapo College

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)January 31, 2014

Fine Tooth Comb: Searching for SELF in the Collections

(MAHWAH, NJ) — Fine Tooth Comb: Searching for SELF in the Collections, an exhibition which collages art by Jersey City artist Nyugen E. Smith with works he has selected from the Ramapo College collections, opens on Wednesday, February 12 in the Kresge Gallery on campus. There will be an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m.  An artist’s talk begins at 6 p.m.

Smith was invited to respond to works in the collection. He has created a uniquely personal, yet playful installation with various media. The exhibition includes painting, sculpture, video and site-specific mixed media installations.

The artist states, “My practice investigates the impacts of European colonialism on the African diaspora with a focus on the West Indies. Working with the collections has given me the unique opportunity to have a dialog with the represented artists through their work. Together we examine the psychological implications, amalgamation of language, customs, architecture, etiquette, race, distribution of power and wealth within sociopolitical constructs which share similar origins.”

This exhibition will also feature a performance event by Vox vocal ensemble, curated by the artist, on March 11 at 5 p.m. in the Berrie Center’s Sharp Theater. Founded in 2009, Vox is the official vocal group of Saint Peter’s Preparatory School, where Smith is a member of the faculty in the Fine and Performing Arts department. Since its inception, Vox has performed at numerous concerts around Northern New Jersey, helping communities to raise money for various causes. The choir has performed at numerous benefit concerts and in regional and international choral competitions, including the 7th World Choir Games, where it was awarded a Silver Diploma. Prep Vox, under the direction of Gianpaolo Eleria, envisions itself to be a choir that celebrates vocal music of all shapes and sizes, making the performance in conjunction with this exhibition truly fitting.

Nyugen E. Smith was born in Jersey City, NJ to his Trinidadian mother and Haitian father in 1976. He spent his formative years living with extended family in Trinidad. Smith earned his BA in Fine Art from Seton Hall University and has studied painting and drawing at Studio Arts Centers International in Florence, Italy. His practice is interdisciplinary with emphasis in found object assemblage, drawing and performance. His most recent exhibitions include Biennial of Contemporary Art in Martinique and an installation at SCOPE International Art Fair Special Projects. Smith has exhibited widely in galleries and museums in the United States and internationally. He has participated in panel discussions/artist talks at Studio Museum Harlem, Aljira: A Center for Contemporary Art, Cooper Union, Seton Hall University and University of Massachusetts-Amherst, among others. Smith lives and works in Jersey City, New Jersey.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Kresge Gallery is located in the Russ and Angelica Berrie Center for the Performing and Visual Arts at Ramapo College. Hours are Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Wednesday, 1 to 7 p.m.   For more information call 201.684.7147.

For a photo, please click on this link:


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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