MSU Galleries to open two new exhibitions this spring

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MONTCLAIR, NJ –– This spring, Montclair State University Galleries will open two new exhibitions on Jan. 31: Caroline Garcia’s “Dancing on Axes and Spears” in the Segal Gallery and “Case Studies 2: Justin Cloud – The Garden” in the Kasser Theater lobby, on view through April 21 and July 31, respectively. The exhibitions are curated by Jesse Bandler Firestone.

An opening reception for the exhibits will be held Thursday, Feb. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the George Segal Gallery, featuring a live performance of martial arts–inspired choreography. Firestone will lead a curator’s tour on Thursday, Feb. 9 from noon to 1 p.m. An art forum, featuring Garcia in conversation with Firestone, will be held in conjunction with MSU’s art and design program on Monday, Feb. 20, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.; register at

The second edition of “Case Studies” features new and recent sculptures by Cloud of machine-like flora and fauna that reflect changes taking place across American industries, including biotechnology, agriculture and large-scale manufacturing. 

The plants and animals depicted throughout the exhibition make reference to orchids, mammals and birds, many of which loosely resemble those endemic to the Americas. Cloud purposely avoids realistic representation and gestures toward a speculative future in which familiar plants and animals become less recognizable and changed, in part due to human intervention through technology. 

“With astounding skill, Cloud creates sculptures that echo both the utopian potential and the dystopian possibilities of a heavily technologized world,” Firestone said. “Alluding to recent developments in bioengineering and highly automated agriculture, Cloud calls into question the impacts of technology on human and nonhuman environs alike.”

“Dancing on Axes and Spears” is Garcia’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States. Garcia’s works explore her Filipino identity, assimilation and cultural memory, and indigeneity through diasporic and feminist perspectives. Employing video, performance, sculpture and installation, Garcia addresses a central theme of “alterity” — an anthropological term meaning “otherness” — to mark her position in the diaspora where distance, language barriers and colonization fracture traditional knowledge.

The works featured are emblematic of the ways Garcia resists assimilation tactics within colonized land. These unique survival strategies are informed by elements of indigenous Filipino culture and traditions, including martial arts and spirituality, technology, and community collaborations.

“Garcia reflects on feelings of belonging and alienation from her ancestral homeland in the Philippines and her current home in the United States through a range of media and approaches,” Firestone said. “Her reverence for Indigenous practices, sensitivity to issues of authenticity and embrace of corresponding nuances related to her diasporic identity create a complicated, sentimental and layered exhibition that conveys overlapping issues that are not easily distilled.”

Gallery hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 5 p.m.; and Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m. All exhibitions and programs are free and open to the public. For more information, visit MSU is located at 1 Normal Ave. in Montclair.

Photos courtesy of the artists