From Sep. 5 through Dec. 8, the DiMattio and Ice House Galleries will be hosting the exhibit “PAT CRESSON Taking a Leap –The Power of the Natural World 45 Years of Creative Work.” This exhibit contains 21 different categories of Patricia Cresson’s, Professor of Art and Design, work spanning over 47 years of making art. Twenty-eight of those years contain her time as a professor at Monmouth University. As she is now retired 22 years, her artistic legacy is now open for all to see. Spanning two buildings, the exhibit is free and open to the public.
In regard to her exhibit, Cresson commented, “My main motivation in my art is expressing my reaction to the natural world: animals, plants, landscapes, light, and weather. I’m also interested in ancient civilizations, cultural influences, like Native American culture, and archaeological sites all over the world.” Cresson spent time as an archaeological illustrator in Egypt, Turkey, Cypress, and Greece. As well as these locations, Cresson has traveled to Mexico, Guatemala, and the southwest United States— locations involving many ancient civilizations. These locations are reflected in her work through her use of animals of various countries and terrains.
Upon admiring the artwork in Rechnitz Hall, one is met with the colorful, nature-based pieces of Cresson that immediately catch the eye. The exhibit is made up of different series, ranging from The Garden Series, which is composed of three 22×30 inch prints titled “Summer Morning,” “Summer Moon and Pond,” and “Summer Garden,” to the Gloucester Series, which began at a master class with Rebecca Crowell in Gloucester, Massachusetts. This series includes three cold wax paintings titled “Awning,” “Purple Haze,” and “Stairway to Heaven.”
Different series represent different trips or passions Cresson has had throughout her life.
Cresson has also partnered with the University to create the New Jersey Wave Series 2021-23, Urban Coast Institute Grant. The Urban Coast Institute provided a faculty grant that funded the series, as well as provided her with the materials to use in order to create these unique pieces. She was then able to display vintage fish and explore microbiology on large collages displayed on wood panels.
Cresson hopes that people who visit her gallery feel inspired and renewed with hope, especially in regard to the planet. “We still have a lot of beauty in our world that we can appreciate and I hope that some of my images of insects, birds, ancient civilizations, endangered animals and weather patterns can serve as a positive influence for people viewing the show,” she explained.
During her time at Monmouth University, Cresson founded, developed, and taught the Graphic Design program. Gallery curator Scott Knauer commented on Cresson’s career, saying, “She has extensive knowledge and worked on a variety of digital media, as well as fine arts projects.”
Cresson explained, “I feel that the exhibit is a reflection of my legacy at the school. It was planned earlier before I retired one year ago, but Covid postponed that.” Now, two years after the pandemic, the school has opened its doors and Cresson’s exhibit is now open to the public.
Over the span of Cresson’s career here at Monmouth, she has taught hundreds of students. In her classroom, she encouraged her students, “Do what you love, and the work will find you.”
Jing Zhou, MFA, Professor of Graphic and Interactive Design, had the privilege of working with Cresson and added, “She gave her students the creative freedom while providing clear instructions [all while] encouraging them to work harder. She nourished the students with her tender loving care and enormous patience.”
After having her parents question her own chosen path in art, Cresson always assured her students that she has never been without a job. She continues to tell her students, “When you’re enthused about what you’re doing you can always find work. So follow your path and be true to your inner goals.” Cresson has been an inspiration to students for 28 years, and she still continues to do so with her gallery exhibit that demonstrates how hard work does in fact pay off.
Her praise does not stop with her students; her fellow coworkers also compliment her of her talents. Zhou explained, “When I joined MU as a young Assistant Professor nearly two decades ago, Professor Cresson was a role model for me as an educator…As an artist, she is a creative powerhouse and generously shared her artistic experiences with students and faculty. I have learned so much from her that I passed on her teaching methods to young professors who joined MU.”
Patricia Cresson, as well as many other artists, have their work honored into the DiMattio and Ice House Galleries year round. Between the two galleries, there are 6-8 exhibits a year. To learn more about the Patricia Cresson exhibit, as well as many others, visit Monmouth University Center of the Arts website.