Gwenn Seemel's Empathetic Magic

You almost certainly use sympathetic magic in your day-to-day. It’s in the carefully posed photo on your social media profile or in the pictures of fit people you post on the fridge to encourage healthy eating. Sympathetic magic is in effect anytime you use a representation of something in order to bring that thing into your life. 

New Jersey artist Gwenn Seemel is working a similar spell with her new series of portraits, Empathetic Magic. The paintings are based on the idea that true empathy is not pretending that you know what it’s like to be in another person’s shoes, but admitting that you have no idea and then listening to them.

Each subject in the series has something about them that makes them different from the mainstream. They’re disabled people, old people, fat people, hairy people, people who struggle with mental illness, people of color, asexual people, queer people, and single mothers. And all are painted twice: once how they feel they must hide what makes them different; and once how they emphasize it or how they wish they could.

Empathetic Magic is intended for those of us who believe we are accepting of others, while at the same time insisting that fat means a person is unhealthy, that a hairy back is gross, and that mental illness is just people overreacting. This work is for the judger and the judged in each of us. 

WHAT: Empathetic Magic, paintings that prove we can love each other

WHERE: Lyceum Hall, 432 High Street, Burlington, NJ 08016

WHEN: April 1 through 29 by appointment (telephone: 609-239-0029) 

PARTY: April 5, 7 to 9 PM

Oil & Water by Jim Watt -- Feb 8 - Feb 24 2019

An exhibit you won’t want to miss.

Artist reception Feb 8, 6:00 pm (Meet & Greet) followed by the production of RED (see art exhibit page) and an after party for the artist, Mr. Watt and the play director, Jim Kempner at 9:30 pm

Oil & Water — an abstract show by artist Jim Watt.

Here’s a bit about Jim:

Accepted into the prestigious Master of Architecture program at Princeton University where just five students were selected from around the world to study with the greatest minds in art and architecture, Watt studied with masters such as Michael Graves and Enrique Miralles who stressed that architects must paint and sculpt to fully realize and express their ideas.

It was during his time at University that he traveled extensively doing sketching tours of Italy. It was the architecture, sculpture and painting of the late renaissance and baroque periods that most captured his attention and with their dynamic and muscular formal and spatial expressions. The cultural zeitgeist of the time was undeniable in these works and demonstrated the potency of art and architecture as a language of ideas.

On invitation by his clients Meg Brunette and Kyle Lepree, Watt set up his studio on the 8th floor of an art deco landmark in downtown Asbury Park in 1998 and became an early pioneer of the city’s renaissance. His years of friendship and collaboration with Meg and Kyle lead to the formation of The Smith Group which includes his brother Jason and sister Dallas. The Smith Group, and has been credited as a major force in the rebuilding of Asbury Park through their critically acclaimed and nationally recognized restaurants and urban renewal projects. Smith’s impact on Asbury Park has inspired them to created projects in cities such as Jersey City and Burlington where their impact has been pivotal. Watt and his partners believe in the Japanese aesthetic concept of Wasi-Sabi, where imperfection is seen as something beautiful and essential to the human experience. This quality is central to Watt’s paintings and drawings. Complexity and nuance are qualities celebrated in his work.

Watt’s practice as a painter is coequal to his work as an architect. He has been recognized in such publications as Dwell and The New York Times and his art is in private collections across North America and Europe. 

Duets and Solos ~ Fiber Art & Digital Photography


The Visual Duets exhibit by Paul and Vicki Mathas is the creative result of sharing compositions that defy the separation of art mediums. The solos feature the best of each artist as they stretch themselves and explore their individual media.

Meet the artists at the Opening Reception on November 2 from 7 - 9 pm. Refreshments and live music will round out the evening. Please call 609-239-0029 to schedule a visit!

Paint Burlington ~ A Plein Air Event

Artists will paint from August 24 -- Aug 31. The canvases must be stamped beforehand at Lyceum Hall ~ 432 High Street, Burlington ~ on Friday, August 17th from 1 - 5pm and again on August 18th from 12 - 2 pm. The works will be exhibited September 7 through Oct 19. Only two entries per artist will be accepted.

Artists' reception will be held on September 7th from 7 - 9 pm upstairs in the exhibit room at Lyceum Hall. 

The fee to enter is $25.00. Registration is required. You may register by following this link:

First, Second, and Third Prizes will be awarded at the reception following adjudication by Larry Chestnut. Mr. Chestnut is a highly regarded local artist who is influenced by Beaux, Chase, Sargent, Henri, Redfield, and Homer. Larry has been painting, teaching, and selling his work for nearly 30 years. 

Exhibit viewing is by appointment. Please email:

Larry Chestnut Art Reception

Larry Chestnut is an accomplished award-winning artist and teaching artist who has exhibited his works at the College of New Jersey, Chestnut Hill Gallery, 2nd Street Gallery, and the 33rd Annual Ellarslie Open among many others. Larry will be exhibiting his Portraits, Plein Air, and Still Life paintings during the month of December.

The artist’s reception is December 1st from 7 PM – 9 PM at Lyceum Hall Center for the Arts, 432 High Street, Burlington City.

Exhibit hours 11 AM - 3 PM weekdays and weekends by appointment only.

Check out Larry's website to see his works!

If you'd like to leave a comment, click on the title and scroll down.