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In Defiance of Winter Exhibition

December 6, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Studio Montclair  presents “In Defiance Of Winter,” an exhibition via SMI’s incubator program at Academy Square Gallery.

December 6, 2018February 7, 2019

Opening Reception: Thursday, December 6, 6-8pm

“In Defiance Of Winter” presents work by three local artists, Madalina Blanton, Gigi Garcia, and Jade Alycia Webber, whose colorful aesthetics focus on the use of recycled and repurposed materials, nature, environmental positivity, and the transformational way mixed-media materials can elevate into fine-art objects.

Romanian-born artist and Reiki practitioner Madalina Blanton explores nature’s healing modalities through mandalas born from a practice of contemplation, nature, walks, meditation, and yoga. Her small-edition prints and unique artworks feature elements of photography, watercolor, and collage, all having received a bath of Reiki and sound vibrations prior to display. Unlike traditional, symmetrical mandalas, Blanton’s interpretation incorporates her own nature photography and watercolor, emphasizing the larger, less-considered aspects of the natural world within more complex compositions.

Collage artist and illustrator Gigi Garcia meticulously composes collages from hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of pieces of cut magazine paper. With careful consideration of color and texture, her tightly-rendered animals and naturescapes evoke a sense of tenderness and whimsy, all while manipulating recycled materials for a painterly result.

Montclair native Jade Alycia Webber pulls from her expertise in fashion design to create sustainable couture hats and handbags from natural, upcycled materials. Her covetable masterpieces incorporate fragments from nature, fusing her expression of Parisian street style with handmade etiquette to create wearable accessories that double as artwork.

Through interpreting and employing materials from the natural world, each of the local, female artists featured in “In Defiance of Winter” come together to create a visual respite from the cold, offering viewers an intimate conversation with both our environment and the creative minds that utilize it.

About the Artists 

Madalina Stefan Blanton is a Romanian-born visual artist. She studied drawing, etching and painting in Bucharest, Romania, Paris and later in New York, while pursuing healing traditions that brought her closer to nature and increased her desire to combine artistic expression with healing. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Parsons School of Design in New York. Blanton started drawing healing mandalas over a decade ago. All of her images carry healing vibrations, have received Reiki and sound baths that are meant to enhance the energy of the spaces where they reside. She has shown her mandalas at Jivamukti Yoga Center in New York and Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY has hosted her work for the 2018 season.

Gigi Garcia was born in Houston, Texas and raised in New Jersey. She has a BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Garcia actively participates in local art shows as well as handmade craft markets throughout New Jersey.

Jade Alycia Webber is a couture fashion designer, professional makeup artist, and fashion and beauty blogger born and raised in Montclair, NJ. Webber holds degrees in Liberal Arts from Mount Ida College and Fashion Studies from Montclair State University. She studied at the flagship location of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics in Montclair, and worked with local architecture firm, Smith Maran Interiors before starting her fashion company Jade Alycia Inc. in 2016. Webber also runs The Glamourous Touch, a freelance makeup service, and writes for her fashion and beauty blog, The Unjaded Journal.

About the Incubator Program

Studio Montclair’s Incubator Program, directed by Kathryn Waggener McGuire and Lisa Diamond Rosenthal, seeks to mentor new and emerging artists and provide them with a space for what is often their first solo or small group show exhibit. Lauren Waldrum was guest mentor to Blanton, Garcia, and Webber, helping with installation, concept, and marketing advice.

About Studio Montclair

Studio Montclair Inc. is a non-profit organization of exhibiting professional and emerging artists and others interested in the visual arts. In the past year, it has exhibited more than 280 works of art and has encouraged and interacted with close to 1,000 artists.

About the Academy Square Galleries Directors and Guest Mentor

Kathryn Waggener McGuire is a painter, art historian, museum educator, and host of the Montclair Figure Drawing Group. She moved to Montclair after working with special exhibitions in the Education Department of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and completing her Master’s degree in Museum Education and Historical Research at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has since written and curated extensively on American artist A.B. Jackson, and has focused on developing programs for museum audiences with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Lisa Diamond Rosenthal is a painter and sculptor. She is also the former owner of Montclair’s Nandi School of Art, a local art hub where she employed more than 20 area artists and art teachers to support year-round classes in painting, ceramics, fiber arts, animé, and sewing. Each year, Lisa assists various non-profits by facilitating acquisitions and curating large-gallery art shows for fundraisers. She was recognized by U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell and the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) for raising significant funds for NJCASA’s crisis hotline for women through Montclair’s Rock ‘n’ Art Ball, an event she spearheaded, developed, and oversaw. A graduate of Cornell University, Lisa now owns and operates a life-and-health coaching business in Little Falls, N.J.

Lauren Waldrum is a Product Developer in the luxury beauty industry, as well as manager and co-owner of Gallery L, a contemporary art exhibition space in Montclair, NJ.  Her career in cosmetics has allowed her to travel the world for the last 15 years, while launching thousands of skincare and fragrance products. As a lover of fashion, music, baking and art, her curiosity to push personal boundaries constantly keeps her moving, spurring the 2018 opening of Gallery L with her husband, artist Luke Waldrum.

Listing Information for the Exhibition 

Directors: Kathryn Waggener McGuire and Lisa Diamond Rosenthal

Artists: Madalina Blanton, Gigi Garcia, and Jade Alycia Webber

Exhibition Dates: December 6, 2018–February 7, 2019

Gallery: Academy Square Galleries, 33 Plymouth Street, Montclair, NJ 07042

Gallery Hours: Monday to Friday 7am-7pm

Opening Reception: Thursday, December 6, 6-8pm

Media Contact: Kathryn Waggener McGuire (757.81.4890) or

Lisa Diamond Rosenthal (973.476.5616), incubator@studiomontclair.org


December 6, 2018
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Studio Montclair
studio montclair via incubator program


Academy Square Galleries
33 Plymouth Street
Montclair, NJ 07043 United States
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