Hunterdon Art Museum Explores Ceramic Innovation, Digital Existence, Poetic Cosmic Lore in New Exhibitions

  • CLINTON, New Jersey
  • /
  • May 17, 2023

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The Hunterdon Art Museum is set to unveil three new exhibitions during an opening reception on Sunday, May 21 from 2-4 p.m. “Claybash 2023” explores contemporary ceramics, “Nona Hershey: In the Cloud” shows beautiful watercolors that represent the pervasiveness of digital technology, and “Monica Ong: "Planetaria" displays the intricate confluence of poetry and visual art within the ancient Chinese cosmos. Visitors will also have the unique opportunity to engage with the artists during talks held in the galleries.

“Claybash 2023” 

Claybash 2023,” debuting in the main gallery, marks the first in a series of triennial exhibitions showcasing a diverse range of contemporary ceramics from innovative artists across the U.S. Jennifer Martin, executive director of The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, serves as this year's juror.

HAM's interest in ceramics traces back to the 1960s when Toshiko Takaezu, a Hunterdon County resident recognized as one of the world's most influential ceramic artists, actively participated at the museum. 

Throughout its 70-year history, HAM has hosted numerous solo and group ceramic shows, many curated by Dr. Hildreth York and Ingrid Renard. “Claybash 2023” is dedicated to York, an art historian, curator, and longtime supporter of the museum, acknowledging the pivotal role she played in strengthening HAM and the profound impact her work and wisdom had on the museum's exhibitions program.

The exhibition will be on view through Sept. 3 and is sponsored by Unity Bank.

“Nona Hershey: In the Cloud”

In the First Floor Gallery, “Nona Hershey: In the Cloud" explores, through watercolor painting,  the all-pervading influence of technology on our current societal landscape. Amidst a climate where many are persistently tethered to screens and coping with concerns raised by climate change, the pandemic, and social media, Hershey vividly encapsulates the omnipresent nature of our digital lifestyle.

Our excessive exposure to screens often show diverse views of identical catastrophes simultaneously, intensifying our anxieties, heightened by the speed at which things unfold. Though we can't see the signals emitted by our devices, Hershey suggests their energy is palpable, shifting our perception of time and place. We now find ourselves constantly analyzing and digitizing our daily experiences, perceiving the world in a pixelated manner. Ironically, Hershey presents her views of technology by incorporating the natural world, specifically clouds in her paintings.

Nona Hershey's work is held in esteemed public collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Library of Congress. She has participated in over 200 international group exhibitions and showcased her work at prestigious galleries, including Mary Ryan Gallery and Galleria Il Ponte. Hershey has received residency grants from the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ireland and the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, among others. She was a Professor of Printmaking at Massachusetts College of Art and Design for 25 years.

The exhibition will be on view through Sept. 3. Learn more about Nona Hershey at

"Monica Ong: Planetaria”

Monica Ong: Planetaria” curated by Dr. Hildreth York, will be featured in the Second Floor River Gallery. In Ong's work, art and poetry are inseparable, creating a unique form where ideas, content, and design come together in each artwork.

“Planetaria” is deeply influenced by the ancient Chinese cosmos and its related cultural philosophies. Ong connects these ancient ideas with today's world, revealing changing attitudes and behaviors. She uses her knowledge of astrology, astronomy, science, and poetry to critically examine traditional roles of women in society. This female gaze is a central theme in her work.

The show includes a variety of mediums, including images, star charts, pages from old-style medical books, and a collaborative tarot deck. The words used in “Planetaria” have special meanings; they not only provide information but also guide the viewer through the emotional, historical, and mythological elements of each piece.

Monica Ong, a Kundiman poetry fellow and Rhode Island School of Design graduate, is acclaimed for her innovative visual poetry. She is the author of "Silent Anatomies" (2015), which won the Kore Press First Book Award in poetry. Ong's work has been featured in prominent publications such as POETRY Magazine and Scientific American. Her visual poetry has been exhibited at renowned locations including the Poetry Foundation gallery in Chicago and the Center for Book Arts in New York. Her upcoming artist monograph is set to be published by The Artist Book Foundation.

The exhibition will be on view through Sept. 3. Learn more about Monica Ong at

Brian Kearney
Hunterdon Art Museum

Hunterdon Art Museum
7 Lower Center Street
Clinton, New Jersey
About Hunterdon Art Museum

The Hunterdon Art Museum presents changing exhibitions of contemporary art, craft, and design in a 19th century stone mill listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Founded in 1952, the Museum is a landmark regional art center showcasing works by established and emerging contemporary artists. It also offers a dynamic schedule of art classes and workshops for children and adults. Print+ is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of the International Fine Print Dealer’s Association. Programs are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund; Hunterdon County Board of County Commissioners, through funds administered by the Cultural & Heritage Commission; Hyde and Watson Foundation; Investors Foundation; The Large Foundation, and additional support provided by the IFPDA Foundation along with other corporations, foundations, and individuals.

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