Feminine Transcriptions 03 by Olga Alexander
40″x30″; acrylic on paper with collage; 2018. Courtesy of the artist.


Dissonance: 2020 New Jersey Arts Annual

at Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey, USA
18 May 2020-14 March 2021

The term dissonance describes the tension that arises from the arrangement of discordant elements, which can enrich our appreciation of harmony through added color and complexity. While dissonance is most fundamentally understood as a musical quality, the tension and restlessness it implies can be expressed visually, verbally, or performatively. Parallels to musical dissonance in other creative practices may be seen in the treatment of color, the choice of materials, the construction of texture, the juxtaposition of words, the choreography of movement, or the topic of reference.

Inspired by this concept, the exhibition “Dissonance—Art | Craft | Design | Performance | New Media: The 2020 New Jersey Arts Annual” features fifty-nine works by thirty-five artists that encompass qualities of “discord, tension, instability, and conflict,” thought to “aptly fit the moment in which we find ourselves (during the COVID-19 crisis), as individuals, as institutions, as a nation, as a culture.” The tensions of diversity, geography, and history indicate that our collective future—of our world, our nation, our state and its citizens—remain tantalizingly malleable. The work chosen for this exhibition demonstrate how creative thinking grows from uncertainty, challenges the status quo, and aspires toward artistic revelation.

The exhibition is organized into six general categories: Performance, Abstraction, Figural Realism, Points of View, Object-Based, and Photography. Through the wide breadth of materials, styles, and subject matter explored by the selected artists, an “organized cacophony” of distinct artistic excellence emerges in the 2020 New Jersey Arts Annual. Curated by Lowery Stokes Sims, Independent Curator and Art Historian, and Dr. Cleveland Johnson, Executive Director of the Morris Museum, “Dissonance—Art | Craft | Design | Performance | New Media” presents a multi-disciplinary selection of new works that highlight the creativity of the visual and performing arts of New Jersey today.

Collage artist Olga Alexander is one of the artists featured in the exhibition.

(Text adapted from the museum’s press materials and materials provided by Olga Alexander)


Morris Museum
6 Normandy Heights Road
Morristown, New Jersey 07960 USA
(973) 971-3700

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