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Gallery Opening: Waiting to Detonate

January 6 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Join the Arts Council for the Opening of Waiting to Detonate, a Taplin Gallery exhibition featuring the work of Andrew Chalfen, Katelyn Liepins, and Ida Ochoteco.
Free and open to all.

Andrew Chalfen is fascinated by patterns, how they ripple, radiate, refract, bloom, interact, cluster, construct, and deconstruct. His works allude to aerial views, cartography, architectural renderings, musical notation, urban densities, and other natural and man-made patterns, while not literally being any of those things. Rather, his pieces reflect his psychological states during their creation, a kind of topography of thought and mood as he works through various aesthetic themes that have long held his attention. Shapes often spill out over edges, suggesting unseen continuations beyond, while others seek containment. His recent mixed media work with painted dowels focuses on connections, intersections, and layers, a non-representational way of depicting how we relate to the world and to one another.

My process mirrors that of his songwriting and music arranging. I utilize the repetition of a small selection of formal elements, subtle variation, the timbre of color palate, rhythm, and a combination of randomization strategies and intentionality. Every work is a process journey, in which I refine elements that grab me from previous pieces, and then push into unknown territory with experimentation and risk, always iterating. I follow my instincts, deviates from them when necessary, and trusts the process to guide the work to a successful outcome and maybe even a breakthrough or two.

Viewers may not know what to focus on first, becoming overwhelmed and subsequently absorbed in the details. The experience is reminiscent of mediation. Certainly working on these pieces in the studio is a meditative, flow state way of being, where I can take my time to think about and explore through art-making themes of nostalgia, anxiety, play, musicality, fragility, impenetrable data, accelerating planetary chaos, and physical and psychic fragmentation.

Katelyn Liepins has been working with lines and how they can exist beyond the traditional drawing form for the past few years. She is constantly challenging what is a drawing and how can it exist in multiple mediums, her favorite being tape. Coming from a family of architects, she is attracted to the sharp crisp lines within a space and uses them consistently within her art. By using line, she likes to draw the viewer’s focus to a particular area of the space or to point out architectural elements that are typically overlooked. For example, the way the wall meets the floor, or how the corners of a room interact with one another. Katelyn creates large-scale installations as well as smaller representations of these demarcations.

Ida Ochoteco was born in Hamburg, Germany, and spent her formative years in the US, Japan, Mexico and Uruguay before taking her Basque-Italo-Uruguayan roots around the world, ultimately settling in New Jersey. Inspired by artists like Piet Mondrian, Joaquín Torres-García and Andy Warhol, she creates abstract collages by recycling paper from magazines, books, catalogs, junk mail, post cards, brochures, gift bags, etc. The pieces are finished with a thin layer of clear resin.

If she were asked to describe her artwork, she would use the word sarambí, a Guarani word meaning “chaos”. In her pieces, colors, textures, and geometrical shapes dance in an “organized mess”. Elements that at first glance look out of place are consciously positioned, deliberately to express her rebellious side.

First, I imagine a new project: the colors, textures, and shapes I want to play with. Then I put together all the paper pieces needed and paint a wood panel to serve as the base. The long process of gluing and placing the pieces comes next. Those pieces of paper are like pieces of my own life being put together. Sometimes I place a piece that doesn’t necessarily look like it belongs with the rest, but that’s done deliberately as a way to express my broken side, or to be rebellious, silly, or irreverent.

Putting the pieces of my life together keeps me going, moving forward, and evolving. Just as life has a cheerful side and a gloomy side, there are happy and bright collages, and there are the darker ones. I am a complex person, messy, struggling to fit, and my collages represent that. When immersed in a project, everything around me fades away. There is no past, no present, nor do I think about the future. I’m at peace. There’s no pain. It’s as if I am in another dimension. It’s a great feeling. I don’t want it to end. That’s why since I started doing art, I haven’t stopped, because it takes me to a better place.

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Event Details


January 6


3:00 pm - 5:00 pm



Taplin Gallery – Arts Council of Princeton

Princeton, NJ

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