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TCNJ ART GALLERY PRESENTS: THREAD: Jim Denomie, Maria Dumlao, and Jessica Wimbley

Thread features the work of three artists working in disparate media, each drawing from particular moments in American history and, through their work, making evident threads of historical narratives that are obscured or erased from recorded histories. The artists all look to the late-19th-century and episodes in American history that, 100 years past, still resonate today in ways not acknowledged in history textbooks or mainstream accounts. In the work of these artists, the threads of history are multiple and persistent: they contest and resist erasure and sustain a dialogue between the past/s, the present, and the future.

In her series Benevolent Assimilation: scenes that do not represent who we are, 2021 Philadelphia-based artist Maria Dumlao looks to archival photographs, vintage advertising, and news clippings to examine the intersecting histories of the Philippines under US military occupation, the development of surveillance and policing technologies, and American consumerism between the 1890s-1920s. Her work demands the participation of the viewer to activate the images: viewers use a series of colored lenses to view the images, each of which reveals (or conceals) details of the scene, and, in turn, the particular historical narrative. Some of these details tell the histories preserved in official archival accounts; others reveal the persistent narrative threads left out of, or erased from, these official stories.

In her photo-based collages, California artist Jessica Wimbley visually and conceptually connects late-19th-century cabinet card images of African American subjects with 1970s fashion and editorial photographs from Jet magazine, and the artist’s own family images. As she reworks the surfaces of these images, she visually binds these disparate—and often hidden—representations across time, place, and media.

The saturated colors and surrealist sometimes humorous figuration of Jim Denomie’s paintings bring a darkly humorous and deeply felt approach to historical narratives. The paintings in the in-progress series They Sing Their Death Song depict the Mankato 38 + 2, 38 Dakota men who were executed by the US government in Mankato, Minnesota on December 26, 1862. Writing about Denomie’s paintings, Robert Cozzolino states, “They are powerful history paintings of our time, made with the knowledge that past and present speak to one another, talk back, argue, and ultimately strive for a future.”

Related Events:

Artist’s Talk: Maria Dumlao

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 7:00 pm

Via Zoom. Free, but advance registration required:

Visiting the Gallery

Effective Monday, August 16, 2021, TCNJ requires all persons on campus, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask while indoors. For the most updated information on visiting the campus, please see


TCNJ’s Art Gallery is located in the AIMM Building on the campus at 2000 Pennington Road in Ewing, NJ. Gallery hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12:00 until 7:00, and Sundays from 1:00 until 3:00.

The catalogue is written by Ernest A. Bryant III

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