George Thaddeus Saj: Memories
May 10 – 26, 2019

Thank you for joining us on Friday, May 10, 2019, as we celebrated “Memories,” an exhibition of mixed media portraits by Ukrainian-American artist George Thaddeus Saj.  The visitor was met with thirty-four wall-mounted works rendering both modern and naive elements – human and animal faces characterized, all blending into a collective visage. Curated by Walter Hoydysh, PhD, director of Art at the Institute, this exhibition marked the artist’s first solo showing with The Ukrainian Institute of America.

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The motive of “Memories” is an extravagant cocktail of vivid emotions and observations gathered and rearranged in the drawers of recollection and the imagination – through the years – that never gets dusty with time. Dreams, memories, intuition and invention are stored with a mercurial nature which have been turned into a colorful and playful delight for the spirit.

These whimsical and humor-filled wooden assemblages fuse together both European and American influences, with every piece a self-portrait marking a different facet of Saj’s mind. They also bear witness to a profound knowledge of the history of Euro-American cultures and psyches, conjoining the strengths of the past with the present. The artist’s affection for these portraits is clear. Saj takes his characters and presents them to us as friends and intimates with all their fascinating foibles and talents.

“Memories” reflects the artist’s energy, exuberance and playfulness through his visually stimulating, constructed and layered approach, to demonstrate the art-making activity, to see behind it, and to engage and inspire creativity in all its visitors, children and adults alike.

George Thaddeus Saj studied at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, Dartmouth College, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. Following residency training and service as a staff surgeon at a U.S. Army hospital in Danang, Viet Nam, he settled in New Jersey. In 2004, he retired from his surgical practice, and turned to art full-time. He exhibits his mixed media artworks locally and nationally. Dr. Saj lives and works in Montclair, NJ.

The exhibition was on display until May 26, 2019.