Social Media Exhibition: May 1 – August 1, 2020 

The John F. Peto Studio Museum presents “Peto Museum From Home.” In this virtual exhibition born on social media, we feature local artists who use their art to express support, beauty, and despair pertaining to the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ This exhibit was guest curated by Catie Kohl and Marc Hajjar.

Featured Artists:

Abbie Davidson, Gregg Emery, Jonathan J. Scialabba, Brittany James, Thomas Holton, Frank Parisi, Charlie Fogel, Ryan Santiago, Constance Foley, Jeremy Penn, Joan Gallager, Jason Borbay, Natalie Featherston, Win Zibeon, Russell A. Case, Mel Ahlborn, Elissa Arbeitman, Russ Roe, Julie Angela Theresa, Kirsten Kraa

Abbie Davidson

Abbie Davidson is a writer and photographer from Toms River, New Jersey. Her pieces capture the realism of human emotion and experience. Scroll through to read Davidson’s full prose about working at a grocery store in the middle of a pandemic.

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The masked man walks nervously up to the door of the food store
This is his first time out in weeks after the pandemic swept over his town
Hands gloved
Shaking
He takes a deep breath in and turns the knob.
Inside the store, things seem, quite like he remembered it being before.
Music playing, customers walking the halls, employees putting away packaged goods.
Though now there’s a sense of panic in everyone’s movement.
Standing behind the counter,
A young girl,
Desperate for air, lightheaded and overheated tries to be helpful, though it isn’t enough.
People are scared.

— Prose and Photograghs by Abbie Davidson (@abbie.normal)

Gregg Emery

Painter of large gestural abstractions while simultaneously sketching people everywhere he goes, Gregg Emery (@greggvemery) was born and raised just outside the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation in a border town in upstate New York and has spent the past 20+ years in New York and New Jersey as an artist and art teacher. Check out Emery’s full portfolio at www.greggemery.com

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“After surviving a 2 week personal battle at home with the virus, I wanted to stay at home but also show gratitude for what all of these people were facing in order to help keep us safe and move us forward. I also thought it would be important to immortalize this moment for future generations. Sketching photos of first responders, doctors, postal, delivery & grocery workers drawings of these ‘Heroes’ in their PPE (personal protective equipment).”

Jonathan J. Scialabba

𝐉𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐉. 𝐒𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥𝐚𝐛𝐛𝐚 (@whoisjonscialabba) is an artist and writer from Jackson, New Jersey. His work focuses on reminding the viewer that art can change the way we view the world. Check out more of Scialabba’s work at www.jonathanjstudio.com.

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“At the beginning of this quarantine, I saw the social media posts of people urging others to come out of this thing with a new skill, more knowledge, a side hustle, etc. Those posts slowly dissipated. I believe that the dissipation was a result of people realizing that their heart sought balance. It is just as important to rest as it is to create, learn, and grow. While seeking for this equilibrium myself, I spent some time to create a beautiful woman wearing a face mask to express the theme: there is beauty in balance.”

Brittany James

𝐁𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐉𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐬 (@brittanyjamesart) is a Jersey Shore native and began painting in Island Heights in 1995 with mentor Elaine Sgambati. James graduated from Michigan State University with a BFA degree concentrated in oil painting in 2009, and has been a full-time artist ever since. In addition to painting, James teaches painting and life drawing classes for adults at @art629gallery and runs an open studio for local artists. Check out more of Jame’s beautiful work at www.brittanyjamesart.com.

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“Painted during the pandemic, ‘Disintegrate’ shows fear of the unknown and feelings of falling apart.”

Thomas Holton

𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐬 𝐇𝐨𝐥𝐭𝐨𝐧 (@thomas_holton_photography) is a NYC based photographer best known for his long term project “The Lams of Ludlow Street” which has been published and exhibited globally.

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“As a photographer who has been photographing a single family in NYC’s Chinatown neighborhood for over 17 years, it has been hard to adjust being apart from them as my family and I isolate ourselves in Brooklyn. Even as a lifelong NYC kid, I sadly admit to have never been to numerous neighborhoods so I took it upon myself to explore Brooklyn via bike during this pandemic as a way to satisfy my creative needs (and to get exercise!). These poignant, quiet and often funny images make me love my hometown even more.

Charlie Fogel

𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐢𝐞 𝐅𝐨𝐠𝐞𝐥 (@charliefogel) has been creating comics for the wealthy and the beautiful for over 20 years.

Frank Parisi

𝐅𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐤 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐢 (@frankpphoto) is a well-known photographer who lives in Island Heights, and specializes in capturing sailboats racing, sunrises and sunsets, and shore scenes. More of his work can be seen at www.frankparisiphotography.com.

“These photographs were taken in Island Heights the day after a lockdown was declared by the Borough Council. The scenes in these photos are of popular sites, usually bristling with people jogging, mothers and their children, and senior citizens out for fresh air on a beautiful spring day. To see them closed and quiet, with their vitality suspended, was unsettling, even jarring. I shot these images to capture that unsettling feeling and to convey the seriousness of the situation, especially its effect on a small historic community at the Jersey Shore.”

Ryan Santiago

Based currently in Lavallette, New Jersey, 𝐑𝐲𝐚𝐧 𝐒𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐠𝐨’s (@minisants) photographs and music evoke ambient, nostalgic, airy, and wistful feelings. See more of Santiago’s work at www.minisants.com

“Being a surfer, the closing of the beaches and boardwalks during the pit of a lockdown took a toll on my mental and physical health. This photo was intended to be soft and nostalgic, but also a bit in-your-face. The closing of the beaches kind of pushed me to fringes, as surfing is the first outlet aside from music to bring any sort of clarity, whether it be emotional or mental stability.”

Constance Foley

𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐅𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐲 (@at12exit) is an amateur photographer based in central New Jersey.

“I took these photos as I thought it was a rare moment in time and I wanted to capture this time so we never forget it. These were taken around Easter when masks were just becoming part of everyday life. The photos were taking in Freehold, New Brunswick, Red Bank and Perth Amboy.”

Jeremy Penn


New York-based artist 𝐉𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐲 𝐏𝐞𝐧𝐧 (@jeremypenn) was born in 1979 and has works that are prized within some of the most prestigious institutions and modern art collections in the world.

“My work explores the development and power of human polarities. My use of color and mirrored surfaces creates a space for the observer to become part of the work and find balance in moments of self-reflection.”

Joan Gallager

Joan Gallager (@joangallagherphotography) is an artist/photographer based in New Jersey. ⁣

“The goal was to seek a rainbow in the window, a sign of thanks in the yard or American flag at least once every walk. Everything else or things that just made me smile. Some days I didn’t feel like walking. When the weather was not very nice I would either be in my backyard or in my home setting up still lives.”

Jason Borbay


Jason Borbay (@borbay) self-represented artist, originally from Long Island, NY. Borbay creates visually arresting paintings of world-renowned neon signs, and deep textural collage-painting portraits.

“I kicked-off this 60 x 60 in. painting of Radio City Music Hall in January… it was completed in an entirely different world. When COVID-19 struck, my children were removed from school and my Wife had to close her acupuncture practice. But as most artist’s can relate — very little changed in my day-to-day. Painting as a career is essentially a self-inflicted quarantine. The biggest change? I began live-streaming from the studio, daily. With everyone stranded and cooped-up — suddenly, watching ‘paint dry’ became interesting. It took a global pandemic to truly share my world…”

Natalie Featherston

Natalie Featherston (@nfeatherston_fine_art) Natalie Featherston is an established contemporary realist painter specializing in trompe l’oeil. She is represented by fine art galleries across the country, and her paintings have won awards from many distinguished art organizations.

Featherston created “Nesting Instinct” right as the stay at home orders went into effect. The work is oil on three dimensional panel, 10 x 8 x 2 in. She has shot it in the round as one would do with a sculpture to show the sides and depth of the piece.

Win Zibeon

Win Zibeon (@winzibeon) Win Zibeon is known for trompe l’oeil surrealistic Anti-Landscapes most of them inspired by climate change. An award-winning artist, his work has been exhibited in New York City, the Hudson Valley, the Hamptons, and in galleries in New Jersey (including The John F. Peto Studio Museum), Connecticut and more. Zibeon lives and works in Rockland County, New York. More of his art can be seen at www.winzibeon.com

Zibeon created “Covid-19 #1,” a self-portrait, and “Extinct,” a shaped painting, both inspired by the terrifying worldwide pandemic.

Russell Case

𝐑𝐮𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐀. 𝐂𝐚𝐬𝐞 (@racdesignstudio) is a trompe l’oeil painter incorporating multiple visual languages at one time in one image to tell a story about “now” very much in the tradition of American trompe l’oeil painting. View more of Case’s work at www.russellalticecase.me

Mel Ahlborn

𝐌𝐞𝐥 𝐀𝐡𝐥𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐧 (@melahlborn) is an American artist whose artistic expression draws upon cultural symbolism with historically complex commonalities. See more of Ahlborn’s work at melahlborn.com

“Like ‘Addiction Madonna’ and my other Madonna paintings, this piece offers prayers, consolation, and hope for anyone who is caught in the destructive chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Elissa Arbeitman

𝐄𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐚 𝐀𝐫𝐛𝐞𝐢𝐭𝐦𝐚𝐧 (@wildandfreepainting) earned a BFA in Graphic Design from The University of Michigan, holds a Masters degree in Art Therapy from New York University, is a Registered, Board-Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC) by the Art Therapy Credentials Board and a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT) by the state of New York. Elissa facilitates self-care and personal growth groups and workshops through process painting at Wild and Free Painting and also offers individual art therapy sessions for children, teens and women to help support them on their creative life journey (online and in person). For more information: www.wildandfreepainting.com

“Five days after my children’s school was closed, my husband’s business closed, my therapy practice closed and we were in lockdown. I responded by creating, ‘Order From Chaos’.”

Russ Roe

Roe (@RussRoe) is a Jersey Shore-based boardwalk photographer and director with a love for grain, film burns, and disposable cameras.

Julie Angela Theresa

Julie (@Julie.A.Theresa), an oil painter and art teacher, who earned her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2010, regularly exhibits in both local shows in Massachusetts and around the country and has work in numerous public and private collections, including the Boston Public Library, the University of Massachusetts, Boston and the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center.⁣

Kristen Kraa

Most recently, Kristen Kraa exhibited artwork in the Zimmerli Art Museum, the Morven Museum, the John F Peto Studio Museum, the 2020 AENJ Member Exhibition: “The Digital Version,” and the upcoming Montserrat College art galleries, “2020 Inspired Views” online exhibition.

“Growing up I was an avid collector of comic books, some of which now appear in my paintings. My painting titled, ‘Disturbing’ features ‘Goofy’ as an action hero who appears limited and distressed. This reflects my response to living with Covid-19.”

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