The Art of Intuition: Yolanda Navarra Fleming

Testify • 16” x 20” • Acrylic

Nineteenth-century French Impressionist artist Berthe Morisot created many portraits of her daughter, Julie Manet, 1878-1966. Julie was a painter, photographer, poet, model, and art collector. She also wrote about her mother in her diaries and belles-lettres. Similarly, my daughter, Yolanda Navarra Fleming, and I are painters, photographers, and writers who’ve inspired each other for decades, so the executives of Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Elizabeth, requested I feature Yolanda’s art in my column, Art Scene. For me, a longtime art critic for various publications, this assignment was at first intimidating. How to write about my daughter with the same mindset as I did for a multitude of other artists? Eventually, I realized a unique opportunity that would be an extraordinary pleasure.

Night Sea Crossing • 2021 • 12” x 36” • Acrylic on framed wood Crayon People • 2023 8” x

The Undoing • 2023 • 12” x 36” • Acrylic on canvas

Crayon People • 2023 8” x 10” • Mixed-media on canvas board

Valentine’s Day • 2022 20” x 20” • Mixed-media collage on canvas

Downtown Lemontree • 2022 18” x 24” • Acrylic on canvas

Inside the Beat • 2022 12” x 12” • Acrylic on canvas

Hidden Treasure • 2021 24” x 18” • Acrylic on canvas

The Itch of a Life Beyond • 2022 22” x 33” • Acrylic on framed canvas Winner of the Miguel Figueras Memorial Award for Fanciful Painting in the October 2022 Juried Show at the Guild of Creative Art, Shrewsbury, NJ

Poder de la flor • 2023 • 29” x 39” • Mixed-media collage on framed canvas


About the Artist

Fleming is an exhibiting member of the Guild of Creative Art in Shrewsbury and The Art Alliance of Monmouth County in Red Bank. Her third solo show of 2023 will hang at Middletown Public Library in New Monmouth, NJ in August. Visit to see more work.


The director of marketing/public relations at Trinitas, Fleming, 54, is an Abstract Expressionist painter of Highlands, NJ, who claims she grew up on canvas—”home-schooled” by influence of the world. She creates complex, fiery and cool pieces the likes of artists Lee Krasner, Wassily Kandinsky, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, and others. “I think painting is the most honest thing I do,” Fleming says. “All my work is about making the unconscious conscious. I intuit every color, stroke, and nuance, and I keep working until I recognize a complete thought, a story, or a revelation.” With awards and solo and group exhibitions under her belt, Fleming churns out works brandishing saturated, layered colors that remind one of alluring cocktails—cool-sea sapphire gin, candy-colored Pink Lady, maple-leaf-toned Campari and combinations thereof. Undulating color planes often injected with black sharp angles, bits of sheet music, or human eyes emerge from her canvases, making viewers’ senses and souls effervesce. Godspeed, daughter.

—Tova Navarra


Judging a Magazine by Its Cover: Ed Gabel

Through years of strife, controversy and world-shaking events, artist and illustrator Norman Rockwell benevolently depicted the core of average American life and the American dream. Starting in 1916, the covers he made for The Saturday Evening Post and other publications created an important chronological history of American homespun sensibility. Ed Gabel’s drawings and paintings, many on the covers of Time and several other magazines, do a similar job but with a more editorial point of view of national and global issues. Nothing average, nothing soft or nostalgic. Gabel tackles current events with a keen eye for the ironic. He juxtaposes and blends unlikely images to accompany a magazine’s cover story. Gabel spotlights thorny issues with astounding, opinionated realism. He astutely represents the illustration evolution—from Rockwell’s tender, moving and often amusing observations to Gabel’s punch of emotionally and critically charged issues painted with a most determined brush.

Time USA

Time USA

Time USA

Time USA

Time USA










Time USA

Time USA

Time USA

Time USA

Time USA










About the Artist

Ed Gabel has more than 25 years’ experience in the publishing industry and specializes in illustration and animation. Born in 1964 in Ohio and a graduate of Miami University (Oxford, OH), he began his career as an artist for newspapers, including the Asbury Park Press and the Toledo Blade, which led to a position at TIME magazine where he worked for nine years. He currently co-owns a design studio, Brobel Design, located in Westfield. “I was influenced early on by newspaper comic strips and the drawing style of MAD magazine. In the 1990s, I began to focus on 3D computer illustration inspired by the groundbreaking style of Pixar Studios,” says Gabel. His illustrations have appeared on the covers of TIME, Newsweek, and Rolling Stone, among others. He has also created artwork used by Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, DC Comics, and ESPN. He lives in Cranford and spends his free time riding throughout the northeast on his Harley Davidson.

Pledges for Universal Peace: Julia Rivera

Artists often create works reflecting their strong objections to profoundly troubling world events. Iconic case in point: Picasso’s Guernica, painted in 1937, blatantly revealed his anger and sorrow for Hitler’s unprovoked bombing that destroyed the politically inconsequential town of Guernica in Spain. Today, much artwork speaks to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the rejection of Roe v. Wade by many states, and the storming of the Capitol building on January 6th. Art can be powerful enough to move viewers’ concepts of the destruction perpetrated by people about whom Jesus reportedly said, “They know not what they do.” The art of Julia Rivera offers her viewers an intellectual and undeniable plea for the bad to stop trying to ruin the good.

We The People • 40” x 36” • Mixed Media

Be The Exception • 40” x 36” • Mixed Media











Our Breathing Is A Fragile Vessel 24” diameter • Mixed Media on Wood

Just Breathe • 24” diameter • Mixed Media on Wood











Green Country • 28” x 18” • Mixed Media on Canvas

Defeated on Principle • 24” x 18” • Mixed Media on Canvas











Don’t Tell People Your Plans 36” x 40” • Mixed Media on Canvas

Always Make Them Wonder 20” x 30” • Oil on Canvas











Basquiat • 11” x 10” • Oil on Canvas

It Is Not Our Difference 41” x 22” • Mixed Media on Wood











About the Artist

Born a Puerto Rican in the Bronx in 1965 and now a resident of Freehold, Julia Rivera says, “I have become a political artist… Our democracy is designed to speak the truth.” Through her staunch desire to portray endangered people, particularly women and children, Rivera’s heady message is balance, peace, and survival. Also an art restorer, she attended Escuela de Artes Plasticas in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Studio Arts College International in Florence, Italy, where she earned a master’s degree in 17th-century painting and restoration. One of her recent solo exhibitions, titled Intersectional, was featured at the DETOUR Gallery in Red Bank. Her paintings and sculptures are in numerous permanent collections, including in the United States, China, France, and Puerto Rico. Piece by piece, Rivera’s exceptionally riveting works inspire and combine beauty, perspective, and hope for important change.

—Tova Navarra


When the Art Goes Post Pop

Paul Bennett Hirsch’s Cultural Commentary

Pissarro, Monet, Cassatt and Degas are a few impressionist artists who rebelled against 19th-century academic art. In post-World War ll into the 1950s, Abstract Expressionism à la Pollock and de Kooning was sideswiped by Pop, or popular, art, with its mainstream images. Think, for example, Warhol’s soup cans, Lichtenstein’s comic-strip paintings, George Segal’s plaster-wrapped human figures. Thereafter, from the mid-1950s into the late ’70s and early ’80s, Pop art took hold. Think Keith Haring, and now Paul Bennett Hirsch, both of whom studied at The School of Visual Arts, NYC. Hirsch also holds a degree in fine arts and graphic design. Be of hyper vision when you see Hirsch’s works, bold and subtle, keenly observant, unique in language and energy, akin to the intricacy of the way a neurosurgeon navigates a brain.

Untitled (Scissor) (1989) 48” x 48” Acrylic Denim on Canvas Paul Bennett Hirsch #PBH

Untitled (Dictionary) • (1989) 74” x 45” Multipage laser enlargement, Paper, Acrylic, Canvas Paul Bennett Hirsch #PBH

Untitled (couple seahorse compass) (1991) 48” x 48” Acrylic on masonite Paul Bennett Hirsch #PBH

Factory Workers • (1992) 40” X 30” Ink, Uni Ball Metallic Paint on Board Paul Bennett Hirsch #PBH

Untitled (House Car Saw Phone) • (1991) 44” x 22 1/2” Lithograph printed 5 colors, Somerset textured white 300g. in an edition of 22, Rutgers University Press Center for Innovative Print Making. Paul Bennett Hirsch #PBH

Untitled (2000 Bomb Roche Pre 9-11 / Diary Premonition) (1990) 7’x5′ Multipage Laser Enlargement, Paper, Acrylic, Canvas Paul Bennett Hirsch #PBH

Untitled (There’s A Sister At The Supper) (1992) 48” x 48” Acrylic Krylon on Canvas Paul Bennett Hirsch #PBH

Untitled (Fertilization) • (1989) 70 x 50” mixed media painting on canvas Paul Bennett Hirsch #PBH


A long time New Jersey resident who now lives across the country in Washington, Pop artist Paul Bennett Hirsch knows that any and all styles of art can co-exist. Hirsch has created a huge, impressive body of work. “I began as a photo realist,” he says, “then I morphed into a neo-expressionist. Now I’ve embraced the moniker of creative survivalist.” His art includes works on canvas and paper, objects, plates, screens, steel sculptures, cones (of knowledge), clothing and textiles, flora and fauna, plastic proto paintings, and many more mediums…one might say “Picasso-esque,” for his art appears on just about anything but a fish skeleton. In addition to Hirsch’s museum exhibitions and corporate collections, he is working on a 2023 solo exhibition at the prestigious Ryan James Fine Arts gallery in Kirkland, WA. Search every inch of his work for the many-splendored symbols, letters, words and numbers within his dominant images at or check out his Facebook page (paul.b.hirsch).

—Tova Navarra

Willie Cole: Object Lesson


From Ordinary to Extraordinary

With a bicycle seat and handlebars left on the side of a road, Picasso created “Head of a Bull,” famous icon of the artform Objets Trouvés—found objects. French-American artist Marcel Duchamp took a urinal, titled it “Fountain,” signed it, eh voilà!, another well-known icon of trouvé art. Ubiquitous things, such as shoes and plastic bottles, caught the poetic vision of artist Willie Cole. Put his two-dimensional works in the mix and observe the art made with a steam iron. And herein learn even more about the phenomenon called Artistic Seeing.


Portrait from the Heels Over Head series

Portrait from the Heels Over Head series


About the Artist

Born in 1955 in Somerville, Willie Cole, now living in the Morris County town of Mine Hill, NJ, infuses dynamism in ordinary objects built as African and other modern references. His sculptures, paintings and prints have been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art and many other venues. A sculpture is in the Afrofuturist Period Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His large-scale sculptures will be installed in the Kansas City International Airport in 2023. “My show at the Met’s Mezzanine gallery,” says Cole, “focuses on my print work with the steam iron. It’s a small show but a welcomed one.” Of course, you’ll never look at steam irons, plastic bottles, or shoes the same way again.

—Tova Navarra

Villo Varga: Messages from the Heart

A change of environment can transform the world of a master painter, photographer and art conservator. Villo Varga revealed her penchant for messages all over New York City. Born in Budapest, Hungary she defected in 1983, having garnered hefty experience, studying with Professor Erno Fischer at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Museum Restorers’ Methodology Center, working as conservator of the Hungarian National Gallery, and working as professional photographer. But in America, her artwork turned to ever-changing urban “messages” and images not to be lost forever.



Villo Varga, of Passaic, NJ, makes New York cityscapes that force one to look very closely to see they’re actually paintings. “I’ve been aiming to mirror my contemporary views,” says Villo, who has exhibited at the Salmagundi Club, the Allied Artists of America, and other prestigious venues. She says she’s “very much inspired” by the beat of metropolitan life’s “telltale signs.” Her awesome work brings to mind Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, but on canvas and in photographs. Who knew?
—Tova Navarra