Join us for a free reception from 6 to 8 PM on Saturday, Oct. 28 celebrating the opening of two new solo exhibitions at ArtYard. Kendall Buster: What Blooms and Lucia Monge: While a Leaf Breathes (Mientras una Hoja Respira) submerge visitors in the artists’ distinctive dreamlike visions of a future where balance with nature is restored.

Also opening is You Come to Life, the second ArtYard and Studio Route 29 collaborative exhibition. It features works by artists BJ Armour and Ricky Bearghost, who are supported by progressive studios Studio Route 29 in Frenchtown and Elbow Room in Portland.

Kendall Buster: What Blooms (Oct. 28, 2023 to Jan. 21, 2024)

What Blooms is a solo exhibition of Buster’s work comprised of two new sculptural installations and an ongoing drawing project reflecting the artist’s interest in the merging of organic forms with speculative built spaces. Operating as scale models for imaginary buildings and a cataloguing of curious specimens, these works are informed at once by dreamt places and biological morphologies. A suspended sculpture at the center of the gallery offers a biomorphic “floating city organism” with accessible human-scale chambers. A second more fortress-like form made with graphite-surfaced paper evokes mazes, honeycombs, towers, and botanical growth. A grid of 50 digital prints — scans from graphite on mylar drawings — also propose imagined spaces. The prints are part of the artist’s ongoing drawing project, an ever-expanding study journal and inventory for a biological architecture. Curated by ArtYard Artistic Director Elsa Mora, What Blooms is on view through Jan. 21, 2024.

Coinciding with the opening is an artist talk, at 2 PM on Sunday, Oct. 29, with friends and fellow artists Kendall Buster, Ledelle Moe, and Siemon Allen. The trio will delve into their creative processes and collaborations spanning South Africa and the United States. Following the talk, which begins at ArtYard’s McDonnell Theater, Buster and Moe will lead a tour of What Blooms and Monuments. The five large-scale outdoor works Monuments comprises were created by Moe, a South African-based artist. This is Moe’s first visit to Frenchtown since the installation of the works were completed in fall 2021.

Lucia Monge: While a Leaf Breathes (Mientras una Hoja Respira) (Oct. 28, 2023 to Jan. 28, 2024)

While a Leaf Breathes (Mientras una Hoja Respira) is a solo exhibition about plant respiration by Monge, whose work explores the ways humans position ourselves within the natural world and relate to other living beings, especially plants. The exhibition explores life cycles and material transformations happening both on the duration of an exhale and on the kind of timescales that measure soil growth. Stomata, the pores through which plants breathe, take center stage as portals through which not only gasses are exchanged, but also through which life, loss, and vulnerability are negotiated. The works are composed of materials created in collaboration with other species such as fungi, algae, bacteria, and plants, along with biodegradable glues, dyes, and stitches that bind the work together. Curated by Elsa Mora, While a Leaf Breathes (Mientras una Hoja Respira) is on view through Jan. 28, 2024.

A gallery talk with Monge is at 11 AM on Sunday, Oct. 29. During the talk, Monge will guide visitors on a walk through the first-floor River Gallery as she provides insights into the works she created for While a Leaf Breathes (Mientras una Hoja Respira).

BJ Armour and Ricky Bearghost: You Come to Life (Oct. 28, 2023 to Jan. 28, 2024)

You Come To Life brings to ArtYard two artists whose works give form to stories and histories of places remembered, imagined, and dreamt. Armour is an artist, musician, and performer from Lambertville. In rhythm with the spell-like rapture of his dreaming, Armour’s drawings and paintings bring into this world lovingly entangled visions of another world, in which pop culture heroes, loved ones living and no longer, alter-egos, and his own powers to move through time offer companionship, love, affirmation, and agency. Bearghost lives in Portland and is a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes — the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. In his woven work, Bearghost gathers together objects that refer to places and people of importance to his life. Curated by Studio Route 29, You Come to Life is on view through Jan. 28, 2024.

Registration for the opening on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 6 to 8 PM and the two artist talks on Sunday, Oct. 29 — with Lucia Monge at 11 AM and Kendall Buster, Ledelle Moe, and Siemon Allen at 2 PM — are requested.

ArtYard is located at 13 Front St., Frenchtown, NJ, 08825. Free public hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 AM to 5 PM and late night Thursdays until 7 PM.