Art Display at the Dry Cleaners in Maplewood, NJ

from the Artsology series The Arts Adventurer

I was exploring Maplewood, NJ, and just walking the streets on a Sunday, when I noticed some unusual things in the front window of a dry cleaner's business on Baker Street. I didn't notice the name of the business on the day that I was there, but I believe it to be either "Maplewood Cleaners" or "Kim's Maplewood Cleaners," from what I can see online. At any rate, what caught my attention was all of the unusual objects positioned in the front window. It was like a mini art show, a public display of art works, since it was easily visible from the street, despite being closed for business on that particular Sunday.

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This is just part of the front window (see a pulled-back view below); the wood panel with the buttons making up a tree image seems like a logical art work for the owner of a dry cleaner and tailor shop to make ... I'm sure there's always extra buttons around for the tailoring work. The middle collage piece is fun too - lots of beads glued to the surface to make a nice abstract piece. But then there's the painting at right: I like the birch trees with the snow, dark night, and sliver of moon. The style makes me think of an Alex Katz painting. I'm not sure about the Asian figurines, I assume they're Chinese ...? If anyone has seen figures like this and has any info to share, please let me know.

art works on display in the front window of a dry cleaner in Maplewood, NJ

Here's a wider view of the front window of Maplewood Cleaners, below left, so you can get a better sense of the scale of these art works and how they're placed near the bottom of the front window. Below right is a close up of a blue abstract painting along with an unusual ceramic tray with raised shapes on it that are painted around the edges ... I can't say I've seen anything like this before, at first it seems like a vague reference to Egyptian hieroglyphics, but then again maybe it's just something abstract. I think the fact that it's confusing and strange makes me like it even more!

Maplewood Cleaners has art works on display in the front window of their store

two art works on view in the front window of Maplewood Cleaners in NJ

Below left are some more small Chinese (?) figures that look to be ceramic; compared to the various actions of the figures shown above, at least this group is a coherent collection of musicians, perhaps a Chinese marching band? And below right is my favorite piece in this front window display: a bold Egyptian eye motif, with three separate groupings of hieroglyphic characters below. I can't find what the red shape might be, other than my own guess of a setting sun, but the other pairs of hieroglyphics appear to represent feathers and snakes, according to charts I've found online.

small ceramic Chinese figures of musicians in a marching band, seen in Maplewood NJ

Egyptian Eye art work in the front window of Maplewood Cleaners in NJ

It's definitely an interesting mix of objects, art works, and cultures ... the combination of Chinese figures and Egyptian hieroglyphics is unusual and intriguing. Perhaps I'll have to visit again when they're open so I can go inside and ask about these art works.

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