If you're visiting Atlantic City and you have curiosity - if not passion - for art, you should definitely visit Holtzman Gallery, located inside the historic Claridge Hotel. Though it seems tiny from the outside, the gallery occupies three levels (all of them wheelchair accessible) and exhibits a great variety of art works, including, but not limited to paintings and sculptures.
As you walk inside, you're immediately captivated by portraits of famous people, recreated on canvas from photographs by the gallery's owner, David Holtzman. Bold colors the artist uses highlight the features of his subjects, among whom are Marylin Monroe, Muhammad Ali, Woody Allen and many others. There are two portraits of Marlon Brando, one in blue and one in pink. Though they're based on the same photograph, the use of different colors affects the impression each picture makes on the viewer.
Having enjoyed these unusual portraits, keep walking - you're in for even more treats! The gallery's art collection includes giclées (digital prints of art works made on inkjet printers), abstract paintings by an 8-year-old boy from India, framed portraits of famous people done in pencil on matchboxes, paintings on Biblical themes, realistic landscapes, a couple of paintings in the style of French impressionists, some interesting sculptures and even works by John Lennon. In other words, there's something for every taste. Moreover, you're likely to discover at Holtzman Gallery at least one type of art you've never seen before, or, if you are an art collector, a fascinating piece you would like to hang in your house or apartment.
For example, if you're into realism, you'll enjoy paintings by Marcos Monteiro. Among his pieces exhibited in the gallery are breathtaking seascapes and portraits of animals. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Monteiro gained first-hand knowledge of the ocean and its inhabitants through diving, fishing, snorkeling and studying marine biology. Bright colors, attention to detail and the portrayal of life precisely as we see it in real life attract the viewers to his paintings.
Another painter of realism exhibited by Holtzman Gallery is John Dzedzy, who was a student of Holtzman's when he began studying art. His oil-on-canvas portraits of Native Americans are based on personal research. Portraying his subjects, the artist aspires to stay true to Native American culture and history he has studied for years. Dzedzy also designs a unique frame for each of his paintings. The frames are grandiose and antique-looking and make the paintings resemble family portraits of rich landowners.
If, however, realism doesn't appeal to you, check out Jon Allen's works. By painting on metal, Allen takes abstractionism to another level. Described on the artist's bio page on the gallery's website as "a marriage of industrial technique and visual grace," his paintings look modern, colorful and mysterious at the same time. Allen's work has been exhibited in over 200 galleries all over the world and will definitely be one of the focal points of any personal collection.
Featuring a great number of artists who cannot leave the viewers indifferent, Holtzman Gallery also has Francis Mesaros Panctures. A combination of painting and sculpture, Mesaros's works are impossible to pass by, due to both their large size - they will surely occupy a large chunk of your wall - and the artist's unique technique. His abstract seascapes seem to be constructed of hundreds of painted seashells. In consequence, not only do we admire the final product, we are also amazed by the effort put into creating it.
In addition to paintings, the gallery also displays photographs, sculptures, and even guitars, lovingly painted with lacquer or shellac by Peter Cree. As we learn from this section of the exhibit, painting guitars is more difficult than it seems, since it can negatively affect the instrument's sound, and the process takes "an average of 100 hours per top." Thus, Cree's art also overlaps with science and brings together painting and music.
As you can imagine, the list of unique art works Holtzman Gallery has to offer can go on and on. Unexpectedly found in the East Coast's gambling capital, it is truly a gem for art lovers. If you consider yourself one, you should definitely check it out next time you're around Atlantic City. Visiting the gallery might just be the jackpot you've always wanted to hit! In the meantime, look at the gallery's website for the list of exhibited artists and examples of their artwork.