About the Artists

 Mikel Frank  and  Gerard Amsellem 

mikelfrnk@gmail.com                   linguavision@gmail.com
Artists Mikel Frank and Gerard Amsellem met in 2010 at the grand opening of GAS Gallery and Studio in Maplewood, NJ. They decided to collaborate together soon after that chance meeting.  They established a bond as a result of an in depth philosophical discussion about death. Specifically, they were talking about the passing of loved ones. Gerard had lost his brother to cancer and Mikel had lost his father to the same horrible disease. During the course of their collaboration they have created many works but most notable is “The Passing.” This painting was their first large scale public “performance” painting, measuring 15 feet wide by 7.5 feet high. It was created in one day at Gas Gallery and Studio on April 23, 2011. The brand Visual Passion Duo came about after Gerard and Mikel created a multi-media, interactive art extravaganza in July 2012 at 1978 Maplewood Arts Center called Visual Passion: On Love. In 2013 The Visual Passion Duo was invited to exhibit at The Herb & Milly Iris Gallery at South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange, NJ. That same year Mikel and Gerard did a live painting demonstration in conjunction with the South Orange/Maplewood Artists Studio Tour at The Pierro Gallery, South Orange, NJ. In 2014-15 they were invited to exhibit and paint live at MICA:Then and Now, a two part exhibition, which made its debut at the Ethan Cohen Gallery in Chelsea and simultaneously at The KuBe in Beacon, NY. In 2015 Gerard and Mikel exhibited and performed with the ETHEL Quartet at The Noyes Museum of Art in Oceanville, NJ in conjunction with MICA: Then and Now, part 2. That same year The Visual Passion Duo were asked to be the featured artists at Maplewood Memorial Library for the Ideas Festival. In 2016 they were invited back to once again exhibit in Maplewood Memorial Library's Art Gallery. That same year they were asked to do a live performance piece at Maplewood's Gallery 1978 in conjunction with Off the Shelf: A Tribute to June Cater. 

Mikel Frank was born in Newark, NJ and holds a BFA Degree in general fine art from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and an MFA degree in painting from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. He has exhibited in shows and competitions throughout the country and his work is in many private collections. From 2002 to 2015 Mikel was the leader of an art critique group called The Contemporary Artists Forum. In 2015 Mikel was co-curator of MICA: Then and Now at The Noyes Museum of Art. In February 2005 he was a member of the installation crew for Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “Gates Project in Central Park, 1975-2005,” in New York City. Mikel served on the executive board of 1978 Maplewood Arts Center for 13 years and in 2015 had a brief stint as co-chair of the Maplewood Arts Council. In 2015 Mikel retired from The Metropolitan Museum of Art where he worked since 1985. He now lives in Charlotte, NC.

 Gerard Amsellem was born in Morocco and lived the first 25 years of his life in Paris, France then in 1982 moved to the U.S. Gerard has been painting for most of his life. He studied at the University of Paris where he earned his Masters Degree in French Literature and Art History. His work has been exhibited in Paris and locally at GAS Gallery and Studio, Maplewood, NJ and other notable galleries. He is also a filmmaker and in 2011 produced and directed a short film called, "Bartleby". He has created a successful film club called La Cinemateque, which meets at South Orange Performing Arts Center. He currently teaches French and World Film at Livingston High School in Livingston, NJ. 


About Visual Passion: On Love 

Visual Passion: On Love is a creative, multimedia, interactive, installation project that will be created and installed in July 2012 at 1978 Maplewood Arts Center in Maplewood, NJ.

We have been working on projects together for only 2 years but have discovered a shared vision. We are both deeply passionate about the arts and the visual arts in particular. With this project:

Visual Passion: On Love

We will delve into territory that begins to break down the traditional ways of looking at and experiencing art. Instead of going into the gallery and only looking at work on the walls, we have developed a different approach that will include installation, interactive community involvement, performance, video presentation and interviews as well as traditional live painting and two dimensional display.

Visual Passion: On Love

A Collaboration                                   

By Artists: Gerard Amsellem and Mikel Frank

Official Proposal/description:

Location: 1978 Maplewood Arts Center, 1978 Springfield Ave., Maplewood, NJ

Dates: Sunday, July 1 through Sunday July 29, 2012

Open Hours: The artists will be working each weekend in July. Open public hours will be Saturdays and Sundays 2pm to 5pm. T

he Visual Passion Experience will take place beginning Thursday July 26, 6pm to 9pm and run Friday, Saturday and Sunday July 29, 2012, 2pm to 9pm with a closing reception Sunday night beginning at 6pm.

Purpose: To create an organic, multimedia, interactive ART environment and experience exploring the topic of visual passion and love installed at 1978 Maplewood Arts Center, Maplewood, New Jersey during the month of July 2012.

The Project: “Visual Passion: On Love” will exhibit the light side of love and the dark side of love. In the front windows the artists will install two environments having to do with the light side and dark side of human interaction and love. On the middle walls of the gallery the artists will be working together on live collaborative painting projects throughout the month. In the rear of the gallery the artists will set up a stage in front of the left wall with a projection wall behind it where they will show films and interviews about love and passion. On the right rear side of the gallery an interactive painting station will be set up for visitors to paint on 12”x12” canvases their own visual interpretations of love. These paintings will be made into a mosaic and exhibited throughout the run of the show. There will also be a blackboard wall that the artists call “the writing on the wall” where visitors will have the opportunity to write or draw their personal interpretations on love.

The Visual Passion Experience: From Thursday evening, July 26 through Sunday July 29, 2012 the public is invited to have the complete visual passion experience. This will begin a four day, public interactive, multimedia art collaboration/narrative. It will be the culmination of and introduction to the world of love through the collaborative efforts and creative eyes of these two artists. The goal is to engage members of the public in a multimedia art reality quite different than the standard gallery going experience. There will be interactive elements such as real time video where the public can record comments, actors who will interact with the public, live performance pieces, musical and other artistic elements so that the visitor can be fully immersed in the Visual Passion Experience.

Films: In conjunction with the Visual Passion: On Love project the artists will be showing The Passion of Joan of Arc.  Composer and musician Richard Einhorn has given the artists permission to use his soundtrack Voices of Light with the screening of The Passion of Joan of Arc, a Carl Th. Dreyer film from 1928. Mr. Einhorn will be appearing to give insight into how the passion of Dreyer's vision inspired Richard's, Voices of Light.