Contact: John J. McGurk

Gallery Director

Mikhail Zakin Gallery

The Art School at Old Church



(DEMAREST, NJ)  The Mikhail Zakin Gallery at the Art School at Old Church is pleased to present Contemporary Puppetry: The Language Inside, an exhibition showcasing the artwork of local, national, and international artists working in the diverse field of puppetry.  The exhibition will run from July 26 – September 8, 2010.  The official opening, with live performances and video screenings will take place August 7th, from 2-4pm.  The show is wheelchair accessible and free to the public.

The story of puppetry is as old as human history.  Throughout its history the medium has acted as an important art form that uses the objects and symbols of the outside “real” world, to get at the roots of what lies inside us all.  Over many centuries, puppets have continued to engage the most important questions about the essence of human consciousness.  Magical, subversive, shamanistic, radical, and outrageous; these are just a couple of the words used when talking about the art of puppetry.  The Language Inside is intended to contribute a broad and contemporary perspective on this prolific and undeniably inspiring medium.

This exhibit has been created to introduce this amazing medium and explore a variety of techniques from cutting edge to traditional.  Intended as a broad survey, the exhibition includes artists from as far away as London, Canada, California, and New Orleans.  The exhibition is comprised of 14 artists or art groups with works ranging from traditional puppetry to LED puppets, shadow and felted puppets, dioramas, toy theatres, videos, and installation.


The exhibition will showcase work from felted puppet techniques of artist Robin McCahill to the highly experimental, technology oriented LED puppets from artist Laura Strausfeld.  The long and intimate tradition of shadow puppets will be represented by London artist Richard Mansfield and the Boston based art group the Elephant Tango Ensemble.  Using sculptural forms, artists Tine Kinderman and Serra Hirsch will be showing work based on toy theatres.  In the video medium, New Orleans’ based artists Miss Pussycat and Quintron bring to life the characters of Trixie and her mischievous cohorts.  Also using video, Los Angeles based artists Sandow Birk and Elyse Pignolet will display their amazingly detailed sets created for artist Sean Meredith’s full length film “Dante’s Inferno”, which will also be on view.  The simple, yet infinitely pleasing films of Canadian artist Jamie Shannon will be screened alongside his props and hilarious characters.


Performance based works will be represented by the ingenious NYC based team Wonderspark Puppets and by Philadelphia based artist Leslie Rogers, who stages miniature puppets shows in her mouth.  Artists Jason Leinwand and MiWha Lee will be showing a group of their puppets that use traditional masks and nearly life-sized bodies, respectively.  All put together in one space, the show will be an exemplary showcase of the diverse talent that can be found throughout the world of contemporary puppetry.


With this exhibition, the gallery makes a strong contribution to the rich history of puppetry while bringing further exposure to new and cutting edge techniques being used by puppet artists today.  The recent resurgence of interest in puppetry has helped create momentum for this exciting opportunity to exhibit works from emerging and established artists working in the field.

Artists included in the exhibition:  Sandow Birk & Elyse Pignolet (Long Beach, CA), Elephant Tango Ensemble (Boston, MA), Serra Hirsch (NY, NY), Tine Kindermann (NY, NY), MiWha Lee (Cresskill, NJ), Jason Leinwand (NY, NY), Richard Mansfield (London, UK), Robin McCahill (Thomaston, CT), Sean Meredith (Los Angeles, CA), Leslie Rogers (Philadelphia, PA), Jamie Shannon (Toronto, CA), Laura Strausfeld (NY, NY),  Miss Pussycat and Quintron (New Orleans, LA), Wonderspark Puppets (NY, NY).



The Art School at Old Church is a non-profit cultural that houses the Mikhail Zakin and Café Galleries.  The school and galleries provide community access to experiences in the arts.  The school offers over 90 art classes and workshops for adults, teens and children each semester as well as free gallery exhibitions.  The Art School’s programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from foundations, corporations, businesses and individuals.


561 Piermont Road

Demarest, NJ 07627



Gallery hours:

9:30 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday - Friday

9:30 AM - 12: 00 PM, Saturday

Call for weekday evening hours


Closed: May 29-31