News Column

'Serendipity' brings artistic couple to Rocky Neck

June 12, 2014

By Gail McCarthy, Gloucester Daily Times, Mass.

June 12--A Rocky Neck Summer Artist Series show titled "Serendipity" opens this weekend, featuring a husband and wife team who recently relocated to Rockport from the midwest, and who were welcomed into the historic artist colony.

The show is now on display at the Rocky Neck Gallery Artist Collective at 53 Rocky Neck Ave. in Gloucester, and the public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The artists, Matt Cegelis and Ruth Schneider, will give a brief talk at the reception about the serendipitous process of merging multiple images in creating one-of-a-kind abstractions.

Cegelis and Schneider were selected for the second 2014 exhibition in the art colony's Summer Artists Series to show their abstract mixed-media prints through July 2.

The couple moved to Cape Ann a year ago from Dayton, Ohio, and have already made an impact on Cape Ann's artistic community.

They have both exhibited work in two shows this year at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center Gallery, through "Here & Now," a juried member's show, and "the curated Pixel Revolution" digital painting exhibition.

In July, they will be part of the Cultural Center Gallery's show, "A Fine Line," juried by Al Minor, the assistant curator of contemporary art at the Museum Fine Art, Boston.

Both are members of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, in which Cegelis was recently elected vice president. Last fall, Schneider was juried into the Rockport Art Association photography division.

Judy Robinson-Cox, a photographer and longtime member of the art colony, said she was impressed at how quickly Matt and Ruth integrated themselves into the local art scene.

"I met them a year ago at Trident Gallery where they told me they had just moved to Rockport from Ohio. Now I see their names and work in so many shows. It's hard to believe they are newcomers," she said. "In addition to being a husband and wife photography couple -- like me and my husband Tom -- some of the ways they work are similar to how I make photographic montages and abstract images. I look forward to getting to know them better."

Schneider's interest in photography began during college in the 1970s, when she was majoring in art and design. She had a darkroom for 15 years, and did freelance work for various magazines and publications. Portraiture and landscapes were her main focus.

While raising their two children, she rarely used a camera except to document their family life and travels. Then she began using digital cameras, and discovered how to "play around" with her images, using free software on her computer.

"Since then she has been merging her photographs with old, unfinished paintings. She goes through her photo files choosing which images would work with either a painting or texture, which she photographs separately, or another photograph," according to a show press statement.

Cegelis' work is focused on a combination of abstract photography and digital mixed-media images, which include paintings and images he creates on his iPad and with his camera.

"It typically takes many trial and error combinations to build the foundation of an image that I like," he said. "Dead ends, where nothing good comes after much effort, are not uncommon. On the other hand, knowing when to stop 'improving' when a compelling image is achieved is a constant challenge as well."

When Celegis left his management position at LexisNexis three years ago in Ohio, he led their artistic charge.

"After moving here, he jumped right into the art scene, volunteering and submitting work to the various galleries," said his wife, Schneider. "It has been a heck of a ride, and we're thankful that the local art venues have accepted our work."

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-675-2706, or via email at


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Source: Gloucester Daily Times (MA)

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