The Nilson Gallery is a 900 square foot space, featuring solo exhibitions from our New Jersey Emerging Artists Series, a unique and exciting program for NJ artists who have never had a one-person show of their work in our state. In addition to our Emerging Artists Series, the Nilson Gallery features community-based collaborative exhibitions and exhibits that highlight the talents of our artist members. While closed due to safety precautions, the Monmouth Museum has set up a Virtual Nilson Gallery to continue to support local artists and the community. 


Collective Identity

Kathleen Beausoleil 

August 20 - September 18, 2022

Gallery Opening Reception

Artist Statement 

Individuals like to think about themselves as conspicuously unique personalities. Take a closer look however and it’s pretty clear that we are deeply social animals, biologically programmed for social interaction and territorial tribal behavior. For people watchers and students of human conduct, recent social and political unrest combined with a dangerous global pandemic have posited serious questions about the long-term effects of isolation and lack of access to traditional social relationships. The pandemic with all its restrictions seems to have struck at a fragile time of unprecedented divisiveness and polarized politics that have complicated participation in our basic rights of citizenship, which include voting rights and civil rights along with our constitutional right to peaceful public assembly. Yet, the urge to express ourselves as socially oriented tribal animals persists. In spite of, or perhaps in reaction to all this extraordinary mayhem, Kathleen Beausoleil has been in her studio exploring silver linings of opportunity and reflecting on the various ways we gather to express our rights as citizens. She has been observing and learning about where we draw lines in the sand of our moral and ethical responsibilities to each other and to country. By documenting crucial moments of notable protest over the past several years, her works offer glimpses into some of the new ways we struggle to affect positive change. So, what are the long-term repercussions of pandemic isolation in what seems like an ever intensifying political, cultural, and racially polarized American landscape? How will it affect the ways we interact with one and other in the future? How will it impact our right to free speech and the way we exercise our right to peaceful assembly? In an attempt to reconcile the space between us, Beausoleil’s new works are visual meditations on these puzzles and challenge us to reflect on our own place in the answers to these questions.

In the artist’s own words, “It’s my experience, that as much as people need their privacy, they need other people feel accepted and fulfilled. They also need other people to project their grievances and rally around a common enemy. As social animals, we tend to find joy and meaning in the sense of belonging to something larger than ourselves. We are reassured and informed by the echoes of our personal scruples in the voice of our larger tribal identities.”