One River Gallery’s 2013 Exhibits: Good For The Mind, Body, and Spirit

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Matt Ross, owner of One River Gallery in Englewood, NJ, plans to share the wellness benefits of the visual arts with his visitors throughout the year beginning with "Word," his first show of 2013.

Our systems are hard wired to respond to works of art, and the benefits of artistic interactions go much deeper than simply pleasing our eyes and ears.

Matt Ross is an art lover, a New Jersey art gallery owner, and a strong believer in the improved well-being that exposure to the visual arts can bring.

“I always knew that arts made me feel good, but I never thought about the physical reasons behind my reactions,” says Ross. “It turns out that our systems are hard wired to respond to works of art, and the benefits of artistic interactions go much deeper than simply pleasing our eyes and ears.”

Ross is about to launch “Word”, his third exhibition at One River Gallery. “Word” will feature the work of two Brooklyn-based artists, Erik den Breejen and Jim Torok, both of whom utilize text to as a primary tool in their works. The show will open on January 11, 2013 and run through February 24.

“There are currently an amazing number of contemporary artists who are infusing written language into their creations,” says Ross. “The result is art that can drive a powerful response through the words that are used as well as the imagery that surrounds them. This dual stimulation will inspire enthusiastic analysis, energized ideas, and passionate conversation among our gallery visitors – which is exactly the kind of total body response that great art brings.”

Ross’ personal journey into the arts began when he was a teen. He would obsessively listen to all genres of music for hours on end. As an adult, he continued his passion for music as a senior executive at radio stations across America and as the CEO of School of Rock, the world leader in music education programs for kids.

“While at School of Rock, I discovered the book Your Brain On Music, by Daniel Levitin, which describes the brain’s biochemical response to music,” Ross says. “Dr. Levitin, a neuroscientist, says that listening to music stimulates more areas of the brain than almost anything else, and has a profound impact on our emotions.”

Ross learned that a similar phenomenon occurs in the brain through the consumption of visual art. Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist and Columbia University professor Eric Kandel highlights this in his book The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present. Kandel examines the intersections of psychology, neuroscience, and art, and explains how our brains perceive and engage art—and are consequently moved by it.

Eric Jensen, a neuroscience researcher and author of the book Arts With The Brain In Mind, also wrote about the beneficial physical effects that take place when art is experienced. Jensen found that the visual arts have strong cognitive, emotional, social, collaborative, and neurological effects. He notes that teachers whose students receive regular visual arts instruction report stronger academic skills, including increased retention, higher levels of confidence, and more highly developed independent thinking abilities.

Ross’ personal passion about the arts inspired him to create One River Gallery, which features the works of important emerging and mid-career contemporary artists, and One River School of Art and Design, which educates students of all ages who wish to develop their artistic skills - both of which are located in Englewood, NJ.

“When I see art that I like, I feel it in my body, as if it enters through my eyes, swirls around my head and redistributes itself in my gut,” explains Ross. “It's this literal, physical feeling that allows me to decide what to buy for my personal collection and what to present at One River Gallery.”

Ross strives to not only share the visual arts with collectors and to educate students, he also wishes to spread the proven mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits that the visual arts have on those who experience and create them.

“I’ve derived great joy from the visual arts,” Ross adds, “and I’m grateful for the opportunity to bring this powerful sensation to those who wish to experience exhibits like 'Word' that are innovative, inspiring, and invigorating."

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