Clerestory Fine Art, a 1450-square-foot gallery renovated as a museum-quality exhibition venue, celebrated its grand opening on Thursday, May 2.

Its inaugural exhibition, “Flesh and Petals,” features large-scale oil paintings of nudes and flowers by Montclair artist Brian Stymest. The exhibition runs through Friday, June 14.

Born in London, England, in 1934, he remains influenced by early memories of the city’s destruction “by flying bombs and inter-continental rockets” during World War II.

Clerstory Fine Art writes,

"After his career as a creative director for McCann-Erickson, Stymest began producing a prolific amount of oil paintings. Imagined almost entirely from memory, his paintings relay an acute understanding of proportion and light. He maintains a somewhat realistic style, while playfully adding abstraction, often highlighting figures by situating them in planes of color and suggested space. His paintings show the power of draftsmanship, as they are rendered in light washes allowing the underdrawing to show through. Loose architectural suggestions play on his respect fellow British painter Francis Bacon, whom Stymest knew."




The artist trained at the Camberwell School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London, studying with artists such as Euan Uglow and David Hockney.

Clerstory Fine Art Director Kathryn Waggener McGuire is a painter, art historian, museum educator and host of the Montclair Figure Drawing Group. She moved to Montclair, New Jersey after working with special exhibitions in the education department of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and completing her master’s degree in Museum Education and Historical Research at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Most recently, Kathryn served as Co-Director of Studio Montclair Inc’s “Incubator for Emerging Artists.” While conducting studio tours and meeting artists in northern New Jersey, she was astounded at the amount of high-quality artists with large collections of artwork, stunted by a lack of scholarly, for-profit exhibition venues or gallery opportunities, thus inspiring her to open Clerestory Fine Art.

Gallery hour are Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Saturday 12–5 p.m., and by appointment.

Clerestory Fine Art is at 40 Church St. For more information, visit