Annual Alumni Exhibit – Kate Ambrose & Julia Newell

In this exhibition, alumni artists Kate Ambrose and Julia Newell prioritize the viewer’s emotional and sensory responses to their works. Both artists understand their works as vehicles of self-recognition, reflection, revelation, and remembrance.

In her exploration of abstract expressionism, Ambrose finds her ever-changing artistic approach calling forward the viewer’s subconscious. Attempting to tap into that unfiltered mindset, “evoking raw conversation,” Ambrose says, “is what [she] lives for.” Her work battles with spontaneity and intent, candidly coaxing us to self-examine with a childlike innocence.

Newell similarly places the viewer in control, offering works she says are “fuel[ed by] advocacy to help those who have suffered through mental illnesses.” Her organic forms express seemingly familiar narratives that invite viewers’ interaction. Newell understands painting, she says, as “simply a time to zone out and create.” Her works appear as moments to temporarily forget—or remember and reflect.

~ Nick Crouse, ‘19
Gallery Exhibition Research Assistant

“I’m in the Wrong Film” photography by Hans Gindlesberger

I’m in the Wrong Film is a consideration of our troubled relationship to the marginal places that exist in the national landscape. The title of the series is a colloquialism used to indicate a speaker’s disorientation in regard to physical surroundings that have taken on a disconcerting, fictitious quality. In this series of staged and performative photographs, the experience of individual dislocation the phrase describes is applied more broadly, in articulating the collective loss of identity that permeates the rural and post-industrial landscape of America.

Presented as a constellation of narrative fragments, each photograph manifests the shared psychology between a transient character and constructed environments suggestive of Middle America. The character, wandering with alternating senses of desire and reticent detachment amid his surroundings, is an extension of a place no longer able to sustain itself. The photographs present transitory moments, in which the agency of the character is called into question, arrested by the stillness of the photograph. His impotence and perpetual immobility mirror the circumstance of the small town, which, after being used politically, socially, and aesthetically in defining a national image and identity, is now marked by the stasis of economic decline. Whether by accepting and naturalizing their erasure or attempting to salvage viability through a nostalgic commodification of their past, these communities succumb to an estrangement from their own history and sense of themselves.

A corollary to this rupture can be found in the physical construction of the photographic tableau. The character’s performances are recorded in-studio and are later inserted into landscapes imagined out of multiple photographic fragments. Referencing the mechanics of the theater and silent film, wherein a décor foregrounds the actor’s performance, the composited backdrops provide a visual context for the performances while also establishing a physical and psychological separation. At times, these virtual stages reveal their artifice and begin to falter and collapse upon the character. This implicates not only the narrative content, but also the materiality of the photograph and fallibility of its construction as synchronous sources of the character’s sense of being “in the wrong film.”

The social narrative of the small town, the lack of agency in the character’s performance, and the faltering construction of the image compound upon one another in describing both the instinctive desire and the relative absurdity in attempting to recover a sense of belonging in a time of dislocation.

The Tobacco Project – Art & Social Change Lecture

Gallery Lecture
Thursday, September 28, 11am – 12pm.
Boland Hall Gallery, Saint Joseph’s University

Ryan Coffman, MPH, CHES, CTTS-M, Tobacco Policy and Control Program Manager for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health will come to Saint Joseph’s University to speak to students about “The Tobacco Project” and the Health Department’s initiatives to reduce tobacco addiction especially among Philadelphia youth.  He joins SJU art history professor, Dr. Emily Hage who will speak about art as a means for social change.

The lecture begins at 11am in Boland Hall.  Following the lecture, visitors can view the artwork in the gallery while enjoying a light lunch.  This event is free and open to the public.

“The Tobacco Project” on display in the Boland Hall gallery is a collaboration between Saint Joseph’s University, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Get Healthy Philly.

The tobacco used to create this art was illegally sold to undercover youth surveyors, who visited tobacco retailers and attempted to purchase tobacco.

The cigars, cigarettes, and “loosies” in these pieces were originally intended to recruit the next generation of smokers. We are using innovation and art as a tool for social change by repurposing products intended to cause harm and addiction. The art was created in Professor Ron Klein’s Art 147-Appropriated Art class by the following students:

Zachary Burns, Pablo Diaz, Danielle Dortic, Joseph Grevera, Alexis Hewish, Joshua Lascano, Sarah Mastrocola, Alana Paolella, Alejandro Seda, and  Michael Spinelli.

 

 

“The Tobacco Project”

A collaboration between Saint Joseph’s University, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Get Healthy Philly.

Through our partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Art Department at St. Joseph’s University, and Professor Ron Klein’s Appropriated Art course, we are transforming these products – initially intended for harm and deadly addiction – into works of art. Professor Klein’s students learn to manipulate everyday objects, using multiples and the technique of repetition to create something entirely new from something ordinary. In the past, they have worked with discarded books, q-tips, objects found in abundance at the dollar store, and now they are experimenting with tobacco products. They re-imagined these products, weaving them together in a visually compelling way, and created a series of wall-hangings that will draw in onlookers and surprise them as they come closer.

Art has the capacity to transform how we look at the world, how we interpret our environment, how we connect with others, and can be a powerful platform for spreading social justice messages. These pieces will provide a unique opportunity to address this life and death issue in our city, and an invaluable experience to join together the arts and public health.

 

Junior Art Majors

 

Participants:  Michaul Williams, Julian Smith, C. Sofia Naab, Hannah Kerkering, Eliana Actor-Engel

Michaul Williams – photography

Hannah Kerkering – photography

Julian Smith – ceramics

C. Sofia Naab – mosaics and photography

Eliana Actor-Engel – ceramics

Senior Art Thesis Exhibition

 

The senior art majors spent the past four years honing their artistic skills and finding ways to use their art to express their ideas formally to the world.  This exhibition is a culmination of their hard work, soul-searching, and artistic development during their time at Saint Joseph’s University.
Jesse Buxton, Krista Jaworski, Katherine Lord and Colin Mallee are exhibiting work that is varied not only in medium, but also in style and ideology.  These young artists deftly meld influences from personal struggles, life experiences, artistic research, and the work of a wide range of ancient to contemporary artists.

K A T H E R I N E     L O R D
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My work is a reflection of myself and experiences I have had throughout life. I take materials I find to be satisfying and work with them to create pieces. I enjoy the process of taking something that is "nothing" and making it in to something.  Typically I reflect on whatever thought has caught my attention, and transfer the thought to expression. This causes my work to be mostly abstract with a common theme of figurative undertones. The process of reflection and then translation in to creating is a very therapeutic process for me. In a way, you could say art is my own personal therapy. I take what I see, experience, and hear about and process it through creating and making work.

Common subjects of my work are things that have impacted my life severely, good and bad. I find strength in my family, and although a large portion of my work reflects traumatic experiences I have had in my life, there is always an undertone of strength. That strength being to overcome tragedy and find beauty in it. I find beauty in pain. There is a distinct moment when a person chooses how they will be effected by something that has hurt them. That moment is when one chooses to accept what had happened and how it will impact their lives. I have chosen to find beauty in pain in everything I have ever experienced. This could be from a lack of choice. You have to deal with what you are handed, and this must be how I do that. I try to share this beauty with others around me so they can find strength and solace in it as well. As people, we are comforted by another understanding us, it is in a moment of relation that we are able to feel cared for and find strength. I want to share my strength and experience with as many people as possible and I do that in my work. That doesn't mean I think my work will have that effect on everyone. I am successful if I am able to effect one person in a positive way. To make one person feel that they are not alone in their pain. My art is the way I choose to do this, and is the way I am capable of doing this.

J E S S E     B U X T O N
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My strong interest in history informs my work in ceramics. The shards left behind act as physical evidence of ancient cultures.  From pots left behind, we can learn how people used them for utilitarian purposes and also track aesthetic trends. I am interested in integrating features from historical vessels into a more contemporary context. My work is an expression of my experiences and taps into the material culture that has been created by those before me.

My contemporary influences include Carl Cunningham-Cole, Svend Bayer, and Ben Carter in his podcast Tales of a Red Clay Rambler, which introduced me to the close-knit clay community. As far as material culture from the antiquity, Greek and Roman pots have particularly held my interest.  These pots have also impacted the forms that I create to a great extent.  Specifically, the ancient Pithos, or storage jars associated with Greece from the Bronze and Iron ages that held food and store liquids are an exceptional display of technical achievement and necessary function.  These massive forms make the audience wonder what is contained within and marvel at the sheer volume of the jars.

My process for making includes creating composite vessels, or vessels made up of many building blocks.  This is done by using the wheel as a tool to create inventive features for traditional parts of a vessel.  I am also experimenting with the Onggi method of throwing coils, allowing me to make larger work and presenting an intense technical challenge. These methods allow one to play with proportions and experiment with ancient Greek proportionate ideals.  I aim to bring my own creative take on traditional notions of beauty and proportions. I strive to master the technical ability and blend historical references with my own artistic voice.

C O L I N    M A L L E E
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I found out I was good at art in my freshman year of high school. At the time I was very religious and I remember recalling a bible passage that went something along the lines of, “Whatever you are, strive to be the best at it.” Nowadays, I look at my art from a slightly different kind of view. Striving to be the best I can be, my work is now more personal. By that, I mean to say, my art is an inside joke with myself.

I like comic books both of the western and eastern variety. Much of the inspiration for my work and style comes from things like cartoons and anime.  Stories of heroes drawn with thick outlines that seem to pop right off the page have always interested me. When making my art I like to incorporate many of the techniques involved in making comics and graphic novels such as line weight variation, strong, confident mark making, and dynamic angles.

Comic book artists and graphic novelists like Jim Lee, Alan Moore, and Frank Miller are some of my biggest inspirations.  I admire their unique takes on the use of line and line weight variation as well as their employment of various shading techniques.  I’ve also drawn some inspiration from more traditional artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Kehinde Wiley.  Their particular use of vivid colors and attention to the human figure is what inspires me most about their work. The inspiration to add three dimensional elements to some of my pieces came both from a curiosity in expanding on what I could do on a canvas as well as a desire to blend my love for painting and drawing.

I’m not a political person and neither is my work. I make what I know and what I know best is what makes me happy. As an actor, especially in an ensemble performance, the most important rule is if you don’t look like you are enjoying yourself the audience won’t either. In this way, I hope my work shows how much care and delight goes into each piece. I’ll keep the punch line of my inside joke between me and my art, but I hope those who view my art will still smile along with us.

K R I S T A    J A W O R S K I
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Social media is admittedly a very large part of our lives. Our virtual worlds and reality are one and the same, yet the way people behave online and in real life are very different. I am fascinated by the way people have developed their lives alongside social media, and what it means in our society today. In everyone’s bubble of virtual media people are obsessed with creating a better image of themselves online and gaining arbitrary instant gratification. We’re often bombarded with this media, and sometimes peek into the real lives’ excessive thoughts and anxiety behind posting these forgetful images. It doesn’t matter.

In this show, I aim to bring these ideas to life with multiplicity of the most recognizable image: our own faces and digital icons. I’ve personified characteristics of social media and those who use it in my imagery.

I’ve mainly used a combination of acrylic paint, paint markers, and acetate layering. I wanted to replicate the feeling of my sharpie sketches, and transfer it to a different medium, so using the paint makers on canvas accomplished that.

“Identity” Paintings by Art Minor

Emily Hopkins, ’17
Emily Hopkins is a senior at Saint Joseph’s University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Art.
With bold and vibrant color, the work of Emily Hopkins is exceptionally personal – a sort of doorway granting viewers permission to experience a sense of peace that Hopkins herself experiences while undergoing the process of creating a piece. Creating with raw emotion, Hopkins paints with unrestricted expression through the use of color. Her manipulation of color exudes different emotions that Hopkins hopes her audience can experience as well. Hopkins’s work is a genuine expression of her own thoughts and feelings, raw and unrestricted. The subject matter of particular pieces are realistic and comprehensible in form but portrayed with passionate and suggestive color affinitive with Hopkins’s own choice. The work of Emily Hopkins is organic, naturalistic, saturated with color, and most importantly, an innate representation of the artist herself.

Jesuit Spirit in the Arts 40th anniversary exhibition

Celebrating Fine Art and Dedication: SJU Gallery Features “Jesuit Spirit in the Arts” 40th Anniversary Exhibit

by Elizabeth Krotulis ’17

PHILADELPHIA (October 17, 2016) — Saint Joseph’s University Gallery will showcase the artwork of a dozen Jesuit priests to celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Jesuit Spirit in the Arts,” from Monday, November 7, 2016 through Friday, February 10, 2017. The exhibition features paintings, drawings, photography, and mixed media pieces inspired by faith and spirituality.

In 1976, the first “Jesuit Spirit in the Arts” exhibit at Saint Joseph’s was curated by Dennis McNally, S.J., professor of art, to gather the artwork of Jesuits and others involved in fine arts at Jesuit colleges and universities across the world. A 10th anniversary celebration took place in 1986 which showcased art from Jesuit institutions nationwide.

This year, the 12 Jesuits contributing to the exhibit will display three pieces of original artwork. Mediums span from figurative watercolors to assemblages made from found objects by the featured artists: Arturo Araujo, S.J.; Sammy Chong, S.J.; Don Doll, S.J.; Michael Flecky, S.J.; Eugene Geinzer, S.J.; Oscar Magnan, S.J.; Dennis McNally, S.J.; Trung Pham, S.J.; Nicholas Rashford, S.J.; Brad Reynolds, S.J.; Michael Tunney, S.J.; and Josef Venker, S.J.

“The phrase attributed to the Jesuit order and its founder St. Ignatius of Loyola, Ad maiorem Dei gloriam  — for the greater glory of God  —  serves as a backdrop for the ‘Jesuit Spirit in the Arts’ exhibit,” says SJU associate gallery director Jeanne Bracy. “Although the work itself is varied, there is an underlying theme of finding God in everything. These 12 Jesuit artists, through their teaching and their artwork, exemplify Jesuit spirit and principles.”

The 40th anniversary celebration will also mark Fr. McNally’s 40 years of service with Saint. Joseph’s as founder of the university’s art department and as the department chair for a total of 22 years. Fr. McNally will display his paintings, most of which have never before been seen by the public, in a special portion of the exhibit.

“Being asked to have an exhibit of my life’s work mounted at Saint Joseph’s is new to me and I am tremendously grateful for and honored by the opportunity,” says Fr. McNally. “I paint my heart out, sometimes finding food for my soul in the very things that come from my hands. I share my work with whomever God sends my way; sometimes someone else finds it really helpful, and I’m glad.”

Fr. McNally’s Renaissance-influenced work, created on canvases six-feet in one dimension and from two to 20-feet in the other, follows a religious theme that results from connecting with God through prayer. His art often depicts the wonder and mystery of God behind life’s suffering.

A pair of gallery talks will launch the event Thursday, November 10, at 5 p.m., in the Cardinal Foley Campus Center. Distinguished speaker John O’Malley, S.J., university professor of theology at Georgetown University, will present a lecture titled “The Jesuits and Art: How it Happened and So What?” to discuss Jesuit art throughout history. Fr. O’Malley, who specializes in studies of early modern Christianity, the Renaissance and the Society of Jesus has served as a visiting professor at numerous universities, including Harvard and Oxford. Fr. O’Malley’s talk will be followed by Fr. McNally’s presentation “A Jesuit Artist’s Perspective” on the connection between his artwork and vocation as a Jesuit.

A reception will follow from 6 – 8 p.m. in the University Gallery.

2014-2015 Gallery

“Minimal Landscapes”
Alex Losett
Philadelphia, PA


“B-sides”
Adam Ledford
Philadelphia, PA


“Gabion”
Lindsay Carone
Rhode Island


“The Landscape Before Me: Cape Cod”
James Abbott
Ardmore, PA


“Quantum One”
Paintings by Sky Kim
Jersey City, NJ


2015 Senior Art Majors


“Bridging Cleveland”
Vaughn Wascovich
Commerce, Texas

2013-2014 Gallery

Melissa Wilkinson
Bono, Arkansas

 WilkinsonBoat
“Boat”  india ink on paper 43 x 59″  2009


Tom Bendtsen
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Bendtsen11
“Conversation #5” detail   8,000 books   2013


Deborah Zlotsky
Delmar, New York

Zlotsky1Vumb
“Vumb” powdered graphite on mylar  60″ x 48″ 2011


Matthew Christopher
Mt. Gretna, Pennsylvania


Jay Walker
Philadelphia, PA


“Contemporary Art and Social Justice”
curated by SJU Art History Professor, Emily Hage, PhD
featuring the work of Glen Saks, Sarah McEneaney, Susan Hagen, Daniel Heyman


2014 Senior Art Majors