Lavett Ballard – “Just Like A Woman”

August 28 – Oct 1, 2020
Merion Hall Gallery

Artist Talk, Friday, September 11, 4pm.
To reserve a spot in person, please email  There will be a 20 person limit.  Click the registration link to attend the event virtually via a zoom webinar.

Lavett Ballard is a contemporary artist who uses collage to interrogate presumptions about race, gender, and perception. Her collages combine archival photography, magazine cutouts, and a wide range of materials, such as copper foil, wax, and even hair, and she adheres them to particle board, birch, and even old fences. Her process welcomes accident, which highlights their materiality. Ballard’s collages put past and present into dialogue with each other and encourage viewers to look more closely while at the same time taking in the picture her various sources create. The artist conducts a great deal of research to find her images, and the story behind the person is just as important, if not more important, than the image itself. In Ballard’s images of women, the women tell their own stories.

– Emily Hage, PhD.
Chair, Art and Art History Department
Associate Professor, Art History



1955: The Bus Riders, Demanding Dignity was created by mixed-media artist Lavett Ballard for the cover of TIME magazine as a part of their 100 Women of the Year in History project.  Ms. Ballard described the moment that she received the email from TIME magazine commissioning her to create a piece for the project as “surreal”.  She thought that the email was a prank but then went on to speak with D.W. Pine, the Creative Director of TIME magazine, two days later.

The piece is constructed on reclaimed wood fencing and features a color palette of gold, purple, blue, yellow, and white. Rosa Parks is featured in the center.  Ms. Ballard was allowed almost complete artistic freedom with the project. Ms. Ballard was only instructed to highlight Rosa Parks and the other women who started the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955; Aurelia Browder, Claudette Colvin, and Mary Louise Smith.  All of these women were arrested for sitting in front of a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Ms. Ballard’s work features women who go unrecognized which is why she was the perfect fit for this project.  Other unrecognizable women are featured in this piece from newspaper cutouts.  Of these women Ballard says they “had a life, a family, and it has been erased.  All there is is that snapshot that tells a little bit of their life story.”  Ms. Ballard uses wood fencing as a canvas for her pieces due to the connection she identifies between wood and history. She believes wood is “stuck in time”, making it the perfect backdrop for this historical piece. The yellow roses build the narrative of the artwork because they were used a symbol of freedom during the Civil Rights movement.  Ms. Ballard said that she wanted to use the term freedom without including the actual word in the art.  Around Rosa Park’s head is a gold halo or crown. Ms. Ballard likes to make the women in her work look like goddesses, making these women who have gone unrecognized look powerful. The background of the piece is meant to look like a starry night.

Ms. Ballard called the release of the artwork on the cover of TIME “bittersweet” due to it coinciding with the COVID-19 Pandemic.  She hopes that soon people will be able to see the artwork in person to fully appreciate it.  Saint Joseph’s University is the first public display of this piece as well as Broken Yet Healed, The Shaman and The Givers.

~ Elisabetta Mannello ‘21
Gallery Exhibition Research Assistant


Mosaics -Student Exhibit

September 2020

Amanda Herzig ’22

Text by Elisabetta Mannello ‘22, Gallery Exhibition Research Assistant

The pieces featured in this collection come from Professor Jill Allen and Professor Patrick Coughlin’s Mosaics I classes.  Mosaics I is a class that studies “tesserae”.  Tesserae are the small pieces of ceramic tile or glass used to create mosaics.  Many mosaic techniques are explored in the class.  In the traditional method, students roll out slabs of clay which are fired, painted with glaze (providing the color) and then fired again.  The colored tile slabs are broken down into smaller pieces to fit into the designs.  The smaller pieces are then adhered to the wood or cement board backing.  Finally, grout is used to fill in the empty spaces between the tile.
Chelsea Evans ’21

Some pieces featured in this display are from the Fall 2019 Mosaics class.  They are the pieces that were inspired by the theme “Women We Respect”, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in America.  The students chose a woman who has inspired them personally and designed a mosaic after them.  They first traced the image of the woman onto a slab of clay and then carved the outlines into sections of color and value, which is a more contemporary approach.  They did not break the image up into smaller pieces, which is the traditional method of creating mosaics.
Isabella Africa ’22

Professor Jill Allen hopes that her students came away with an understanding of historic mosaic techniques while realizing that they can use their new knowledge to discover unique building techniques, exploring their own artistic voices.

Melissa Rickards ’20

Professor Coughlin’s class created two projects, a repetitive tile piece and a small tile piece.  The students start out with an image or drawing and study the colors and tonal values in order to replicate it.  Serana Pellegrino’s piece represents herself and someone close to her resting in a hammock, “simply appreciating all the simple things around”.  She was inspired by nature, which is where she says she finds herself.  She created it from a vision, sketching and coloring it first and then creating the mosaic.  Serana used the knowledge she obtained from class on translating color gradients into mosaic to create the piece.

Serana Pellegrino ’20

A Visual Story – Student Digital Photography

Student Digital Photo Exhibition

Devon D’Andrea, Gallery Exhibition Research Assistant

Lucas Pelli

This exhibit displays student work from three different photography courses: Digital Photo I, Constructed Digital Image, and Commercial Photography. These works are created by art majors and minors, as well as by students who major in disciplines other than art. Representing all skill levels and academic backgrounds, these compositions display the students’ hard work and personal artistry. The variety of the work these students have produced is a representation of the diversity of the students’ approaches.

William Alves

Digital Photo I
This course is designed to teach students how to “see”. Today, anyone can take a photo, but it takes a developed eye to see what is worth photographing. After discussing the fundamental principles of design and the basics of studio photography, students were tasked with using their new skills to create a digital photo image of an abstracted 2D image.

Noah Caruso, a junior communications major, used two angular pieces of foam core and colored plastic discs and played with light and shadow until he took a photograph that emulated his original muse, the geometric and abstract shapes commonly used in commercial marketing in the ‘80s and ‘90s.


Commercial Photography
Seniors Christine Torrey and Alexander Gonzalez worked as a team to create two images. The assignment was to photograph an object, in their case an apple, without the object being the foremost aspect of the photograph. Maintaining a pleasing, subverted aesthetic, the students rose to the challenge by creating mood with soft, warm lighting and pieces of classic Americana, such as a baseball glove and an American flag. Torrey and Gonzalez were both inspired by classic Americana and keepsakes one might find in their grandparents’ house.

Alexander Gonzales

ConstructedDigital Image 

The works from Constructed Digital Image are more 3-dimensional than others. Students took digital images and printed them on canvas or metal or adhered them to non-traditional surfaces, such as wood or glass. Senior Marina Wilson was inspired by her research on animal testing. She comments on the pervasiveness of the cruel practices by photographing animals commonly used in lab testing and weaving the prints into prints of the products the animals were tested for.

Marina Wilson
Evan Buchanan

Analogue and Alternative Process Photography

December 16 – January 24, 2020

Coffee Hour: January 14, 8-9am

This exhibit features film-based black and white photography and alternative processes photography.  Artists featured in this exhibition were students in either Darkroom Photography I or Alternative Processes Photography I.  The show is a juxtaposition of historic printing methods and experimentation with more contemporary “non-silver” techniques.

Students, Mara Trapani, Sophia Dell’Arciprete and Harrison Morris  created a sampling of cyanotypes and vandyke brown on fabric.

Art Major, Jayne Baran, experiments with hand-painted watercolors on cyanotypes.

Nico Dennis uses light and shadows to create dramatic effects on everyday objects.

Sarah Gray paints liquid light emulsion onto paper before exposing her image.

Aiden Saul takes his 35mm Pentax out into nature on an overcast day for this dreamy shot.


“Facialogue: Dialogue with Faces” Oluwatobi Adewumi

FACIALOGUE: DIALOGUE WITH THE FACES tells the story of our future as Africans by revisiting the past to explore the ancient traditions, cultural values, and styles. Adewumi’s charcoal portraits depict tribal/lineage marks, style, scarification/face painting and genealogy. Through conversations with the new generation, the artist has created a story that identifies the similarities of cultural practices from the past and present. In this exhibit’s dialogue, the viewers learn from the past, confront the present and educate for the future.

December 16 – January 29, 2020
Artist Talk & Reception: January 28, 11:30 – 12:30pm

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Inclusion and Diversity at Saint Joseph’s University

With every piece of art I produce comes a story, an opportunity to provide history, a new voice, narrative, and perspective for my audience. I believe in using my artistic gift as conduit to share the stories of people and places living in a different society and cultures with a new context. My creative process and work always leads to providing platform and information for movement to discuss values and cultural shifts in the new world. Every face has a story to tell, history behind it, questions, and beauty.

The use of materials in my work is calculated. I am often looking for avenues of the unexpected. An ironic twist to images or things you might expect or their combinations, provoke a participant to new and perhaps unexplored territories .

My work for the past 20 years has used revealing aspects of history, which have a profound impact on our contemporary culture today. In the current climate where many believe history has no relevance, I find myself continually returning to those aspects that are often hidden or misrepresented in the “official” recordings for posterity. In my varied and diverse approaches to making art, the purpose is for the context to impact the viewer.

Art remains as a strong contender of how we share our thoughts and ideas. Throughout history, art has survived the tidal wave of information and remains an unpredictable source of imagination. It has the possibilities of changing one’s thoughts, opening new ideas, and borrowing through received ideas so common to our educational system. I have no grand illusions that art will create a revolution in the traditional sense, but have witnessed the powerful changes it can make in an individual. Just one new idea can change a persons’ perception. The world may not change in an instant by art, but it’s slow and insipid spread into the active part of our brains lives to tell the tale. It may leave the studio and make it’s way around the world, and yet come back to the studio where anything can happen.
– Tobi Adewumi

Mark Making – Student Work Painting & Drawing

Mark Making

By Christine Torrey, ‘20, Gallery Exhibition Research Assistant

Christine Torrey ’20

This exhibition features the work of advanced painting and drawing students. In these courses, students explore their mediums by utilizing formal and conceptual elements of drawing and painting. Students use each medium to discover new possibilities and to represent their own personal voice. The pieces that are displayed combine formal elements and techniques of drawing and painting with the student’s own personal expression and artistic vision. This collection of work was created by advanced art students under the instruction of Dennis McNally, Mary Henderson, and Stephen Cope.

Quiongdan Hu ’20

The drawings are created with charcoal. Charcoal is an incredibly dynamic medium, it can be constantly changed and blended until the artist is satisfied. The softness of this medium lends itself to drawings focused on mass and movement of a subject. Charcoal is used for rendering the light, shadow, and contour of a subject. Many of the drawings displayed in this exhibition are life drawings. Students rendered these drawings from direct observation of a live model.

Carley Rose ’22
Transcription: Detail of VanGogh’s “Still Life with Pears”

The paintings featured in this exhibition were painted with acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is a versatile medium. The paint dries quickly, allowing an artist to add and experiment with many layers of paint. Students in this advanced painting course were encouraged to paint subjects that inspired them. In this course, students learn to “sketch” with paint, and to trust their instincts when rendering paint on a canvas. These paintings feature the incorporation of matte medium to the paint, as well as non-traditional materials, such as glitter.

Caroline Stefan ’22



Robert Engman “Structural Sculpture”

November 4 – December 6, 2019

Gallery Opening & Panel Discussion: Nov 7, 5-7pm

5-6pm: Robert Engman: Art, Physics and Mathematics
A panel discussion in the Cardinal Foley Campus Center with
Stephen Loughin, Professor, Physics Department,
Saint Joseph’s University
William Perthes, Bernard C. Watson Director of Adult Education
The Barnes Foundation
Kristopher Tapp, Professor and Chair, Mathematics Department,
Saint Joseph’s University

6-7pm: Reception in Merion Hall Gallery

If Walls Could Speak – Ada Luisa Trillo

October 17, 5-7pm
Stories Beyond Borders Film Screening and Panel Discussion
Cardinal Foley Campus Center

On October 17th, ​Saint Joseph’s University Galleries and Art Department​ will host ​Stories Beyond Borders​. The program features five short films that show a more complete picture of the attacks on immigrant families and communities. Beyond building empathy, these films lift up real stories of resilience and strength, while illustrating some of the ways people can give their time, energy, and resources to support organizing led by immigrant communities. This free event will also include a discussion with fi​lmmaker ​Almudena Toral​, who created ​The Legacy of the Zero Tolerance Policy​, photographer ​Ada Trillo​, who has recently opened an exhibit at Saint Joseph’s University called ​If Walls Could Speak​, Sara Zia Ebrahimi with ​Working Films​ and Erika Nunez with Juntos Philadelphia.  Guests will have the opportunity to walk to Merion Hall Gallery after the discussion to view Ada Trillo’s documentary work.

If Walls Could Speak

Ada Luisa Trillo

September 30 – October 25, 2019

Immigration and Social Justice Lecture with artist, Ada Trillo and Assistant Professor of Political Science, Richard Giogioso:
Tuesday, October 1, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Merion Hall Gallery

If Walls Could Speak is a brief glimpse into the besieged hopes and blunt uncertainties – but also the enduring dignity – of Central American asylum seekers forced into a cruel and dangerous waiting game.  This series was shot while visiting the Casa del Migrante, a Catholic-run migrant shelter in Juárez which houses a very small handful of the 20,000 asylum seekers.  The scenes within – friends chatting; kids laughing; three meals a day – stand in stark contrast with life for many migrants outside the shelter’s gates, where death may very well be the least of their worries.


Form: Student Sculpture Exhibit

October 1 – 25, 2019
Coffee Hour: Tuesday, October 1, 8-9am
Boland Hall Gallery


Form displays works by a collective of students from different classes, at different levels, working in different media. Some of the student artists worked with Professor Jill Allen, in her multiple sculpture classes, others worked with Professor Steve Rossi in his Intro to 3-Dimensional Art course.

The displayed wire sculptures, products of Jill Allen’s class, were created as explorations of line, meant to capture viewers’ attention and elicit a particular emotion, such as chaos, fragility, and energy.

The plaster sculptures were created as nonobjective forms, or forms that have no connection to forms that we know in our experience. Students created their pieces with no prior plan; reacting to and creating from gut responses. This elicited some anxiety in students, as working without a plan and on instinct alone could feel foreign.

The cardboard sculptures that Allen’s students created were done collaboratively. Teams of students developed a concept for their final sculpture–some used narrative, some focused on repetition, and others on exaggerated proportion. The technical approach used to reach these concepts varied from group to group, as well. Some were abstract in form, others were meant to tell a story. One group used a narrative approach, evoking the growth of a child, and the accumulation of experience as that child grows.

Professor Rossi’s students worked under the same assignment. Students created sculpture out of cardboard with the goal of intimately understanding the basics of three-dimensional art concepts, with a specific focus on line, space, and form. The sculptures on display are the final iteration in a multi-step design process. Students first created a charcoal line drawing, then they cut apart the drawing arranged the pieces to create the basis for their sculpture. After examining the negative and positive space of their prototype, they began to examine the textural aspect of the cardboard –some of these textural studies are on display, as well. Although the material is only cardboard, the textures the students created on the surface give the sculpture a feeling of sumptuousness and luxuriousness. This was intentional, to facilitate conversation about ornamentation and social importance, as a humble material, cardboard, was treated as one would treat an expensive or important material.

Ultimately, these sculptures were created to be generalizable to the world around us. These works are microcosms of the built environment, drawing from architectural concepts and applying them to three-dimensional sculpture. As viewers interact with these works, they are reminded of the spaces they move through and the buildings they interact with every day.

~ Devon D’Andrea ’20
Gallery Exhibition Research Assistant

Photography Alumni Exhibit

Photography Alumni Exhibit

August 19 – September 23, 2019
Reception: Friday, September 13, 5-6pm

Madeline Kim

Students of Susan Fenton’s traditional photography courses over the past twenty years present old and new photographs in honor of their adored professor.  Over 70 pieces fill the walls of the home where once novice students took a leap into the dark and found a new form of self-expression.

This exhibition is in conjunction with the Merion Hall exhibition of photographs by the late Susan Fenton.  Following this reception, visitors can proceed to Merion Hall Gallery to hear Larry Spaid speak about Fenton’s work.