Andrew Cornell Robinson “Wishful Thinking”

ARTIST TALK CANCELLED
Unfortunately, because of the Eagles SuperBowl parade, the University is suspending operations on 2/8 and we are not able to reschedule the artist talk.

Artist Talk:  Thursday, February 8, 2018 11:30 am – 12:30 pm in the gallery.
All are welcome!

Wishful Thinking

In Wishful Thinking Andrew Cornell Robinson explores how humans create meaning. These works, primarily ceramics and photography, defy traditional ideas of what objects of worship should look like, while upholding their original function.

Living and working in New York City at the time of the 9/11 terrorism attacks, Robinson took particular notice of the way the people of Manhattan mourned their dead. Specifically, Robinson fondly recalls witnessing sanitation workers fiddling with some flowers, candles, and missing persons posters placed along a bridge. A concerned woman asked if the men were taking down the objects, then realized they were covering them with plastic to protect them. This exchange was proof that the small shrines erected in memory of the victims were important to not only the people who put them there, but to the entire community. This poses the question: how do people create meaning from objects?

In answering this question Robinson also looks back to his childhood in New Jersey, where his grandparents housed “curiosity cabinets” from which he could choose an object and hear a fantastic story of its origin. His grandparents invented these stories, but they were meaningful to young Robinson nonetheless.

These moments of personal history expanded to community and then world history for the artist, prompting him to ask Who and what is worshipped in the rest of the world? One of the artist’s reasons for creating these works was to explore who is glorified and who is forgotten, and why.  For example, the main inspirations for Rebel Heart is the story of the Death of the Marat. When Jean-Paul Marat was fatally stabbed by Charlotte Corday in 1793, he became one of the most powerful martyrs of the French Revolution. After his death, Marat’s organs were removed and placed in elaborate reliquary jars for worship after his murder.

The goal of these works is to prompt viewers to question what we worship, and, more importantly, how we worship. In speaking about this exhibition, Robinson described it as “kind of a riff on altarpieces.” This series of modern shrines and reliquaries emphasize and redefine the physicality of worship.

~ Devon D’Andrea ‘20
Gallery Exhibition Research Assistant


12 x 10 x 8″ slip cast porcelain

ARTIST STATEMENT

Andrew Cornell Robinson has developed an intuitive and socially engaged approach to the production of interdisciplinary art with a particular interest in bridging art, design and craft with design strategies and methodologies. Robinson creates ceramic, sculpture and mixed media objects and images with a rich attention to materiality. He begins most projects with research that is often historical in nature and driven by a fictionalized character derived from design personae; a methodology used by industrial designers. Leveraging this device enables him to reexamine memory through the production of images and artifacts that tell a revisionist history, examining coded languages and mistranslations. His recent work is often focused on the queer and peculiar within the context of forms that include reliquaries and memento mori artifacts. In carefully researching and creating rich narratives and personae represented by a network of images and objects, he aims to engage the ways we understand historical memory and our place in it.

Hidden narratives have always been important to Robinson.[*] Signs and symbols, colors and materials may all convey meaning from the spiritual to the profane. Robinson’s latest project translates his interest in revisionist histories and is partly a meditation upon the discord within American culture and politics. Expressed through a series of secular shrines, reliquaries, artifacts and images the project began with an examination and reinterpretation of the life and death of the French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat. When Charlotte Corday plunged her knife into the heart of Marat in July of 1793, she created one of the French Revolution’s most powerful martyr heroes. His body and memory were elevated into a ceremonial pantheon. His heart was removed and placed into a makeshift reliquary–a bejeweled urn that had once belonged to the deposed French monarchy. The reliquary served as a focal point for public ceremony and devotion. The cult of the Sacred Heart (Sacré-Coeur de Jean-Paul Marat) derived from Catholic rituals and idolization became a visual and formal sign that Robinson has abstracted and reinterpreted through a grotto like form in ceramic, glass and mixed media; as well as a series of shrine like tableau in a contemporary exploration of the memento mori. Translating stories through fragmentation and layering result in a collection of signs and artifacts that act like a rebus open to interpretation.

Born in Camden, NJ, he studied ceramics and sculpture prior to completing his MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York City where he studied with Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, and worked with painter Frank Moore, et al. He received an Albee fellowship residency and was a visiting artist in Port Au Prince, Haiti and at the Agastya Foundation, in Bangalore, India. His work has been presented throughout the world with the Kustera Gallery, David & Schweitzer Contemporary, Joyce Goldstein Gallery, Christopher Stout Gallery, Baltimore Contemporary Museum, Bruce Museum, Ross Art Museum, and the United Kingdom Crafts Council. He lives and works in New York City and is a member of the faculty at Greenwich House Pottery and Parsons School of Design.

Robinson’s interest in hidden narratives and coded languages spans many topics that include cultural bias, the misinterpretation or obfuscation of culture and identity and simply mistranslation. For example, “Le Livre des Sauvages” in the Bibliotheque de l’Arsenal in Paris is of particular interest to him. The work was the subject of an 1860 study by Christian Abbe Em Domenech, a missionary to North America, who discovered a document covered in cryptic pictograms and glyphs, which he assumed was created by an indigenous person of the American plains. Domenech’s theory of its provenance has been in question by several German critics, who point out that many of the glyphs are characters comprising German words written in clumsy handwriting. Contemporary opinion of Le Livre Des Sauvages is that its bizarre pictures and odd text were merely the doodling of a German-speaking child living on the American plains.

Another example of a coded language that interests Robinson, is Polari, an innuendo fueled English slang language used primarily (although not exclusively) by gay men in the United Kingdom between the 1920’s and the 1970’s although it’s history and etymology can be traced further into the past. It fell out of use after the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in England and Wales in 1967. This ‘lost language of gay men’ served simultaneously as disguise and identification, when mere existence in the United Kingdom and beyond was punishable with imprisonment and public disgrace. Polari was a form of resistance, a way of queering language, and the expression of a shared culture and identity. Transforming craft materials, artifacts and narratives by speaking through codes and abstraction underlines some of the themes within Robinson’s work.

12 x 10 x 8″ slip cast porcelain

“Urban Fabric” by artist Heidi Nam

Inspired by natural rock formations, grid patterns, and the constant evolution of urbanity, Heidi Nam’s collage and multi-media works explore the crossroad between the organic and the metropolitan. Nam’s enamorment of urban development is influenced by both personal and artistic experience, and it is reflected in both her work and her artistic process.

On a 2011 trip to her childhood home in Korea, Nam found the small village of her memory replaced by new development and modernity. Although in many cases the new had completely replaced the old, in some instances, new development was simply layered over the small village’s history. This melding of what was and what could be, paired with her fascination with scape, pattern, and repetition, serves as the fuel on the fire for Nam’s artistic experiment.

To create these pieces, Nam deconstructs her own silkscreen and woodblock prints, drawings, photos, and paintings, and reconstructs the fragments to form new, unique urban landscapes. This construction of the new from the old symbolizes the evolution of urban space. Nam’s multi-faceted work is layered with experience, depth, and variation.

– Devon D’Andrea
Gallery Exhibition Research Assistant

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

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“Conversation #5” detail   8,000 books   2013


Deborah Zlotsky
Delmar, New York

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“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

 

2012-2013 Gallery

Laura Watt
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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“Mandala Crossed #4”    oil/linen   2009


Meghan Cox
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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“Posey”    Oil on canvas mounted on panel   2012   11 x 14″


Peter Miraglia
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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“Celine” Archival Pigment Print  20 x 16″


Rachel Rotenberg
Baltimore, Maryland

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Sukjin Choi
Harrisonburg, VA

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“Recollection Installation”   porcelain, stones, sand, paint   2012


2013 Senior Art Majors

Madelon Crosson     Germantown, TN (digital photo)

Nehru Ganeish     Singapore (digital photo)

Nora McGuire     Summit, NJ (digital photo)

Lisa Sucharski     Springfield, PA (painting)

2011-2012 Gallery

Exhibition
Inaugural Exhibition of the University Gallery at Merion Hall

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Ellie Brown
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 BrownAlmar


Charlee Brodsky
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

BrodskyCrow


Veronica Byun
Patterson, NJ

Byun1
“Shimmering Sea at Sunset”   white stoneware, silver trim   36h x 56w x 10″d


Kip Deeds
Newtown, PA

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2012 Senior Art Majors

Darby Cotter (ceramics), Cara Howell (digital photography), Evan DiPaola (digital photography), Tina Eccleston (ceramics), Maegan Marin (ceramics), Megan Brady (painting), Holly Colaguori (painting), Laura Colussi (digital photography), Kaitlin Ammirati (painting) 

2010-2011 Gallery

C. Pazia Mannella
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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“I’ll Be Your Mirror” Mirror paillettes with viewer participation 2009


Jay McClellan
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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“Stephanie, Tip, Honey and Drew”  Acrylic on canvas 96″ x 84″ 2010


Michael Angelotti
Erie, Pennsylvania

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Daniel Kariko
Greenville, NC

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“Iteration, Sulfur Mine Island, Louisiana”  20″ x 24″  2006  Archival Inkjet Print


Morgan Craig
Philadelphia, PA

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Vestige of Consequence  72″ x 84″  Oil on Linen  2010

 


2011 Senior Art Majors

Aimee Chegwidden (ceramics), Jon Dorfman (film), Ashley Fennimore (ceramics),
Mary Cate Fox (photography), Adam Hutchison (film), Alyssa Maywalall (photography),
Julian Phillips (photography), Daphne Rogers (mosaics), Claire Ryan (painting),
Colleen Smith (painting), Priya Sorathia (film)

2009-2010 Gallery

Alison Stigora
West Chester, Pennsylvania

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“MorningStar” 8′ X 8′ X 8′ Burnt wood 2009


Sarah Steinwachs
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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“Between Spaces” 6″ x 6″ x 1″ hand-cut paper, mixed media 2008


Chad Curtis
Elkins Park, Pennsylvania

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“Cows” 2008


Lynn Rosenthal
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Rosenthal1
Elephant Ear Series


NCECA Exhibit
featuring work of Birdie Boone, Hiroe Hanazono, Ingrid Bathe, Gwendolyn Yoppolo

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“Tumblers”  Ingrid Bathe


2010 Senior Art Majors

Laura Borawski (pottery), Colin Broderick (clay), Kaitlyn Coppola (clay),
Mackenzie Fell (mixed media), Nyasha Hayes (art history), Regan Hillman (art history / gouache on paper),
Julianne Kelley (drawing), Vivienne Lawrence (ceramic sculpture), Nicole McMullen (digital photography),
Matthew Prusack (painting), Jeffrey Wallin (film / painting / sculpture)

2008-2009 Gallery

Kreydatus
Williamsburg, Virginia

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“Winter, Matoaka” 36″ X 36″ oil on board 2008


Julie Gawne
Rockport, Indiana

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“Prevent Damage I” 10″ x 15″ diptych mixed media on paper 2008


Ephraim Russell
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Patent Pending laser cut corregated cardboard discs


David Freese
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Big Sur, California 2002 Archival Ink Jet Print


Walter Plotnick
Elkins Park, Pennsylvania

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Optical Bridge  18″ x 30″ Pigment Print


2009 Senior Art Majors

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Gina Cerbone (traditional photography), Mary Alexandra Curzi (painting), Philip J. DiWilliams (painting),
Lisa Hanson (drawing/painting), Malcolm J. Harkins (digital photography), Maris Hilferty (art history),
Yachiyo Kaneko (painting), Stephen Lorek (video), Bobby Morris (video),
Gabriele Petrillo (digital photography), Brittany Price (digital photography), Tony Toscani (painting),
Charles Tribe (digital photography), Jaci Seufert (painting), Anna Vascellaro (drawing/painting)

2007-2008 Gallery

Krista Steinke
Philadelphia, PA

  
“the apples grew ripe and fell to the ground” 22″ x 28″ digital C-Print

 
‘the better to see you with,’ she said” 28″ x 36″ digital C-Print”


    Donna Christine Kutz
Bensalem, PA

  
“Vulnerable” 26″ x 15″ x 20″ (left) “Restraint” 38″ x 24″ x 12″ (right)


Johanna Inman
Philadelphia, PA

 

 
“Untitled” 18″ x 24″ Archival Digital Print (top) “Lhasa Thibet” 24″ x 27″ Archival Ink Jet Print (bottom)


Babette Martino
Blue Bell, PA


“From Bridgeport to Norristown” 24″ x 42″ oil on panel


“Schuylkill River” 15″ x 18″ oil on panel


Ann Chwatsky
New York, NY


“When I Was A Girl I Thought I’d Be Protected ” 45″ x 25 “

 
“When I Was A Girl I Worried About Being Buried” 39″ x 40″


2008 Senior Art Majors

Alana Allan – painting (Shavertown, PA)
Nicole Allan – film (Shavertown, PA)
Adam Della Penna – mosaics / 3-D (Riverton, NJ)
Megan Eckley – musical theater (New Hanover Twp., PA)
Robert Ferguson – drawing / painting (Ft. Myers, FL)
Christie Green – mosaics (Blue Bell, PA)
Michael Kerrigan – photography (Franklin Lakes, NJ)
Elizabeth Lanteri – film (Hackensack, NJ)
Kaitlyn McCormick – mosaics (Brick, NJ)
Cassie Nentwig – vocal performance (Havertown, PA)
MaryColleen Norcia – mixed media (Seaside Park, NJ)
Kevin Ryan – music (Philadelphia, PA)
Jereme Scott – painting (Columbia, MD)
Ginene Szczepanski – painting (Gloucester Twp., NJ)