Selected Past Exhibits
Mexico Illuminated: Contemporary Mexican art *
Served on curatorial and planning committee, and as venue for Mexican photography
Ground Zero, group exhibition (Dec. 2001) *
co-curated by Frank Shifreen and Julius Vitali
"This is a memorial as well as a celebratory exhibition, but also has a critical edge. I believe in the importance of political art exhibitions that explore important topics. Many artists and critics disagree. They see politics as an intrusion that propagandizes and muddies art. Yet art can create a space, which breaks the spell. Art can be a deterrent to renegade terrorist acts, as well as a deterrent to runaway reactionary government." --Frank Shifreen
Marc Brodzik (Spring 2003)
Artist Marc Brodzic, Philadelphia, relies on American mass-media ? specifically advertising ? as a point of departure for his art. Trained as a commercial artist in graphic design with a background in billboard painting, package design, and painting, his interests grew from his early work in these fields to a growing interest in the what exactly ?advertising? was saying ? and doing ? to American consumers. Although the artist is repulsed by the moral conflict (the idea that an individual is not his/her best unless they purchase product ?X?) that advertising produces, he is also attracted to the style of commercialism. From large, powerful images of the billboard to cheap, pulpy grocery store circulars and window ads, Brodzic merges his repulsion with this attraction. He creates his own ?products,? ?packaging,? ?messages,? and ?ads.? View Marc's work at www.brodzik.com.
Black American Artists, (Fall 2003)*
co-curated by James Rose
This exhibition was conceived in response to an article regarding the perception of black artists in America. In the article, the author wrote about how art by black artists was often presented in the context of being folk art, ethnic art, or as outsider art. In other words, it was obviously outside the mainstream of white art, politicized, pigeonholed, and subject to a stereotypical genre. It was ?black art? ? judged by a different criteria than ?white? art ? at worst considered ?substandard,? at best ?different.? I set out to curate an exhibition that would explore contemporary art by black American artists who were academically trained, professional, and creative. I wanted to ignore the stereotype of ?black art? as being different. These works are about the black American experience. Maybe its time, however, to discuss this in terms of the American experience, as these artists share these obvious themes with millions of other Americans. And these experiences are part of our national heritage, my national heritage, as much as war victories, space exploration, national disasters or world leadership. They should not be overlooked or forgotten.
Bloodline (Nov. 2004)
Bloodline is an exhibition utilizing objects, text, artifacts and art that becomes an encapsulated aesthetic experience revealing the affect and effect of one man?s life, Russel Buckingham, Sr. This unprecedented exhibition also explores the impact of the 20th century on this individual. As told by his son, artist Russel Buckingham, Jr. The installation includes objects collected by this photographer, collector, and war veteran that included photographs, letters, precious archaic art works, as well as worthless old greeting cars, notebooks and receipts. These things articulate the nuances of a personality, both passionate and cold, intellectual and greedy.
The Flow of Humanity: Salma Arastu (April 2005)
Born and raised in India as a Hindu, Salma Arastu creates paintings that reflect her own heritage and life experiences, including marriage to a Muslim, her life in Iran and Kuwait, and her work full-time as an artist. Her lyrical and spiritual work, based on memories of her childhood, her love of people, and her deep faith inspire her art. Mystical Indian miniatures, artist Paul Klee, Arabic calligraphy, and folk art also influence the artist merging with her deep belief in beauty and humanity making her work both personal and universal.
With Undying Spirit: Greg Weaver (Oct. 2005)
A 1967 Graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Political Science, Greg Weaver, a native of the Lehigh Valley, continued his education at Duquesne University, School of Law, before beginning his career in the arts. Always interested in art, especially painting, he began studying art at the Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, where he received his BFA in Painting in 1974. Returning to Allentown, PA, Weaver?s downtown studio became a haven for artists, musicians, and poets through the ?70?s and ?80?s. They showed up at his studio to make art, to participate in art happenings, music jams, and poetry slams. In the meantime, Weaver continued to paint, and began showing his work at the Allentown Art Museum, the Allan Stone Gallery in NYC, and various galleries throughout New York City and his home, in the Lehigh Valley. He painted heavy, impasto, large scale abstracted cows and fisherman, for example, referring to his work as ??urban American folk art?my art is a translation of cultural energy?that speaks a language to those with no special knowledge of art as well as to the knowledgeable??
Portrait of the American Hobo: Catherine Leuthold (March 2006)
?I have always been a traveler. My parents loved adventure and in turn they instilled in me that same desire. On my father?s deathbed I asked him what his favorite place had been; his eyes were serene as he replied, ?Kashmir, India.? This is the same look I see in rail riders? eyes when I ask them of their travels. The hobos? deep desire to taste the unexplored is derived from their sense of freedom. Traveling on a freight train?completely unprotected, open to the elements, though mountains and tunnels eight miles long carved out of rock by hand more than a hundred years ago?is the last great free adventure," explains the artist. Catherine spent a year riding the rails with the American Hobos, who learned to trust her, taught her the rails, hobo laws and lifestyles, and allowed her into their world for this photo documentary.