Transcending the limitations of the photographic medium, John Singletary creates multidisciplinary installation experiences. His work graces The Gallery at Penn College through March 22. Singletary’s Through Lines/Fault Lines is the first exhibition of multimedia work on screens in the gallery’s history. Located on the third floor of The Madigan Library at Pennsylvania College of Technology, the gallery is in its 17th season.
The exhibition includes two installations: Traces and Anahata.
“John’s new series, Traces, was created specifically for his solo exhibition in The Gallery at Penn College,” said Penny Griffin Lutz, gallery director. “Visitors will be immersed in an audiovisual experience that explores culture, beliefs and the human connection.”
Traces uses video, digital and stop-motion animation, historical footage, and audio. “Anahata” is photography-based and presented as an immersive installation on organic LED electronic canvases.
A photographer and multimedia artist based in Philadelphia, Singletary received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from The University of the Arts. His work has been collected by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Center for Fine Art Photography, as well as other institutional and private collections.
The artist says the imagery and vignettes in Traces, an ongoing multimedia work, depict “the extraordinary light and darkness in the human condition and life events such as the genesis of our existence and the purpose we serve to each other and ourselves.”
The audio component of the installation consists of a series of anonymously conducted interviews with a range of participants. The perspectives highlighted reveal the universality and individuality of values, the intersectionality of symbolism across cultures and lineages, and the perpetual cycles of life.
“Surveying the myriad and disjointed experiences that make up a life, ‘Traces’ explores the way we construct our internal narratives and create meaning from experience,” Singletary said.
Anahata explores human relationships and their connection to the divine. Choreographed movement was captured with an open-spectrum camera in a purpose-built, ultraviolet light studio where dancers performed in handcrafted costumes. The resulting dreamlike images are steeped in archetypal symbolism, mythology and mysticism.
A long-term collaboration between the artist and dancers, costume designers, makeup artists, choreographers and other artists, Anahata unveils a “frenetic tribe” that feels of another place and time.
The Gallery at Penn College is open 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. (The gallery is closed on Mondays and Saturdays and will also be closed March 5-12 during Spring Break.)
Thank you to John Singletary for the content of this post.
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We’ll write our names with steam dyed crimson, we will cut the hand to the edge so that our meat completes it.
Here we will die.
Here, in the last passage.
Here or there… our blood will plant its olive trees.
In the black and white photographic series Night is the New Day, Rebeca Martell evokes the recognition of the strangeness that she experiences looking at in exile. Between surprise and nostalgia, Martell moves towards the redefinition of herself, cautiously exploring the places she sees and the people who inhabit them. With a foreign lens, looks for the moment that sublimates the experience of herself, that captivates the feeling of being in the dark leaving behind the memories of the tropic, like running away from a bad dream.
Martell’s camera is the vehicle that intervenes between her gaze and the other; where the faces are not recognized, where the blur in the images is the metaphor of the distance between the self and the beings that inhabit reality. Martell utilizes the absence of light to blur the very act of looking. Martell’s work not only sublimates emotions but is also a lonely walk; the cold and silence, the memories that inhabit the memory.
The images of Night is the New Day are an evocation of what the darkness hides from the eye, what cannot be perceived by the naked eye, the ghost of the absent light during the winter that only leaves in its wake a few shades. Rebeca Martell makes use of photography to portray her days of winter in Sweden while, at the same time offers us a testimonial of a look that becomes raw, powerless and unprotected against others and before her own process of self-recognition. She portrays the moment where the connection between the gaze and the soul is created, right there where it appears what cannot be shown with the naked eye, where she reaches the image from the furthest part of the unconscious.
Liliana Marcos Lozano, 2022
Rebeca Martell bio: Rebeca Martell, an independent photographer, trained at UNAM, Centro de la Imagen, Jumex Collection, Philadelphia Photo Arts, Rufino Tamayo Museum, Alameda Art Laboratory, and Photoespaña.
Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca, the Barnes Foundation, X-Teresa Arte Actual, the Sebastián Foundation, Brukenthal National Museum of Contemporary Art in Romania, Philadelphia Photo Arts, and the National Auditorium; as well as in the Mexican embassy in Spain, Belgium, Lithuania, Hungary, Greece, Holland, France, San Pedro Museum of Art, and in the Juan C. Méndez PhotoMuseum, as well as having been a winner at the eighth State Meeting of Contemporary Art in Puebla, Mexico.
Philiput presents: Rebeca Martell – Night is the New Day photographic art by Rebeca Martell, curated by Devin Cohen, curatorial text by Liliana Marcos Lozano
GLASSBORO, NJ: Rowan University Art Gallery presents The Nature of Time, a new installation by stone mason Thea Alvin. On view through July 24th at 301 West High Street, Wednesday – Saturday 11 am – 5 pm, Artist reception July 9th, 2021, 4 – 7 pm. This project complements the anticipated Time Sweeps, her permanent public art work coming soon to the East Garden Courtyard of Discovery Hall at Rowan University.
Made from nearly 14 tons of integrated stone pieces of Pennsylvania Field Stone, which contains fossils, moss, and lichen, the installation consists of three distinctive formations: a winding wall, a stone floor mosaic, and a cairn, which are joined by large format photographs of Thea’s numerous public art projects, ambient projected light, video and a melodic background soundscape.
Time Sweeps is a stone sculpture currently under construction, in the East Garden Courtyard of Discovery Hall at Rowan University. The approximately 264-ton sculpture will be composed of three main features: a 100 ft. long winding wall with an arch, and two non connecting winding walls, and a small passageway between the two walls, often referred to as a squeeze. The sculpture is comprised of primarily Pennsylvania Fieldstone (264 tons), which contains fossils, moss, and lichen, and also includes seven boulders (2-3 tons each) of the primary stone types (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic) including basalt, conglomerate, gabbro, gneiss, granite, rhyolite, schist. Six of the boulders sit at the end of walls and the seventh are columns of basalt that will mark the winter solstice. The wall will be capped in buff sandstone from Colorado (12 tons) containing dendrites.
Conceived as an “organic collaboration,” between the artist, the land, the stone, and the visitor, Time Sweeps is a uniquely interactive public artwork that provides quiet space for personal reflection and experiential learning.
When describing her design process Thea explains, “Each sculpture is a composed expression of the thoughts of the land itself. I’m in the moment with the chosen material, capturing that angst, that patience, that essence, and setting it in stone. The lines are laid and the rhythm is established on paper, but the melody becomes clear as the structure rises from the ground in situ.”
Using the natural world as her primary inspiration, Thea sees stone as an object in motion; as lines pushed by wind and driven by rain, casting shadows, capturing light. It is her intention to create places of rest and reflection, while honoring the natural faces of the stone by not adding too many marks that suggest that it was forced into position. The beauty of the material is allowed to shine through, imperfectly perfect. Not asking too much of the viewer, but acceptance and gratitude.
Thea Alvin is an artist and stone mason, a designer and builder with determination and creativity. She started her career in stone at age 16, working for her father as a tender, then for years as a mason and then stone mason. She refined her stone style while traveling and working all over the world, from China to Iceland, Canada to Italy, and all across North America. She draws on the traditions in stone and expands those to create large site specific, unique, geologic installations.
Time Sweeps, in progress
Contact: Mary Salvante, firstname.lastname@example.org, 856-256-4521
Shawn Theodore: Night Stars A Solo Exhibition of New Work February 26 – March 20, 2021
February 11, 2021 (Philadelphia, PA) – Paradigm Gallery is pleased to present Night Stars, a solo exhibition of new photographic work by interdisciplinary artist Shawn Theodore. Night Stars is an expansion of Theodore’s investigation into a space he calls ‘Afromythology’, which unites the real and imaginary histories and futures of African Americans. In Night Stars, Theodore widens this space by melding together the traditions of African indigo making and the magical powers of water and stars.
The evocative exhibition illuminates the space where they all converge, a body of work that is a deep, deep blue. Night Stars marks the first exhibition at Paradigm with the artist. Night Stars is open to the public from February 26 – March 20th with an opening event on Friday, February 26th at 5:30PM.
Theodore makes connections, finds linked points and intersections within the past and seeing what is repeated in the current he identifies recurring themes, like spirituality. Spirituality has been passed on from generation to generation, and is something that is ostensibly part of the Black experience, but it is not something you can see or touch; it happens without direct knowledge, just faith.
In Night Stars, Theodore looks deeper for where instances of faith happen such as in music, quilt making or code switching. All of these hold examples of coded language, subversive art and intent and Night Stars is constructed from these metaphysical bridges. Bridges like quilts that were used to smuggle secret messages guiding people to freedom, far beyond the maker’s own physical passing. Or the Dogon tribe of West Africa, who were master astronomers.
They believed that their ancestors were descendants of a species from the Sirius star system eight and half light years away and to be free meant going back home. Though they were physically limited, their collective celestial knowledge somehow traveled across time and space to other groups of Black people who used it to understand the same set of stars that were used in the same way: to be led to freedom. ‘Afromyth’ sits upon these bridges.
The works in Night Stars are a series of statuesque portraits, monuments within a vast space of blue. Blue is a multi-tiered reference within the exhibition. The color is known to ward off evil in African and African American culture and Theodore questions how that symbolic signal came to be and why it still holds that power today.
The artist says, “To create in blue, one must first understand its powerful nature. There has to be a world that exists inside of the color. A spiritual process is happening that is begging us to look inside of it, and somewhere within it are answers”. Theodore connects the symbolic color to the 19th century process of cyanotype.
The artist has always been fascinated by the historic practice, which produces a cyan-blue print; however, it is extremely rare to find a Black subject in one of these prints. Rather than shooting in cyanotype, Theodore uses it as a guideline, photographing his subjects using blue filters and blue cast lights.
The resulting works are less historic than they are revolutionary. On the series Theodore says, “Featured in this collection are portraits made of bejeweled deities in the indigo-hued ether, the fervor of fête revelers, the quiet stillness amongst the dense foliage and haints of Low Country of South Carolina, possession in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, and sunrise reverence at the edge of the Caribbean Sea. At the center is the viewer, who stands at the bardos of these seemingly disjointed experiences, their presence unifying the real and unreal”.
Photography often acts as a fast route to see the past, but what is beyond the camera’s sight? Subconsciously, the brain creates narratives beyond physical photographs, beyond what we logically know or see. These leaps are our imagined archives and it’s within their boundless possibilities that Night Stars lives, filling the gaps.
*Due to COVID-19, “Night Stars” will be open for regular weekend hours with limited capacity and is available to view by private appointments during the week until further notice. The digital exhibition twin is available on https://www.paradigmarts.org/ for viewing from home. These policies are dependent on the current policies of the CDC, WHO and the Governor and Mayor’s offices. Paradigm Gallery’s number one priority is the safety and wellness of their visitors. For live updates on the exhibition and appointments, please visit the Paradigm website and socials. For any questions on Paradigm’s current policies, please email email@example.com.
About Shawn Theodore Shawn Theodore (b. 1970, Germany) is an award-winning photographer whose work opens broad conversations regarding the role of the photographer in the shaping of agency and imagery, engages in new forms of storytelling, and impacts the trajectory of the collective black consciousness.
Theodore has participated in exhibitions at various institutions, galleries and fairs, including the African American Museum in Philadelphia (2017, 2018), Mennello Museum of American Art (2018), The Barnes Foundation (2017, 2018, 2019), Steven Kasher Gallery (2018), AIPAD (2018, 2019), Hudson Valley Community College (2018), Catherine Edelman Gallery (2017), The Bakalar & Paine Galleries at MassArt (2017), Snap! Orlando (2018), Richard Beavers Gallery (2018), PRIZM Art Fair, Scope Art Fair, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Rush Arts Gallery (2017, 2018), and the University of the Arts (2019).
His commercial projects include works for Apple, Showtime Networks, RocNation, PAPER Magazine, New York Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, The Atlantic, The New York Times, PDN and others. Theodore was awarded the prestigious PDN’s 30 New & Emerging Photographers to Watch (2019), the Getty Images / ARRAY ‘Where We Stand’ (2018) grant and a grant from the Knight Foundation for ‘A Dream Deferred’ (2018). He is a two-time nominee of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Fellowship, and a nominee of the Magnum Foundation Fund.
Theodore earned his BA in JPRA (Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising) from Temple University. He currently attends the MFA for Photography program at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD Atlanta). Theodore is a current trustee of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation and the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.
About Paradigm Gallery Paradigm Gallery + Studio® was established in 2010 by co-founders and curators, Jason Chen and Sara McCorriston. The gallery exhibits meaningful, process-intense contemporary artwork from around the world. Now open 11 years, Paradigm Gallery is globally recognized and known as a tastemaker within their greater Philadelphia arts community. As the gallery grows, it maintains its original mission to keep art accessible. Through monthly donations, free public art installations, and initiatives like Insider Picks, Paradigm Gallery, continues to be a champion of small businesses and emerging and mid-career artists.
Location: 746 S 4th St Philadelphia, PA 19147 Media Contact: Lainya Magaña, A&O PR 347 395 4155 firstname.lastname@example.org
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This fall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Off the Wall: American Art to Wear, a major exhibition that highlights a distinctive American art movement that emerged in the late 1960s and flourished during the following decades. It examines a generation of pioneering artists who used body-related forms to express a personal vision and frames their work in relation to the cultural, historical and social concerns of their time. Focusing on iconic works made during the three decades between 1967 and 1997, the exhibition features 115 works by 62 artists. Comprised primarily of selections from a promised gift of Julie Schafler Dale, it also includes works from the museum’s collection and loans from private collections. Off the Wall: American Art to Wear is accompanied by a new publication of the same title, co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press.
Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO, said: “This exhibition introduces to our visitors an exceptionally creative and adventurous aspect of American art which took the body as a vehicle for its expression. We are not only deeply grateful to Julie Schafler Dale for her extraordinary gifts and support of the museum but also see this as an opportunity to acknowledge the dynamic role she played in nurturing the growth and development of this movement.”
The champions of Art to Wear during the early years were a few forward-thinking museums, among them New York’s Museum of Contemporary Crafts (Museum of Art and Design), collectors, and galleries such as Sandra Sakata’s Obiko, founded in 1972 in San Francisco, and Julie Schafler Dale’s Julie: Artisans Gallery, which opened the following year on Madison Avenue in New York. For over 40 years, Dale’s gallery was a premier destination for presenting one-of-a-kind wearable works by American artists. Through her gallery installations and rotating window displays, she gave visibility to the Art to Wear movement. In 1986, she brought further recognition to the art form by publishing the seminal book Art to Wear—from which the title of this exhibition is taken—which provided in-depth profiles of artists alongside photographs by Brazilian fashion photographer Otta Stupakoff. Dale’s gallery closed in 2013.
Off the Wallis arranged in nine sections; the titles of some are derived from popular music of the ‘60s and ‘70s to suggest the wide-ranging concerns of the artists. The introductory section, The Times They Are A Changin’ (Bob Dylan, 1964), contains works by Lenore Tawney, Dorian Zachai, Claire Zeisler, Ed Rossbach, and Debra Rapoport to illustrate how textile artists in the late ‘50s and ‘60s liberated tapestry weaving from the wall, adapting it to three-dimensional sculptural forms inspired by pre-Columbian weaving. In 1969, a group of five students at Pratt Institute studying painting, sculpture, industrial design, multimedia, and graphic design taught each other how to crochet, leading to remarkable outcomes. Janet Lipkin, Jean Cacicedo, Marika Contompasis, Sharron Hedges, and Dina Knapp all created clothing-related forms that they would describe as wearable sculpture, thus establishing a cornerstone of the Art to Wear movement. Included in this section is a wool crochet and knit Samurai Top, 1972, by Sharron Hedges, modeled by the young Julie Dale for the book Creative Crochet, authored by two of the artist’s friends, Nicki Hitz Edson and Arlene Stimmel.
The next section, Good Vibrations (Beach Boys, 1966), traces the migration of many of these young artists from the East Coast to the West Coast where they joined California’s vibrant artistic community and connected with Sandra Sakata’s Obiko. A pair of colorful denim hand-embroidered mini shorts by Anna VA Polesny embroidered while traveling conveys this new youthful spirit. Pacific Rim influences are evident in the Japanese kimono form as a blank canvas offering infinite possibilities for pattern and design. Marika Contompasis’s machine-knitted kimono made of rectangular sections, Trout-Magnolia Kimono, 1977, and Janet Lipkin’s Mexico at Midday, a coat made in 1988 are exceptional examples. The section also looks at the art of performance, reflected in Ben Compton and Marian Clayden’s Nocturnal Moth, 1974,inspired by Federico Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita (1960). A range of counter-culture influences, evoking ceremony and spirituality, pervade this section.
Oh, Mother Earth (Neil Young, 1990) is a nod to the publications The Whole Earth Catalog (1968) and Mother Earth News (1970) and looks to nature and environmental concerns while another section, This Land is Your Land (Woodie Guthrie, 1944) explores iconic American imagery from the Brooklyn Bridge to the American West. Examples in those two sections include Joan Ann Jablow’s Big Bird cape, 1977, made entirely of recycled bird feathers, and Joan Steiner’s Manhattan Collar, 1979, which reimagines New York’s skyline in miniature.
In A Land Called Fantasy (Earth, Wind & Fire, 1977) explores fantasy and science fiction, two genres that offered young people an escape from the period’s cultural and political upheavals. Noteworthy here are works by Jean Cacicedo and Nina Huryn, both of whom riff on one of the most widely read English language books at the time, J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy Lord of the Rings (1965). Cacicedo responded with a portrait of Treebeard, 1973, a Tolkien character, while Huryn created her own fantasy world in Tree Outfit, with itsflowing pants, loose shirt and leather sleeveless jacket containing forest and folklore imagery, a work made especially for Julie: Artisans Gallery in 1976. Other artists turned to dreams, such as Susanna Lewis, who created Moth Cape, 1979, in response to a nightmare that she had of a giant moth enveloping her body.
Come Together (The Beatles, 1969) responds to the popular use of assemblage in art-making, especially the use of nontraditional materials. Red Ray, from the series, Seven Rays, by Kaisik Wong, is included as an example of a work that was commissioned by his close friend Salvador Dalí in 1974 for the grand opening of the Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres, Spain. Nearby is Mario Rivoli’s Overdone Jacket, 1973, made of found objects such as pins, metal bottle caps, beads, and other items.
A section called I Am Woman (Helen Reddy, 1971) underscores the ways in which artists invoked feminism directly and indirectly in Art to Wear. Janet Lipkin, for example, invested her works with symbols of freedom while searching for new directions in her life, as seen in Flamingo, 1982, and Transforming Woman, 1992. Other works like Combat Vest, 1985, by Sheila Perez, feature plastic toy soldiers as protective armor for the chest area, while Nicki Hitz Edson’s Medusa Mask, 1975, is a wild expression of fraught emotions surrounding the breakup of her marriage.
Colour My World (Chicago, 1970) reflects the buoyant rainbow color spectrum that was ubiquitous during this era. Recently published works on color theory by Johannes Itten and Josef Albers provided a cornerstone of the new art education. For Linda Mendelson, color, typography, and text became inseparable. She adapted Albers’s ideas and linked color progression with lines from a poem titled Coat by William Butler Yeats from which she drew inspiration. Other artists such as Tim Harding created an effect similar to impressionist brush strokes by slashing and fraying dyed fabrics, as seen in his colorful coat Garden: Field of Flowers, 1991.
The final section Everybody’s Talkin’ (Harry Nilsson, 1968) explores the use of text in Art to Wear. Jo-Ellen Trilling engages in visual word play using common prepositions on a jacket, while Jean Cacicedo channels her grief over her father’s death using words taken from the bible that celebrated his life in My Father’s House, 1994.
Dilys E. Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles, who organized the exhibition, said: “We are looking back at this period with a fresh lens through which to consider a uniquely American art form that continues to have a worldwide influence. With roots and connections in fine arts, fiber art, craft, performance and fashion, there are so many important artists to appreciate. For this reason I am delighted by the opportunity to cast a light on such extraordinary talents, including so many adventurous women who deserve much greater recognition.”
Publication Off the Wall: American Art to Wear is accompanied by a new publication of the same name co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press, co-authored by exhibition curators Dilys E. Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and independent textile scholar and curator Mary Schoeser, with a contribution written by Julie Schafler Dale. The volume provides the social, political, and artistic context for Art to Wear. ISBN 9780876332917.
Dilys E. Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles and Mary Schoeser, Independent Textile Historian and Curator
This exhibition has been made possible by Julie Schafler Dale, PNC, The Coby Foundation, the Arlin and Neysa Adams Endowment Fund, Catherine and Laurence Altman, the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and other generous donors.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is Philadelphia’s art museum. We are a world-renowned collection. A landmark building. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.
Thank you to the Philadelphia Museum of Art press room for the content of this post.
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