Tag Archives: Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition

Imaginary Reality

Tim Portlock, Imaginary RealityTim Portlock, Gold, Inkjet Print, 54″ x 72”, © Tim Portlock 2012

Main Line Art Center Unveils Award for 10th Annual
Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition 

Imaginary Reality Features Nic Coviello, Tim Portlock & Jennie Thwing
Curated by: Amie Potsic, Executive Director of Main Line Art Center

April 1 – 30, 2014. Artist Talk and Gallery Tour: Friday, April 4, 5:30-6:30 pm. Opening Reception: Friday, April 4, 6:30-8:30 pm

Associated Programs: 

  • iPainting on the Go Workshop with Nic Coviello: Thurs., April 17, 6-8:30 pm. 
  • Technology in Art: Visionary Influence Lecture with Tim Portlock: Mon., April 21, 6-7:30 pm. 
  • Still Animation Workshop with Jennie Thwing: Thurs., April 24, 6-8:30 pm

Featuring Nic Coviello, Tim Portlock, and Jennie Thwing,  Imaginary Realityrunning April 1 to 30, is the 10th annual Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition at Main Line Art Center. Curated by Amie Potsic, Executive Director of Main Line Art Center, Imaginary Reality explores the expansion of artistic dialogue yielded by combining traditional mediums and digital arts, and coincides with the introduction of the Center’s new digital media program.  In honor of the 10th anniversary, the Center is proud to announce the expansion of the exhibition program to include the Meyer Family Award for Contemporary Art.

Trained in the classic artistic mediums, each artist adopted digital technology as a means of deepening their investigations of invented landscapes, imaginary narratives, and personal identity.  In essence, they have created unique visual languages that combine painting, printmaking, digital photography, stop animation video, 3D gaming technology, performance, and installation. Contextualizing digital imagery in service of storytelling and discovery, their work exists in between and among mediums to create new and unexpected realities that challenge our definitions of self, place, and human experience.

For the past decade, Main Line Art Center has presented an exhibition each spring in memory of Teaching Artist Betsy Meyer featuring the work of forward-thinking artists who are pushing boundaries within their artistic practice.  As an artist, Betsy exemplified what is most exciting about engaging with the artwork of living artists:  watching them experiment with their media and tackling complicated and tough subjects.  As a teacher, she encouraged her students to follow her example and expand their practice into new frontiers.  And finally, as a member of the board and exhibition committee, she assured that the Art Center was there for the artistic community of Philadelphia.

Nic Coviello, Imaginary RealityNic Coviello, Pole Walker, Acrylic and Digital Media on Panel, 24″ x 18″, © Nic Coviello 2012

Imaginary Reality marks an expansion of the program to include the Meyer Family Award for Contemporary Art, which consists of a solo exhibition and award of $1000 to each selected artist.  The growth of this program is an effort to support the talented contemporary artists in the Mid-Atlantic region, to honor deserving artists in the field, and to encourage excellence and experimentation in artistic practice, presentation, and community involvement.  The application period begins April 1 and runs through September 22, 2014. The Main Line Art Center is thankful to Betsy Meyer’s family for their generous and unyielding support of the Art Center and Betsy’s artistic legacy and looks forward to granting this new award to artists annually.

The Main Line Art Center will host an artist talk and gallery tour on Friday, April 4 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, followed by a public reception from 6:30 to 8:30 pm featuring samplings from the center’s wine sponsor, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly.  The artist talk, reception and gallery visits are free and open to the public. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 8 pm, and Friday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.  Additional programs for Imaginary Reality include an iPainting on the Go Workshop with Nic Coviello on Thursday, April 17 from 6 to 8:30 pm; Technology in Art: Visionary Influence, a free lecture with Tim Portlock on Monday, April 21 from 6 to 7:30 pm; and a Still Animation Workshop with Jenny Thwing on Thursday, April 24, from 6 to 8:30 pm.  For more information about these programs, including registration, visit www.mainlinert.org or call 610.525.0272.

Colored with life experiences and the joy of studio practices, Nic Coviello’s goal is to provide the viewer with an alternate narrative on a commonplace subject.  Parklands, botanical forms, and animals provide the context for his work.  Coviello fuses traditional methods of drawing, painting, and printmaking with photographic and digital imaging techniques to get at an “elusive” real and a “concrete” imagined nature.  Appropriating photographic data and explorations in computer graphics complement his field drawing, painting, and collected fragments of nature.  Coviello creates background landscapes with painterly techniques and portrays the foreground figures with high-contrast black and white photographic elements.  Born in Connecticut, Coviello came to Philadelphia to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where he earned coordinated BFA and MFA degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.  He now lives and works in Philadelphia and has exhibited widely at venues including the Philadelphia International Airport, The Painting Center in New York, and the Korean University of the Arts in Seoul, Korea.  Coviello taught Digital Design as a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and was an Artist Member and Board Member of the Nexus Foundation for the Arts from 2004 until 2009.

Tim Portlock’s lifelong interest in the dialogue between place and the formation of identity is the fuel behind his creative endeavors.  Educated primarily as a traditional visual artist, Portlock has worked in the past as a community-based muralist as well as a studio painter.  His current body of work includes large format print images created using 3D gaming technology to simulate real world and imagined spaces based on the Las Vegas strip and surrounding desert. Recent work also includes large, outdoor video projections onto buildings that create temporary public art.   Portlock received a BFA in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute, an MFA in Art and Design from the University of Chicago, and an MFA in Electronic Visualization from the University of Illinois.  Portlock is currently an Associate Professor in the Film and Media Department at Hunter College (CUNY- New York City), and previously worked at the University of Paris-Sorbonne.  A 2011 recipient of a Pew Fellowship, Portlock has exhibited widely throughout the US and internationally including Ars Electronica in Austria, ISEA in Japan, and the Tate Modern as a member of the Artist Collective Vox Populi.

Jennie Thwing, Imaginary RealityJennie Thwing, My Black Hole:  Cold, Archival Pigment Print, 36” x 48”, © Jennie Thwing 2013

Jennie Thwing is a New York-based artist and film maker.  Using video, installation, and animation she creates imaginary narratives that reference her history, ideology, social context, family mythologies, and dreams.  Her subject matter ranges from miniature animated dioramas to historical reenactments.  All of her work involves the anthropomorphism of nature, refuse, and human environments.  Currently an Assistant Professor of Visual Communication at SUNY Farmingdale College as well as an Associate Professor of Art at Rowan University, Thwing received her BFA in Graphic Design at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, and went on to receive her MFA in Imaging and Digital Arts at University of Maryland. Her work has been widely exhibited in the US and abroad at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Seattle, the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Fondazion Mudima per l’Arte Contemporarnea in Milan, The Independent Museum of Contemporary Art (IMCA) in Cyprus and the New York Studio Gallery.  Thwing was also recently chosen as a Center for Emerging Visual Artists Fellow and a 2014 Queens Arts Fund Grant recipient.

Amie Potsic, curator of the exhibition, began her tenure as Executive Director of Main Line Art Center in July of 2012.  Prior to that, she served as Director of Gallery 339 and Director of the Career Development Program at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA) in Philadelphia where she curated exhibitions and planned professional development programming for emerging and professional artists. Potsic has curated over 70 exhibitions at venues including The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Moore College of Art & Design. Potsic is also an established photographic artist who has exhibited her work nationally and internationally.  In addition, she is currently Chair of the Art In City Hall Artistic Advisory Board to the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture & the Creative Economy.

Main Line Art Center is a welcoming and inclusive creative home where everyone is encouraged to create, experience, and discover the value of art.  Committed to making art more accessible, the Art Center has over 75 years of experience presenting art programs for individuals of all ages and abilities, including a unique series of Accessible Art programs for children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities, at-risk youth, and low income families now celebrating their 50th anniversary.  Throughout the year, Main Line Art Center presents innovative, contemporary art exhibitions in their award-winning gallery, as well as exhibitions that celebrate community.  Last year over 16,000 people chose Main Line Art Center as their home for creativity.

Main Line Art Center is located at 746 Panmure Road in Haverford, behind the Wilkie Lexus dealership just off of Lancaster Avenue. The Art Center is easily accessible from public transportation and offers abundant free parking. For more information about Imaginary Reality or the Meyer Family Award for Contemporary Art, please visit www.mainlineart.org or call 610.525.0272.

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Urban Pop, Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition, Main Line Art Center

Leslie Friedman, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

Leslie Friedman, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

“For its visually dazzling decoration and intellectually for its information overload, the strategies of Pop influence my art making.” – Leslie Friedman artist statement

The Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition at the Main Line Art Center features three artists whose work takes ideas, concepts, talent and technique to make art pop, The skate punk influenced room designed by Leslie Friedman is like going in a Clockwork Orange style club with ramps and wheat paste style graphics. The gallery vibrates with kinetic, color and cultural energy. The graphics are about ‘Jewish identity and it’s relationship to mainstream America’. Leslie takes cultural memes and marks them up with street style, graffiti and hip-hop. The Star of David floor tiles are perfect for break dancing.

DISTORT, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

DISTORT, The Passage, acrylic on canvas mounted on aerosol cans, $400.00, Urban PopMain Line Art Center, photo by Spike Howard.

The exploded spray paint cans up-cycles an artifact from the culture of tagging to reveal the dreams of being an artist. Pop art is about being popular, tagging is anti-social yet highly visible, like the way pop stars do outrageous stunts to capture our attention, taggers exploit the public sphere for attention.  DISTORT blows up that myth by painting emotional, deep and storied artworks that recall the masters of the Renaissance but in a cool contemporary concept.

DISTORT, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

DISTORTUrban PopMain Line Art Center

DISTORT repurposes old car parts like bumpers and hoods to paint on. And it’s not graffiti, it’s classical painting that tells a story in a beautiful illustrative style with thoughtful narratives. DISTORT brings back the historical context of pop art and it’s reaction of fine art against advertising and manipulated media images and presents a ‘constant barrage of tragic events’.

“As a regular car-driving American, I am aware that my life is cantilevered by war.” – DISTORT artist statement.

Jay Walker, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

Jay Walker, Pyrotokos, tape, Urban PopMain Line Art Center

“Bring us the fire and light these rags aflame. Show us yourself with headlamps of your presence.

Prometheus gave a vision of a hero, bound for giving us hope and light.

Pyrotokos moves mysteriously as his gift, I am thankful for what it destroys.

Speak uttterances and grunts known to the fire, I need an advocate with a flaming tongue.

Destroy and build, create and tear down, bring the change.” – Jay Walker artist statement.

Pyrotokos is a drawing made with tape that extends across the walls and ceiling and down the other side onto the floor. The use of low level materials like packing tape and duct tape to create a spiritual message of redemption and resurrection by walking through the fire is really the essence of pop culture. Amie Potsic, the curator of Urban Pop at Main Line Art Centerby bringing together artists who reflect their generation through their art yet break through new cultural barriers the same way Pop artists in the 1950’s rebelled against the attitudes of their time.

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Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted. Thank you to Spike Howard for contributing to DoNArTNeWs.

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