HEATHER UJIIE: TERRA INCOGNITA
Textile artist explores our relationship to the natural world
GLASSBORO, NJ – Heather Ujiie’s exhibition, Terra Incognita, opens the 2018-2019 season at Rowan University Art Gallery with a reception on Thursday, September 13 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. The artist’s work blend the disciplines of textiles, fashion design and visual art to create an ethereal, imaginary, and mythological world. The exhibit runs September 4 – November 17, 2018.
In her work, Ujiie builds upon the imagery found in Hieronymus Bosch’s painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights, and infuses it with her own vision inspired by botanical studies, living networks, sexual identities, and commonalities between living creatures. Much of what the artist is currently creating has evolved out of re-contextualizing historic printed cloth, and illuminated manuscript paintings from the Moghul Empire, to contemporary symbols of the feminine in global cultures.
Three mythological deities and animal hybrid forms – The Goddess, The Demon, and the Warrior – dominate the world created by the artist. Each of the textile installations and sculptural figures reveals the power of the female voice which can be at once loving and nurturing, while simultaneously conjuring mythologies around the femme fatale. Digitally-printed murals evoke narratives which question the human relationship to the fragile natural world, and the destruction of ecological systems, in our evolving planet.
The Coby Foundation, and The Joseph Roberts Foundation have provided support for this project. Additional support is also made possible by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Heather Ujii grew up in NYC’s Greenwich Village, part of a family of artist educators, and believes her creativity comes from a lively bohemian childhood. Her installations have been exhibited at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, Delaware Art Museum, Hunterdon Museum of Art, Racine Art Museum, Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia International Airport, and the prestigious Wind Challenge Award Exhibition at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial Museum.
As a designer, she has more than 15 years of experience creating printed textiles for the high-end home furnishing and apparel markets. Her commercial designs have been used in such projects as decorating The White House private residence for President and Mrs. George W. Bush. Ujiie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Visual Art from the State University of New York/New Paltz; an Art-Education K-12 degree from Brooklyn College; and an Associate’s Degree in Textile Surface Design from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She is on the faculty of Moore College of Art & Design and has design experience for dance, theatre, and textiles.
The gallery is located at 301 High Street West. Free 2-hour public parking is available in the Mick Drive Parking Garage across the street from the gallery. Admission to the gallery, lecture, and reception is free and open to the public. Regular gallery hours are Monday – Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Directions can be found on the gallery website. For more information, call 856-256-4521 or visit www.rowan.edu/artgallery.
Thank you to Mary Salvante for the content of this post.
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This winter, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Keith Smith at Home, the first major monographic presentation of the artist’s work in five decades. Spanning his entire career, the exhibition brings together over 60 exceptional and varied examples of his handmade artist’s books and experimental photographs, prints, collages, and fabric pieces made over the last half century. The exhibition places special emphasis on his artist’s books, the work for which he is best known. Many of these works are from the artist’s collection and have not been exhibited publicly before.
Smith is an especially private person, and one whose life at home has been the inspiration for much of his art. Central to the installation is Book Number 82, Keith Smith at Home (1982), showing a sequence of views of his residence in Rochester, New York, where he has lived since 1975. Page by page, it conveys the passage of time: views of the same room shift, household objects trade places, and friends appear and reappear in framed artwork on the house’s walls. Visitors will be able to page through this book digitally on an iPad in the gallery.
The exhibition highlights books that challenge perceptions of what a book can be. Book Number 11, Up (1969) explores the interplay of images by alternating film-positive transparencies with opaque pages. As the film-positive page is turned, it creates the appearance of an image moving from one side of the page to the next. Book Number 91: a string book (1982) consists of cord, punched holes, and blank pages. Strings are extended across each page and spread in different patterns, sometimes taut and other times slack, creating an abstract and rhythmic narrative. Smith considers his string book to be photographic, as it deals with light, shadow, focus, motif, and sequence.
Smith has referred to his work as an open diary. Self-representation is a key motif, whether appearing lighthearted or uneasy. Some self-portraits reflect the struggles and joys the artist has experienced in coming out as a gay man, as in Untitled, from Roadside Attractions (1979), a multilayered photograph in which two silhouetted male figures caress each other’s shoulders.
Smith has said, “Social intimidation is not as odious as repression that is self-inflicted. When I permitted my work to speak openly, I gained my freedom and my self-respect.”
Also on view is a selection of handmade postcards, a format that Smith has experimented with since the 1960s. He made these cards with particular recipients in mind, but, feeling unable to part with them, has kept them. In addition, the exhibition features fabric pieces from the 1960s and 1970s. Among these is Margaret Gave me a Rainbow 2:30pm 21, November 1971, a collage of a photograph of an ear, curtain tassels, and an impression of the artist’s profile made on a color photocopier affixed to an army-issue bedsheet. Smith made Eye Quilt (1965), a full-size quilt screenprinted with a dense pattern of eyes, while a student at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Keith Smith: Word Play is a related installation on view in the Museum’s Library. This intimate display highlights the ways in which Smith uses word play, poetry, typography, and sequencing to create surprising relationships between images and text in his books.
Exhibition organizer Amanda N. Bock, The Lynne and Harold Honickman Assistant Curator of Photographs, said: “While Smith may seem shy personally, his art is candid, intimate, delightfully irreverent, and transgressive. To share a large body of his work with the public is an exciting and rare opportunity, and it underscores our commitment to showing provocative work by living artists.”
Smith’s reluctance to categorize his work established him as a rogue member of both the photography and printmaking departments at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he graduated in 1967. His works are often radical departures from conventional books, and may unfold, light up, hang on the wall or in a corner, or be constructed of pencils or the shirt off the artist’s own back. Certain themes-friendship, love, desire, intimacy, and domesticity- recur. He has made over 300 artist’s books and over half a dozen seminal instructional manuals on bookbinding.
Smith’s work is represented in leading public and private collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; the Nelson-Atkins Museum; the George Eastman Museum, Rochester; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships (1972 and 1980) and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1978), and has taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester.
Book Number 91, a string book, 1982, by Keith Smith, American, b. 1938. Artist’s book with cut outs, punched holes, and string. Courtesy of Keith Smith and Philip Zimmermann.
Sunday, March 4 | 2:30 p.m. | Perelman Building
Community Conversations open discussions about socially relevant topics.
Included in Pay What You Wish admission.
Saturdays, March 17, April 21, and May 5 | 1:30-4:30 p.m. | Perelman Building
Each session includes a tour of Keith Smith at Home with the exhibition curator.
Each workshop: $20 ($16 members); includes Perelman Building admission
Amanda N. Bock, The Lynne and Harold Honickman Assistant Curator of Photographs
Julian Levy Gallery, Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building
Installation Location, Library, Second Floor, Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building
Support for this exhibition was provided by The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.
We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. 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.
Calling all Creatives: Register for the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours
October 6: West | October 7: Northwest | October 13: Northeast | October 14: South
PHILADELPHIA, PA.This October join us for the 19th annual Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST) presented by The Center for Emerging Visual Artists(CFEVA). Over four days, hundreds of artists and community partners will open their doors in over twenty neighborhoods to highlight their unique contributions to the city of Philadelphia.
POST is a behind-the-scenes look at a day in the life of a visual artist as well as a community building initiative designed to strengthen bonds within the visual artist sector, fostering meaningful interaction between artists and the public, and promoting a greater awareness for the creative minds that make Philadelphia a vibrant place to live, work, and visit. The program spotlights the vitality of Philadelphia’s visual arts scene and underscores the important contributions artists make to our city’s economic and civic life.
POST provides attendees with a rare glimpse at the creative process in an approachable and easy-to-navigate, self-guided tour. Activities include: studio visits, hands-on demonstrations, workshops, artist discussions, receptions, guided tours, and featured exhibitions. No other open studio event in the region provides a rich and diverse cultural experience to the public.
With of mission to cultivate, nurture, and advance the careers of emerging visual artists while simultaneously expanding opportunities for the public to discover and connect with art, CFEVA’s services are designed to: raise the profile of Philadelphia’s professional artists, foster artistic experimentation and innovation, and showcase how vibrant artistic communities boost cultural tourism and foster economic development. Through fellowships, residencies, educational outreach, exhibitions, professional development, and city-wide events, CFEVA provides artists with the tangible resources needed to develop viable and sustainable careers.
Philadelphia, PA – Old City Jewish Art Center (OCJAC), located at 119 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA presents Celebration of Trees, a group exhibition featuring Amie Potsic, Linda Dubin Garfield, Howard Brunner, Leslie K. Brill, and Barbara Rosin. The exhibition will include a site-specific photographic installation and series of complementary photographs by Potsic as well as prints, paintings, and mixed media works by all the featured artists. The show begins on January 31st and runs through February 5th. The opening reception will be on Wednesday, January 31st from 6:00 – 8:00 PM in celebration of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish holiday that commemorates the New Year for Trees. There will be a reception on First Friday from 5:00 – 9:00 PM followed by a Shabbat Dinner. Artist Talks will take place on Sunday, February 11th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. The closing reception will be on Sunday, February 25th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. Gallery hours are by appointment.
Amie Potsic’s work references the sensory experience of being within the forest while encouraging us to appreciate and preserve its future. Her incarnate environmental explorations entice the viewer to connect with their own perception of nature in a manner that is simultaneously intimate and enchanting. “Facing massive deforestation due to industry and global warming itself, the ill-fated future of our forests is undeniable unless we intervene. To focus attention on climate change, support improved environmental policies, and encourage an appreciation for forests and their fragility, my work emphasizes the cyclical beauty of the seasons and the delicacy of nature,” says Potsic.
Celebration of Trees is presented in honor of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees, at a time when forests are increasingly important in the fight against Climate Change. We observe this holiday “by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates. On this day, we remember that ‘Man is a tree of the field’ and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue,” explains Rabbi Zalman of Old City Jewish Art Center. In organizing this exhibition to commemorate Tu B’Shevat, OCJAC and SmART Business Consulting chose these artists because their work encourages the appreciation of trees.
Amie Potsic is a photographer and environmental artist based in the Philadelphia area whose work addresses cultural, personal, and natural phenomena through the lens of social responsibility. With 18 solo exhibitions and over 100 group exhibitions, Potsic has exhibited her work internationally at the Art Park in Rhodes, Greece; The Royal College of London, England; Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Colombia; Medfoundart di Cagliari, Italy; the Museum of New Art in Detroit; The Woodmere Art Museum, The National Constitution Center Museum, The Painted Bride, The Gershman Y, James Oliver Gallery in Philadelphia; Mission 17 in San Francisco; and 626 Gallery in Los Angeles. Her work has been published in or awarded by publications including The San Francisco Chronicle, Art Matters, The PhotoReview, andThe Philadelphia Inquirer. Potsic received her MFA in Photography from the San Francisco Art Institute and BA’s in Photojournalism and English Literature from Indiana University. She has held faculty appointments at the University of California at Berkeley, Ohlone College, and the San Francisco Art Institute and has been a guest lecturer at The University of the Arts, The Delaware Contemporary, and The International Center of Photography. Potsic is the CEO and Principal Curator of Amie Potsic Art Advisory, LLC as well as Chair of the Artistic Advisory Board of the Art In City Hall program of the Office of Arts and Culture of the City of Philadelphia.
Founded in 2006, the Old City Jewish Art Center was envisioned as a platform to build Jewish community through the arts. Building steadily since then, the OCJAC gallery has become an exhibition space for serious artists, holds monthly First Friday art receptions with a Jewish twist and provides social and Jewish holiday programs throughout the year. OCJAC is now a landmark gallery in the Philadelphia art scene and is the only gallery dedicated to Jewish artistic expression and cultural exchange in Philadelphia. Using the arts as a springboard, the Old City Jewish Art Center advances and promotes the universal messages of Judaism and spiritually to the broadest possible audience.
Celebration of Treeswill be on view January 31st through February 5th. The opening reception will be on Wednesday, January 31st from 6:00 – 8:00 PM in celebration of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish holiday that commemorates the New Year for Trees. There will be a reception on First Friday from 5:00 – 9:00 PM followed by a Shabbat Dinner. Artist Talks will take place on Sunday, February 11th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. The closing reception will be on Sunday, February, 25th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. Gallery hours are by appointment.
Homeless (Michelle), Carolyn Harper Cohen, batik and hand dyed fabric that has been pieced, appliqued and quilted by hand, 60″ x 52″
The Dispossessed by Carolyn Harper Cohen
Muse Gallery is pleased to present The Dispossessed by Carolyn Harper Cohen. The exhibition will run from November 1st – November 27th, 2017 with an opening reception First Friday, November 3rd from 5-8:00 p.m.
Carolyn Harper Cohen’s work has a strong social justice component to it as she creates images of people or groups who have been marginalized, discriminated against, or abused. Each of the works in this exhibit is of a particular Philadelphian; someone living in an area homeless shelter or on the streets. Many of these individuals are children. The works provide faces to those who are faceless, nameless and powerless, and bear witness to those who are suffering. The beauty that the artistic process brings to the images creates a tension with the inherent cruelty of the lives of the subjects; in admiring the works, the viewer becomes almost complicit in their abuse and neglect.
Homeless (Alexus), hand pieced, hand sewn quilt, 40″ x 48″, Carolyn Harper Cohen
The works consist of either hand embroidered batiks or hand sewn large art quilts. The methods are layered, as are the colors. The work is tactile and raw rather than slick; the fabric hand dyed, each stitch obsessively sewn by hand. The engrossing surface quality slows down perception, encouraging viewers to react to the work in a very deliberate way.
This work can be seen within the context of ‘craftivism’: a term coined in 2003 by writer Betsy Greer which can be defined as “a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper and your quest for justice more infinite.”
Craft has traditionally been viewed as ‘women’s work’ and as such was marginalized and undervalued, but the craft techniques in this work can be seen as subverting the traditional genre of portraiture. Piecing fabric together creates an image that is quite different, and less real, than a painting, which oftentimes seeks to imitate and/or idealize the person being portrayed. Instead, Carolyn Harper Cohen has searched to find the individual and emotional human character of each individual.