Tag Archives: Rowan University Art Gallery



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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Diane Burko, Rowan University Art GalleryColumbia Glacier Lines of Recession 1980-2005

Vast and Vanishing


Diane Burko uses art to examine monumental geological phenomena

GLASSBORO, NJ – Exploring the confluence of arts, science, and activism Rowan University Art Gallery showcases the work of environmental artist Diane Burko in Vast and Vanishing. On display from March 8 – April 21.

Diane Burko’s artistic practice is at the intersection of art, science, and activism focused on climate change. For over a decade, she has been documenting glacial recession in large-scale paintings and photographs developed in collaboration with scientists, studying their research, and utilizing their data. She is especially committed to understanding and incorporating climate science and sees this intersection as crucial to her artistic development. Her activism led her to make research expeditions to the ice fields of Antarctica, Greenland, Patagonia, and Svalbard where she documented and collected data for her work.

By employing many of the methods used by climate scientists such as recession lines, satellite imaging, and repeat photography, Burko’s research, coupled with her experiences, are translated into monumental paintings and photographs. The results are emotionally expansive works that function as a visual record of glacial recession, a call to action, and metaphor for the socio-political discourse on climate change. Curated by Mary SalvanteVast and Vanishing comprises works that capture the inexhaustible dichotomies and the inescapable tension that Diane witnessed in these extreme frozen environments.

Diane Burko, Rowan University Art GalleryOrtophoto Kongsfjorden 1869 _1990 (after NPI)

Brooklyn-born. Philadelphia-based Burko focuses her work on monumental geological phenomenon. Since 2006 her practice has been at the intersection of art and science, devoted to the urgent issues of climate change. Her current work reflects expeditions to the three largest ice fields in the world. She has sailed around Svalbard with artists and also spent four days in Ny-Alesund with scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute. She has visited Greenland’s Ilulissat and Eqi Sermia glaciers and first traveled to the Antarctic Peninsula in 2013, returning in January 2015, and explored the Patagonian ice field of Argentina. Burko’s expeditions can be followed at www.dianeburko.com/polarinvestigations.

Aside from showing her art, Burko has gained attention from the scientific community, often speaking on how the arts can communicate science. She is an affiliate of INSTAAR, and has participated in numerous conferences such as those hosted by the Geological Society of America and American Geophysical Union. She is committed to public engagement, using both facts and images to make the invisible visual and visceral.

Diane Burko, Rowan University Art GalleryPetermann Calving

Rowan University Art 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. Eynon Ballroom is located in Chamberlain Student Center on the university campus. Admission to the gallery, discussion, and receptions 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.

Support for programming at Rowan University Art Galleries is made possible by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thank you to Mary Salvante for the content of this post.

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How Food Moves: Edible LogisticsImage: Amber Art and Design, Corner Store Project

How Food Moves: Edible Logistics

Amber Art & Design / Ryan Griffis & Sarah Ross
Brian Holmes / Otabenga Jones & Associates / Cynthia Main
Claire PentecostPhilly Stake / Stephanie Rothenberg
Candice Smith with Freedom Arts / Kristen Neville Taylor

Daniel Tucker, Guest Curator, Graduate Program Director in Social and Studio Practices at Moore College of Art and Design
March 27 – May 27, 2017
Public Program and Reception: Thursday, March 30, 2017, 6:00 – 8:30pm
Our public program begins at 6:00 pm followed by the reception
Rowan University Art Gallery, 301 High Street West, First Floor, Glassboro, NJ 08028
Admission to the gallery and reception is free and open to the public.
The public program begins at 6:00 pm, led by guest curator Daniel Tucker in dialogue on art, geography, and agricultural planning with Professor Megan Bucknum Ferrigno from Rowan University’s School of Geography and Environment, and with exhibiting artists.

Artists explore the US food supply chain and its complex patterns of distribution in between the point of origin (the farm) and its point of consumption (the plate). The exhibition aims to highlight the work of contemporary artists grappling with the complexity of this movement through multi-media, research-based, and participatory practices that focus a lens on the social and industrial impacts of migrant workers, food justice movements, immigration, multiculturalism, and economic disparities. This project builds upon Tucker’s event series, Moving Units: Where Food & Economy Converge. A companion booklet, produced by Rowan University Art Gallery, serves to provide a general overview of US food supply chains. It includes descriptions of the artist contributions to the exhibition that relate to each step on the chain. Throughout this booklet you read about an approach to geographic education that values connecting with the world outside the classroom. The booklet was researched and written by Megan Bucknum Ferrigno, part-time faculty member of Rowan University’s Department of Geography, Planning and Sustainability. Additional contributions made by Dr. Chuck McGlynn, Dr. Jennifer Kitson and Makenzie Franco.

About the Artists and Projects

With Corner Store, Amber Art & Design – a team of Philadelphia-based artists that work on public art within marginalized communities that have little or no access to art – explores the contemporary sociological and psychological intersection between pan-ethnic Black and Asian communities in Philadelphia and how relationships are shaped based on which side of the counter we stand. (image top)

Illinois-based artists Ryan Griffis and Sarah Ross are represented by Between the Bottomlands and the World, a video (combining photographs, narrative writing, and moving images) exploring the rural Midwestern town of Beardstown, IL, a place of global exchange and international mobility, inscribed by post-NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) realities.

Brian Holmes, an art and cultural critic with a Ph.D. in Romance Languages has a long-standing interest in neoliberal globalization and a taste for on-the-ground intervention. His online atlas, Living Rivers, is devoted to the Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds and shows these fluid ecosystems as they are inhabited by a multitude of creatures and radically altered by human enterprise.

Otabenga Jones & Associates, a Houston-based educational art organization, documents a collaborative art project and public health program addressing the ongoing crisis of obesity and its related risks with “The People’s Plate.” Inspired by the Black Panther Free Breakfast for School Children Program, this art project includes a public mural in Houston and programs to kick off a year-long commitment to health education.

Cynthia Main, a multidisciplinary artist from Missouri focuses on relating to the land as part of an integral view of a more sustainable society. She shares her hand-made buckets and barrels created using traditional techniques to readdress storage as one of the current dilemmas of localizing production.

Chicago’s Claire Pentecost uses photography to show how industrial agriculture is only partly about supplying food and how it is structured to meet the problem of expense and excess capital accumulation when considering the cost of complex machinery, brand name chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and patented seeds.

How Food Moves: Edible Logistics

Philly Stake is a locally-sourced, recurring dinner that raises funds for creative and relevant community engaged projects that contributes to the well-being of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods through community arts, urban agriculture, social services, and activist work.

Stephanie Rothenberg’s Reversal of Fortune: The Garden of Virtual Kinship is a garden in the form of a global map that explores the question of what it means to be charitable through the click of a button and examines the cultural phenomena of online crowd-funded charity and how the flow of money impacts the project, positively and negatively.

How Food Moves: Edible LogisticsStephanie Rothenberg

Candice Smith runs Freedom Arts, an after school collaborative art program at Camden’s Freedom Prep Middle School, which is creating an installation responding to the idea that Camden is a “food desert” and examining the movement of food at their school and in their community.

Philadelphia-based Kristen Neville Taylor’s installation – a globe depicting routes of oranges and actual oranges outfitted with a QR code that links to music, articles, folk tales, and art – was inspired by a lyric from Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” (“and she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China”) which she associated with the market place and the movement of food but also romance and exotic foreign cultures.

Admission to the gallery and reception is free and open to the public. 
Free parking is now available in the parking garage on Mick Drive directly across from the gallery. For visitor information go to our website: www.rowan.edu/artgallery.

Thank you to Mary Salvante, Rowan University Art Gallery for the content of this post.

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In/Dwelling: Meditations on Built Environments as Cultural Narrative

The Galleries at Rowan presents

In/Dwelling: Meditations on Built Environments as Cultural Narrative
February 22 – April 14, 2016

Introducing our new location 301 High Street, Glassboro New Jersey

Artist’s talk and reception Thursday, February 25, 5 – 8 pm

Rowan University Art Gallery at High Street explores built environments, both external and internal, as emblems of a cultural past, present, and future with In/Dwelling: Meditations on Built Environments as Cultural Narrative. The exhibition is on display from February 22 to April 14, with an artist’s lecture and reception onFebruary 25 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

We are compelled to imagine a time when architectural spaces and objects were new representations of manufacturing, design, and aesthetic tastes and trends. The urban / suburban motifs have time and again provided artists with the perfect vehicle in which to explore universal topics such as: the complexity of infrastructure, commerce, demographics, and identity as inspiration to create new work. In this exhibition the participating artists imbue architectural structures and domestic objects with interpretations of historical experiences, social customs, and emotional memories as a cultural narrative. Artists include Philadelphia based artists: Lewis Colburn, Ben Grasso, Kay Healy, Erin Murray, and Miriam Singer. Chicago based artist Ann Toebbe, and New York based artist Brian Tolle. A work by Louise Bourgeois is included courtesy of the gallery permanent collection.

The catalyst behind the framing of this exhibition concept was the print Femme Maison, 1984, by Louise Bourgeois from the gallery collection. Femme Maison, which means both “woman-house” and “house-wife,” is one of Louise Bourgeois’s most famous motifs. For the artist, who was raised in France, the home was closely connected to female identity. By combining residential architecture and the curvaceous female body, Bourgeois portrays a woman who is obscured and entrapped by the domestic realm that she simultaneously supports.

The selected artists for this exhibition approach domesticity, architecture, and everyday objects from singular and accumulative perspectives. Brian Tolle creates a cross-wiring of reality and fiction in his sculptures and installations and blurs the border between the contemporary and historical with recurring themes of architecture, site, and technology. Lewis Colburn, of Philadelphia, sees objects as unreliable tour guides. He investigates ways in which we re-interpret and re-tell the past through the filter of our current experience. Ben Grasso, of Brooklyn, NY, presents a re-imagining of what actually exists and recasts these things in new terms creating a re-alignment of logic that makes plastic the anxiety underlying objects in the world through his painting. Miriam Singer, looks perceptually at multiple locations in Philadelphia and expresses the fragmentation of a fictional city as a collage of noise, pattern, and density.

By recounting memories of unique, collective, or habitual memories these artists investigate identity and history through interior and exterior experiences. Kay Healy, a Philadelphia based artist, creates large-scale screen printed and stuffed fabric furniture based on other people’s descriptions of their childhood homes and investigates how we relate to objects and cope with the fact that there is no way to truly return home. Ann Toebbe, a Chicago based artist, creates meticulous paintings using reconstructed memory and multiple perspectives to depict domestic and architectural spaces in cut-out paper doll fashion. Erin Murray, of Philadelphia, relates to buildings and built forms as being understood to represent our physical body, our cultural history, our economic reality, and our long-formed habits.

Brian Tolle, from New York, offers a lecture on February 25. He has completed several public art installations in New York, including the Irish Hunger Memorial in New York City. He has exhibited around the world and his work is included in numerous museum collections. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from SUNY at Albany; a B.F.A. from Parsons the New School for Design, NY; and an M.F.A. from Yale University in New Haven, CT.

The lecture will be presented at Westby Hall Room 111 beginning at 5:00 p.m. A reception follows at 301 High Street in Glassboro at 6:00 p.m.

Shuttle vans will be provided for guests traveling from Westby Hall to High Street. Return service will not be provided, but High Street is only a 15-minute walk away. Free public parking is available on High Street and neighboring streets. Municipal parking areas are available off Lake Street (behind Little Beefs Deli) and near the Barnes and Noble shopping complex between New Street and Rowan Blvd.

In/Dwelling: Meditations on Built Environments as Cultural NarrativeImages: top, Brian Tolle, Outgrown, platinum silicon rubber, toys. Courtesy the artist and CRG gallery. Bottom: Ann Toebbe, Jim’s Apartment, paper, gouache and pencil on panel.

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CHROMOGRAPHY: WRITING IN COLOR, Rowan University Art GalleryMelinda Steffy and Gerard Brown, Sketch for The Hours, 2014, colored pencil on paper.

The Text for Translation

Written by Jane Irish

“The task of the translator consists in finding that intended effect upon the language into which he is translating which produces the echo of the original.”—Walter Benjamin, The Task of the Translator, 1923 (translated by Harry Zohn)


I am an artist writing this essay. In my work, I try to practice openness, to travel eagerly through territories of another’s culture. By painting about Vietnam, France, and the United States resistance histories, I practice to rectify the problem with European-based training of art history and history in general. Looking at Brown and Steffy’s work takes me to some stories that I often repeat. They are my core experiences with translation.

I. Counterpoint

In 2008, I traveled for my first time to Vietnam. I was inspired by John Balaban’s Remembering Heaven’s Face and reading his poetry and his translations of Ca Dao Vietnamase folk poetry. Just after, I saw him speak in Philadelphia. He was in his 60s. Some people are connectors, and John is one of these. He is highly thought of, a sage, someone who has stuck with his subject matter.

I have looked up to him. In 1994, nearly 15 years before meeting John, Linh Dinh was another person I looked up to. He was a young poet and painter living in Philadelphia; he was rough-talking and tough on his feet. I had him to my studio long before I started on a Vietnam narrative. He liked my paintings that day in my studio; he thought I had moxie.

CHROMOGRAPHY: WRITING IN COLOR, Rowan University Art GalleryMelinda Steffy, Prelude in C Major (red), No. 1, 2013, watercolor on paper, based on music by J.S. Bach.

Both of these idols of mine went on to translate the poems of Vietnam’s favorite poet, Hồ Xuân Hương. John was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War but served in Vietnam with the Friends International Volunteer Services, first as a teacher, then saving burned children. Linh Dinh was born in Saigon in 1963 and in 1975 came to the U.S.

In 2010, I was visiting John Balaban in North Carolina. I had come to learn from the sage and to deliver a gift to him—a vase I had made with the collected Ca Dao poetry. When I arrived he was wearing a heart monitor, as he was in the midst of tests for a serious heart condition. I spent the evening learning about his days studying Mekong folk culture, his continued alliances with activists, and about Hồ Xuân Hương. The next morning, I learned how utterly emotional

the competition can become between translators. I mentioned Linh Dinh at the kitchen table and John flew into rage, heart monitor bleeping. They were both in the midst of working on the translating the same 18th century Vietnamese poetess. Returning home, I saw on many literature blogs that an ongoing insult fest was in high gear.

CHROMOGRAPHY: WRITING IN COLOR, Rowan University Art GalleryMelinda SteffyParallel Motion, No. 11, 2014, based on music by Béla Bartók.

II. Dissonance

There are three artists I visit in Hue, Vietnam: two twins (the Le Brothers, born in 1975 in Bình Trị Thiên) and one printmaker. They pick me up or have a student pick me up, and I ride on the back of a motorbike to a curatorial camp for a discussion of communist post modernism on a reclaimed French plantation. Or they send me on a boat trip up the Perfume River with a calligrapher and his family (wife, brother with Agent Orange disfigurement, father, grandfather, and student). In 2012, artist Phan Hai Bang invited me to work in his printmaking and bamboo papermaking studio in Hue, Vietnam. This was my third trip. On the first I had mused on finding motifs in dissident Vietnam Veterans’ literature. Then I traveled the poetry of Hồ Xuân Hương. Now I was intent on replacing right-wing myths with nuances. I was into serious iconography, combining images of monks and anti- war veterans, signifying a combination of spirituality and post traumatic stress disorder. The young artists working with Phan and me said, “You are killing he said, “a score!” His closest aesthetic hero/col-the monks,” which they found very funny.

III. Notation, with alertness after speaking with Gerard Brown and Melinda Steffy David Stearns and I were to go to the orchestra. He is a classical music critic. That evening we met for dinner, and later quickly stepped into his apartment so he could retrieve a Brahms score. His parlor had dim light, lots of upholstery and lamps, very French bohemian. As my eyes adjusted, what appeared to be floor-to-ceiling bookcases on three walls of the room became a multicolored grid of a smaller scale, made of thousands of CDs of classical music. I still want to paint that room.

David grabbed a large folio of sheet music from the back room and we walked to the Kimmel Center. In the dark of the theatre, he followed the large-scale score and wrote notes on his playbill. Soon after, David told me, “the score, it’s a blueprint.”Just now, I chat with my office neighbor at Penn, Bill Whitaker at the Architectural Archives. I asked him what a blueprint was, and no backstory given,he said, “a score!” His closest aesthetic hero/colleague, the landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, was solid on this idea—that a blueprint was time-based. “One doesn’t see a building or a garden like a photograph,” Bill said, “the architect’s blue drawing tells us the process by traveling through it.”

Coda: In visual art, knowing the backstory isn’t really necessary, it is more important to be completely present. But Brown and Steffy’s work embody a process supporting our journey; we can see how conceptualism is a way to travel through painting.

Jane Irish. A self-described history painter, Jane Irish has been making work on the theme of heroic resistance movements since 1998, building on her interest in using art to explore the concepts of social class and political art. She has exhibited her work in NewYork and Philadelphia since 1983. The recipient of many awards and fellowships, she received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her MFA from Queens College, CUNY.

CHROMOGRAPHY: WRITING IN COLOR, Rowan University Art GalleryGerard Brown, After Edith Wharton (In reality they all lived in a kind of hieroglyphic world…), 2015, Digital print on Dibond.

About the Exhibition

‘Chromography’ examines the relationship between graphic communication and sound. Writing is an ancient and elegant system of recording the human voice, and it has spawned other systems for the notation of music and movement. Most of these systems are so successful they seem to achieve invisibility – we can imagine the ‘voice’ of the writer when we read a page, or ‘hear’ the music described in a score. The system of representation disappears into the thing being represented. The authority of these systems is unchallenged; it rests on communicating their messages ‘in black and white’.

CHROMOGRAPHY: WRITING IN COLOR, Rowan University Art GalleryGerard Brown, After Robert Smithson (Language should find itself in the physical world…), 2015, Digital print on Dibond.

‘Chromography’ insists on a place for color in the description of sound and music. This complicates the relationship between seeing and reading because colors bring associations along with them. Are they bright or dull? Warm or cool? In sunshine or shade? What does it mean that a piece of music is composed mostly reds, oranges and yellows?

What do we see when the letters are switched with color symbols? Could such changes reveal patterns that tell us something new about communication? Translation scholar Lawrence Venuti argues that the translator’s invisibility results in important decisions being hidden from view. By pushing back against the conventions of writing and musical notation and exploring the space that such actions open, we hope to learn more about the content we represent.

CHROMOGRAPHY: WRITING IN COLOR, Rowan University Art GalleryGerard BrownAfter Judith Butler (An active and sensate democracy requires that we learn how to read well…), 2015, four screen prints on paper

About the Artists

Gerard Brown, a writer and painter, is an Assistant Professor at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. His work explores how the mind moves from seeing to reading by concealing writing in patterns and color. His paintings and drawings have been exhibited at the Woodmere Art Museum, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, and the Icebox (all in Philadelphia), as well as Finlandia University Art Gallery (Michigan) and 5.4.7 Art Center (Kansas). He has also organized exhibits for the Center for Art in Wood (Philadelphia) and Hicks Art Center at Bucks County Community College.

Melinda Steffy, a visual artist and classically-trained musician from Philadelphia, has had artwork displayed across the Northeast and beyond, including the Icebox, the Hall at the Crane Arts Building, and Sam Quinn Gallery (Philadelphia); Delaware Center for Contemporary Art and Fringe Wilmington (Delaware); Lancaster Museum of Art and Villanova University (Pennsylvania); Finlandia University (Michigan); Micro Museum (New York); and Stamford Art Association (Connecticut). She is an artist member of InLiquid and a LEADERSHIP Philadelphia fellow. An accomplished musician, Steffy currently serves as Executive Director for the innovative music non-profit LiveConnections and sings with the Chestnut Street Singers.

This program is made possible in part with funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Additional funding was provided by The Vice Provost for the Arts Grant from Temple University, Philadelphia. Rowan University Art Gallery Westby Hall Rowan University call 856-256-4521 or visit www.rowan.edu/artgallery

Thank you Mary Salvante and Jane Irish for the content of this post on DoNArTNeWs

Mary Salvante is Curator, Gallery and Exhibitions Program Director Rowan University Art Gallery, 201 Mullica Hill Road, Westby Hall. Glassboro, NJ  08028

Rowan University Art Gallery is a premier cultural destination for the
Rowan University community and greater South Jersey region presenting the
work of professional contemporary artists.

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