In Front of Strangers, I Sing Exhibition at Woodmere

June 17, 2013
"In Front of Strangers, I Sing" exhibition catalogue. Courtesy of Professor Dona Nelson.

“In Front of Strangers, I Sing” exhibition catalogue. Courtesy of Professor Dona Nelson.

The Woodmere Art Museum is hosting the works of 52 artists in the show “In Front of Strangers, I Sing.”

Painters and Tyler School of Art professors Dona Nelson and Rubens Ghenov were among the jurors that helped select the art that would be in the show.

“It’s a juried show rather than a curated show,” Nelson said. “We  received almost 600 applications.”

The contemporary art featured in this show was selected to illustrate the strains of artists in Philadelphia.

“We tried to develop themes like how art appears in photography these days, and also the whole nature of photography because one doesn’t usually question the  actual nature of a photograph,” Nelson said.

Nelson and Ghenov both had their own work included the show, but Nelson believes there are other, more important pieces to see.

“I have one painting and the other artist who juried [Ghenov] has several other paintings, however there is a big wall piece Frank Bramblett did,” Nelson said. “It is really Frank’s piece that dominates the room, not mine or Ruben’s.”

Nelson also points out work like Andre Ponticello’s “Widowmaker Purple #1 (Sal’s ’69 GTO)” which reflects a car paint job that his uncle did in the 60′s and was described to Ponticello by his father, and Jamie Felton’s (MFA ’13) painting “The Towel That We Sank On” that really shows how art flows out of an idea or feeling.

“It is an expressive show,” Nelson said. “It’s a difficult show for some people because of how emotional it is in nature.”

The “In Front of Strangers, I Sing” exhibition can be found at the Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Avenue, through September 1.


Tyler Students Curate “Charles Searles: In Motion”

June 6, 2013

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Tyler’s atrium is currently the backdrop for the “Charles Searles: In Motion” exhibit, a show curated by Tyler students.

The curators included Rachel McCay, Louise Feder, James Short, Nicole Restaino, Will Schwaller, Alicia Bonilla-Puig, Elise Houck, and Alex Cohn.

“It was interesting for me to participate in this project because I have never been a part of curating a small show, let alone a show that would be exhibited in a place like Tyler, with an artist like Charles Searles,” Cohn said. “I’m happy to have it as part of my Tyler experience. Everyone brought something different to the curation.”

Charles Searles (1937-2004) was an African American artist from West Philadelphia. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and then taught at Philadelphia College of Art, now the University of the Arts. The exhibit features Searles’ later sculptures and large-scale paintings.

The show was developed by undergraduate and graduate students who took Professor Susanna Gold’s exhibition studies/curatorial seminar course last fall. As a first year Master’s student in the art history department, this course was very appealing to Bonilla-Puig.

“[Professor Gold] explained that the students in her class would be organizing a show of the work of Charles Searles. As an aspiring museum professional, I knew this would be a great opportunity. I also thought this would be a nice change of pace from a traditional lecture class,” Bonilla-Puig said.

To create a successful exhibit, each student was given a specific role in curating the show.

“I created a 3D model of the Tyler Atrium and the artwork we selected for the show, so that we as a class could move things around virtually rather than actually when installing. It was nice to be able to see the show before it was even installed,” Cohn said.

Being able to participate in the curation of the show was very rewarding for the students involved.

“It was exactly the ‘hands-on’ experience that future curators need so that we can understand all of the facets of exhibition preparation and the range of curatorial responsibilities,” McCay said.

For Bonilla-Puig, the opening of the show was one of her favorite parts of the experience.

“Seeing the project fully realized was amazing and we’ve since received so many positive comments/reviews. In the end, both the show and the catalog came together very well,” Bonilla-Puig said. “I don’t think I could choose a favorite piece. They are all so fun and colorful, which is why I think so many people have said they enjoy seeing our show.”

“Charles Searles: In Motion” can be seen at the Tyler School of Art through June 16. Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.


Dana Mulranen Designs Poster to Raise Awareness

May 20, 2013

A poster, designed by Dana Mulranen (BFA GAID ’13), that raises awareness to the dangers of horse racing is now being displayed on PETA’s website.

“This project was initially an entry for the One Club Young Ones Competition last year. The task was to create a poster campaign for PETA about the horrors of the thoroughbred horseracing industry,” Mulranen said. “In May 2012, I was awarded a Bronze Pencil for my poster series at the awards ceremony in New York City and shortly after, the Senior Vice President of PETA reached out to me and asked if they could use my horseracing poster series for their company.”

PETA currently has the ad posted on their website and plans to use it in print as well. A mobile billboard with the poster was shown at the Kentucky Derby and there will be more printed publications of it before Preakness.

“Overall, I want the message to relay the serious problems caused by the horseracing industry. When I was envisioning the design for these posters, I was thinking of what could grab the viewer’s attention to make them stop and react to the poster and the issue at hand,” Mulranen said. “By isolating just the faces of the horses, I wanted to force the viewer to look at these beautiful animals and feel compassion for them and to take action against these wrongdoings.”

Mulranen’s poster was also a winning entry for the latest issue of Creative Quarterly. Receiving this kind of recognition is very exciting for Mulranen.

“The project was a fresh campaign for PETA and was also good press for myself,” Mulranen said. “Being a young designer, it’s great to get a chance to have my name known and recognized.”


Class of 2013 Says Goodbye!

May 17, 2013

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Tyler’s Class of 2013 participated in Commencement exercises at McGonigle Hall on May 16, 2013.  Dean Robert Stroker handed out diplomas to over 300 newly-minted graduates, and thanked the students’ families, friends and loved ones for helping them make it to this joyous occasion. There were cheers all around as the last (former) student recieved her Bachelor of Arts in Visual Studies.

Student speaker Katie Yuen, BFA Photography, summed it up the Tyler experience and gave all the graduates a task to undertake:

And with that, graduating class of 2013, while I truly wish you the best of luck in your futures, I would like to leave you with this charge: have the courage to face the challenges of the modern world with your fiery passion, have the courage to be so far out of the box that you can’t even see it anymore and have the courage to strive for greatness in every thing you create. It’s not about making a living, it’s about making a life doing what you love. Thank you.

You can see a slide show of the festivities here: https://vimeo.com/66417461. Special thanks to Tyler staff member Suzanne Earnest for taking most of the photos.  Music here provided by Oliphant under a Creative Commons license.


Tyler Alumni Connect Through Sculpture

May 14, 2013

In October at a sculpture class for the legally blind and visually impaired, two Tyler School of Art alumni met for the first time.

The class, located at Allens Lane Art Center in Mount Airy, has been offered for 57 years.

Armand Mednick, 80, is the class’s co-instructor. He graduated from Tyler in 1958 with a degree in graphics and ceramics. Carol Saylor, 75, graduated in 1976 with a degree in painting.

Saylor was a watercolorist before she started to lose her sight and hearing in her mid-40′s. She is now a sculptor.

When Saylor showed up to Mednick’s class, they immediately connected over Tyler and their love for art.

To read more about their story, visit http://articles.philly.com/2013-05-09/news/39117941_1_art-studio-art-class-carol-saylor


Architecture Students Create Spatial Experiences

May 9, 2013

Professor Robert Trempe’s capstone course Architectural Design VI gives students the opportunity to take on a special topic in architectural design.

“The students are expected to learn about new techniques in full-scale architectural manufacturing including the translation of complex computational geometries and physical production employing CNC [Computer Numerical Control] technologies,” Trempe said.

For this studio, students are required to complete two installations, “Patterned Porosity” and “Sequential Conversations.”

For “Patterned Porosity,” students used Styrofoam insulation to design a group installation in the window bay of the corridor between the Tyler Cafe and the Architecture building.

“The installation was meant to adjust condition of light through a sequence of transformative patterns milled into the Styrofoam, one pattern per window bay/student,” Trempe said. “So this installation served (pragmatically) as a method by which students could examine the usage of computational technology towards the articulation of a building facade.”

The second installation, “Sequential Conversations” will consist of character studies inspired by the 2003 Jim Jarmusch film “Coffee and Cigarettes.”

“Each student graphically mapped the movements of the characters in space to determine how their bodies are used in the articulation of a conversation,” Trempe said. “These drawings are now serving as the logic towards a sequence of physical installations that attempt to shape users who sit within each installation to act out moments of the conversation. In this way, students learn about the intimacy of architecture and the fact that small operations can have a massive effect.”

When the students are working on these projects, Trempe meets with them three days a week for three and a half hours per sessions.

“At every meeting graphical work is expected…the graphic is our language, and the best means for us to communicate. I help the students by challenging them to pay attention to their own internal design processes through graphical explorations while enabling them to understand the connections between design process and physical product,” Trempe said.

Having the students complete these projects helps them learn how to design something as a group and to understand the true potential of installations.

“I want the students to learn the power of full-scale constructions and the methods by which they can navigate what I have coined as a ‘computational design pipeline.’ This pipeline is the system by which they employ various computational toolsets as part of a design process. Physical constructions have an immediate and important part in this pipeline as they are moments where a digital process translates to a built form,” Trempe said.

While the students learn a lot from these installations, the audience is also able to see the amount of work that goes into large projects like these.

“I’d love people to realize that architecture can be (and is) an allied art with other disciplines at Tyler and that there are many ways in which out disciplines can ‘cross-pollinate.’ I’d like people to know that the role of an architect is much larger than simply following building code…that architects are passionate in the crafting of space and spatial experience,” Trempe said.


Temple Contemporary Receives Pew Grant

May 8, 2013

Temple Contemporary has received a Pew Grant for $160,000. For Director of Exhibitions & Public Programs, Robert Blackson, this is a very important step for Temple Contemporary.

“This is the first time Tyler School of Art has received an implementation grant from Pew…and such a large amount of support will build our competitive capacity to apply for other large grants in the future,” Blackson said.

To apply for the grant, Temple Contemporary had to go through a very thorough and lengthy process.

“It begins in October by submitting a Letter of Intent. The purpose of this letter is to describe the project and how much money the project is likely to cost. This letter is peer-reviewed by a panel of experts and based on this decision you may be asked in December to submit a full application. If you are asked to submit a full application it is due in February,” Blackson said. “Thankfully, Temple Contemporary was asked to submit a full application and by the time we were done it was over 300 pages long.”

This grant will help support Temple Contemporary’s mission and allow for more collaboration with the community.

“Temple Contemporary’s mission is to creatively re-imagine the social function of art through questions of local relevance and international significance. With Pew’s support we can apply our mission in collaboration with a range of publics, artists, and scholars that would have previously been out of our reach due to funding limitations,” Blackson said.

The project, “A Funeral for a Home,” is one of the projects that will benefit from Pew’s support. It will arrange a funeral for a row home that is about to be pulled down in North Philadelphia.

“This project has obvious resonance with our local community, but thanks to Pew’s support we can also draw connections to the housing market collapse, the depopulation of post-industrial cities like Philadelphia, and artists from around the country who are building creative solutions for urban revitalization,” Blackson said.


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