Costumes and Prints Bring “CandyCoated Wonderland” to Life

September 10, 2013

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“CandyCoated Wonderland” is a whimsical installation of costumes and prints straight from the imagination of Philadelphia-based artist Candy Coated (’97 MFA Ceramics), formerly Candy Depew.

Candy was invited by the Philadelphia Museum of Art two and a half years ago to begin a project reinterpreting children’s dress costumes from the Museum’s collection.

“I was honored to be asked because I just couldn’t believe that they would let me do whatever I wanted to highlight the costumes and integrate them in, and I was able to make a contemporary, yet historical period style room which is a wonderland,” Candy said.

The colorful installation blends Candy Coated’s silk-screened fabrics and wall decals with costumes that range from a Peter Pan costume flying from the ceiling to nurse costumes on children’s figures surrounded in a room of cats printed on pillows

“The most awesome part was being able to do the huge ink drawing on the wall because the walls are fresh and beautiful and new, and to be able to do a large drawing like that, directly on the wall, was pretty awesome,” Candy said. “Also, being able to have it in the parkway in one of the museum’s buildings is an honor, too, because I actually starting out working there in installation. So for me to actually have my own installation about ten years later is quite a nice thing.”

As a student at Tyler, Candy valued the people that she got to work with, both the classmates that would later become her colleagues and her professors.

“My teacher, Nick Kripal, brought me to Philadelphia. I’d like to thank him because the interview I had with him for grad school went so nicely and he was such a cool, intelligent person. A true teacher personality is what attracted me the most coming to [Tyler], so I thank him for bringing me to Philly,” Candy said.

Staying in Philadelphia after graduating and having the reputation from attending Tyler really helped Candy become the artist and cultural entrepreneur that she is today.

In addition to having her work displayed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Candy hosts exhibitions and films screenings from internationally based artists and designers at her studio, CandyCoated Center.

“I just love having my own studio, I just always have made that a priority and sometimes I wouldn’t necessarily have a place to live, but I would have a studio. So I’d house sit or go to residencies and things like that, and part of your residency deal is that they always give you a studio and a place to stay. So I am never without a studio,” Candy said.

Coming up, Candy will be working with the Spirit Tour for Design Philadelphia, designing wallpaper, doing silk-screen demos at the Art Market at Tyler, and working with Little Baby’s Ice Cream to develop an ice cream flavor.

“CandyCoated Wonderland” can be viewed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building in the Joan Spain Studio until November 17.

For more information about “CandyCoated Wonderland,” visit

To learn more about Candy and her upcoming projects, visit

Tyler Alum Showcased in Crossing the Line Exhibition

August 21, 2013

CrossingLineMixed Greens Gallery in New York City hosted “Crossing the Line: Contemporary Drawing and Artistic Process,” a show curated by Dexter Wimberly and Larry Ossei-Mensah that showcased the importance of drawing as a foundation to making art.

Ruby Amanze (Fibers/Photography BFA ’04) is one of the artists featured in this show.

“‘Crossing the Line’ is a small survey of five women who have very different drawing practices. It’s also exciting because none of the artists have  Western cultural background. We’re from Iran, Korea, Nigeria, Haiti/Dominican Republic and Mexico. Drawing has, and always will be universal and I think this exhibition touches on the idea,” Amanze said.

Although Amanze had a British upbringing, she was born in Nigeria. Recently, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Nigeria and create a new body of work. Four drawings she created while in Nigeria are featured in the show.

“For me, drawing is very much about process. Sometimes my drawings are very detail-oriented and even obsessive compulsive. I enjoy that way of working, but at the same time I enjoy the freedom of making quicker, smaller drawings that I never intend to show,” Amanze said. “It’s a new, and slightly scary, idea for me to give these drawings their respect, so to speak. They are as much a part of my practice as the more polished ones, and I think the conversation they have alongside each other is an interesting one.”

Amanze admits that drawing is something that truly consumes and fascinates her.

“If I think back I remember that drawing was always my first love as an artist, as perhaps it is for many people. I think along the way, someone decides for us whether or not we ‘can draw,’ and unfortunately that deters some from continuing the practice. Everyone can draw and there are so many different ways to approach it,” Amanze said.

“When I sit down to draw, there are so many components that play a part in what happens on the page. I am open to that and look forward to how my ideas will evolve the more I allow things to happen. I think there is a certain vulnerability to drawing that I appreciate. It often doesn’t have this grand polished veneer…it just is,” Amanze said.

For inspiration, Amanze draws from architecture and remembered spaces, migration, cultural hybridity, textiles, and patterning.

“I’ve also spent time researching various nomadic groups, bridges as a physical and metaphorical symbol of connection, ethnic markings/tattoos or gender politics as they relate to culture. These are just a few things that have inspired me over the years. But I can’t neglect the ever changing influence of time and location as they relate to the above. Just being somewhere, anywhere can play a direct role on one’s vision of the world. The lens through which we process our bodies in space an in relation to others in constantly changing,” Amanze said.

Amanze appreciates that Tyler gave her a formal art education while also encouraging her to experiment and challenge the “rules.”

“Tyler was a nice balance of that. I remember drawing with silver point on gesso, learning Vandyke printing in Photography and weaving on a floor loom…but I also remember having freedom later to disregard all of those things and really begin to discover my own visual language,” Amanze said.

Coming up, Amanze is curating and exhibiting in an exhibition called “Six Draughtsmen” that will open at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in Brooklyn in October. She is also preparing for a two person exhibition in Lagos, Nigeria with Wura-Natasha Ogunji. Outside of studio practice, Amanze is also teaching.

“Crossing the Line: Contemporary Drawing and Artistic Process” will be at Mixed Greens until August 16.

To learn more about Ruby Amanze and her work, visit

Artspace Recognizes Kari Scott in radius250 Exhibition

July 16, 2013

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Student Life Coordinator and Tyler alum Kari Scott has been awarded fourth place for her piece Shrine to my Scale in the show “radius250”  hosted by artspace.

“radius250 2013” is the fifth installment of artspace’s signature juried exhibition which represents artists that create their work within 250 miles of Richmond, Virginia. The exhibition is biennial at artspace, a non-profit member-run gallery.

127 artists submitted over 450 individual submissions to be juried for the show. Of these submissions, 48 pieces were selected from 36 artists.

“This is a pretty widely-known exhibition in a town I used to live in, so I knew I would run into people I knew if I got in. It’s always nice to go back to a place you left with a triumph,” Scott said. “And Erin M. Riley, a Tyler alum who graduated from my same department the year before me won Best of Show four years ago at the 2009 ‘radius250.’ I knew if I was in this show, I would be in good company.”

Scott submitted three pieces to be judged for the exhibition. Two of the pieces submitted, Shrine to St. Betty and Shrine to my Scale, had to be installed by Scott herself.

Shrine to my Scale is a piece that I considered too personal to submit for a long time, but I’ve started to have a better appreciation of it as it relates to the themes I’m interested in. I created it when I was really trying to keep weight off, and I lost the struggle not long after I created it, but health issues have crept up and I’m realizing more and more that it’s a life-long struggle for me, and I need to keep at it,” Scott said.

“As I’ve been actively submitting my work to galleries and shows, I’ve become more and more aware that my work is mostly understood by a narrow audience of middle-aged women, my demographic, who have struggled with their own issues of body image/weight issues/struggle to maintain a healthy diet while busy/attempting to resist both subtle and overt attempts by the food industry to subvert our diets because they make money both by having us eat too much junk food and by dieting,” Scott said.

With these issues in mind, Shrine to my Scale was created on a whim with materials that Scott found sitting around in her studio.

“I use muffin tins because chocolate cupcakes are one of my trigger foods, and I need extra help from the weight goddesses to resist those. And originally, the candles were chocolate scented, but in group shows, like this one, I use unscented candles because I want to be a good artist-neighbor. If it was just a show of my work, though, they would be chocolate scented, because I want viewers to experience some of my struggle,” Scott said.

Both Shrine to my Scale and Shrine to St. Betty were chosen by juror N. Elizabeth Schlatter, deputy director and curator of exhibitions at the University of Richmond Museums, to appear in the show.

“It’s always validating to the struggle to be an artist who’s only able to work in the studio part-time to have your work selected for major shows like this one,” Scott said. “I’ve learned that curators/jurors go into something like these shows and develop a theme–even if it wasn’t stated–and your work might just not fit into that theme for that show, so don’t lose faith.”

The exhibition will be in all galleries of artspace until August 18th. For more details, visit

Tyler Alum Takes On Two Year Sculpting Project

July 1, 2013
Photo Credit: Myers Creative Images.

Photo Credit: Myers Creative Images.

Tyler alum Albert Paley (BFA ’66, MFA ’69) has prepared 13 sculptures that will be displayed at New York City’s Park Avenue.

As an undergrad, Paley studied sculpture and then went on to do his Master’s work in the metal department. After graduating, he taught in the university system for 25 years and is now a well-known metal sculptor based in Rochester.

Paley was invited to do this project by the Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee almost 2 1/2 years ago. Since then, PBS from New York City has been filming a one hour documentary on the Paley on Park Avenue project which will be broadcast this fall.

“You could either apply or be invited,” Paley said. “I was invited because of the work I do with public sculpture. ”

Paley’s 15 person staff have working on massive sculptures for the show. Several of them are more than 20 feet high and one is 50 feet long.

“Public sculpture, especially large scale sculpture, creates a dialogue between architecture and public display,” Paley said. “Most of the work that I do is large scale.”

The sculptures, installed June 14, will stay up through November 8 between 52nd street and 67th street.

After being a practicing artist for 40 years, Paley no longer worries about how his work will be seen by the audience.

“All the artist can do is deal with the integrity of his or her vision,” Paley said. “People will respond with whatever their own background is.”

Coming up, Paley will be featured in many exhibitions. In September, the Gerald Peters Gallery in New York will be showing Paley’s conceptual drawings and will then publish a major book about the work. Then, in 2014, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. will be hosting a 50 year retrospective of Paley’s work.

To learn more about Albert Paley and his work, visit

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.

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.

Mark Shetabi, Assistant Professor, Has Upcoming Exhibition

May 6, 2013

Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing at Tyler, Mark Shetabi, has an upcoming exhibition in New York City.

The Grand Tour will be Shetabi’s fourth solo show presented by the Jeff Bailey Gallery. It will feature new sculptures and paintings that explore ideas about travel, transition and escape.

Many of the pieces depict places or technology of the past that have now become obsolete.

The sculptures that serve as points of departure, Campers, and the painting Girl on a Bicycle feature styles that could be old or new.

The exhibit also features the sculpture Arcade and the painting Caspian Sea Hyatt. Both portray a certain technology or style from another time that are now outdated

Shetabi depicted objects and images in a way that invites further consideration. By using painting and sculpture, he creates a permanent place that resists the eventual disappearance of the things from the past.

The exhibition will open on Friday, May 10 and run until June 22.

For more information, visit

Tinicum High School Students Display Art

April 26, 2013

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The Tinicum Art and Science High School currently has an exhibition in the Underground Gallery at Tyler.

The exhibition, Thick and Sassy, was installed by Barbara Bjerring and her high school students. It will remain in the Underground Gallery until April 29.

“The entire Thick and Sassy exhibition was based on one lesson plan targeted to help the students find individual themes based on their personal concerns that would drive art making. We talk a lot about contemporary art, pop culture, and visual literacy in reference to symbolism,” Bjerring said. “After the students found themes that interested them, we worked pretty hard to realize symbolism that they felt truly fit with what they were trying to express.”

The students found that they were able to fit more symbols into their pieces by working in three dimensions.

“Quite a few of the students were apprehensive to work this way, even from the start when we were looking for themes. They pushed back a lot which created a lot of procrastination and then hurried work just before the show went up,” Bjerring said. “Now that they’ve seen their work hanging in an organized, clean environment, they are proud of their efforts. Many of the students can see themselves as artists. They also see a need to change their work ethics away from procrastination and to relax and trust the process.”

Bjerring is currently student teaching at Tinicum for her art education certification candidacy.

“I never saw myself as a teacher and ten years ago if you told me I would be teaching I would seriously doubt that idea. Then at some point after I gave birth to my son, I suddenly felt that being in my studio, focusing on myself and my personal expression was a bit selfish. I thought that I was not really putting myself fully out into the world and living as big as I could,” Bjerring said. “Now that I am teaching, I see the rewards of having these wonderful relationships with the students. Helping them is so much more rewarding than I could have imagined before.”

To open up her students to art, Bjerring teaches them that art is not solely about craftmanship, but also about having an idea.

“Many of the students are terrified to create because they don’t want to be judged on their drawing or painting skills. I point out to them their beautiful ideas and feelings; all the wonderful accomplishments they’ve acquired,” Bjerring said. “I love contemporary art so I’m able to show them how others have made art about being alive and just living. The students are able to see how being an artist is and has always been open to them. I hope they feel invited and welcomed into the art world.”

A mix of Bjerring’s students’ paintings, drawings, prints, a book, and sculptures will also be shown at The Art of Student Teaching exhibition, along with works from students under the direction of 26 other Tyler student teachers, in the Stella Elkins Tyler Gallery from May 1-5.

“My art has always been message heavy and still is but now I think about the message an object conjures and how that can intensify the message in the art,” Bjerring said. “My go to artistic inspirations are the likes of Barbara Kruger, David Wojnarowicz, Banksy, Tracy Emin, Marcel Duchamp, Grayson Perry, Ai Wei Wei, and about a million other amazing artists and their generosity. I’m immensely inspired by my students.”

Victory for Tyler: Victory for All 2013

April 3, 2013

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38 artists have been selected for the biennial Victory for Tyler juried exhibition, sponsored by Victory Brewing. The exhibition was juried by Paulina Pobocha, Assistant Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art.

Artists include Dennis Ahearn, Jonathan Allmaier, Michael Ambron, Jay Bilinsky, Joseph Borelli, Jenny Buffington, Justin Bursk, Paula Cahill, Rebekah Callaghan, Josh Cole, Mike Cole, John Costanza, John Crowe, Emity Davidson, Delaney DeMott, Lyla Duey, Chad Cortez Everett, Steven Ford, Rachael Gorchov, Brian Grow, Laura Havlish, Susan Hennelly, EJ Herczyk, Cheryl Agulnick Hochberg, Adele Kubel, John T. Lange, Carla Lombardi, James Maiello, Ryan McCartney, Anne-Marie McIntyre, JJ Miyaoka-Pakola, Michael Radyk, Tim Rusterholz, Catherine E. Saksa-Mydlowski, Susan Still Scott, Andrew Souders, Pamela Vander Zwan, and Yoichiro Yoda.

The exhibition will take place from March 27 until April 13 at the Crane Arts Center, Ice Box Project Space located at 1400 North American Street in Philadelphia. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from noon until 6 p.m.

The opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 6 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. To RSVP to this event, contact Molly Clark Davis (