The Phillips Museum of Art is honored to present F&M faculty, staff, and emeriti from the Department of Art & Art History in this biennial exhibition. Artists include Salina Mayloni Almanzar ‘13, Kevin Brady, Michael Clapper, Linda Cunningham, Carol Hickey, John Holmgren, Bill Hutson, Richard K. Kent, Sharon Koelblinger, Magnolia Laurie, Sandra Eula Lee, JunCheng Liu, Alex Schecther, Jason Thompson, Virginia Maksymowicz, and Renee Van der Stelt. These artists were invited to present new (fresh) work in a variety of media. The resulting exhibit is an opportunity for the college and greater Lancaster community to preview the work of artists who dedicate their time, scholarship, and talents to F&M.
Curated by Janie Kreines, Curator of Academic Affairs and Community Engagement of the Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College.
Richard K. Kent
Lessons in Recursion concerns place, time, and how introducing a recursive image of a scene alters our perception of ordinary landscape. I’m interested in sanctifying the commonplace; I take considerable delight in inserting a kind of visual marvel into places where it is unexpected. The recursive sequences I create at various sites intensify the visual dimension of time and become, in most cases, small installations available to passersby.
The series involves, though not in all instances, photographing blank wooden signs discovered by chance along roadsides and then methodically re-photographing their images to create recursive progressions. The interior images of the repeated sign offer the viewer glimpses of past time and the transformation of place.
Interview with Richard K. Kent:
When and why did you start creating this work? I started Lessons in Recursion in 2007 as an experiment where I wanted to see what would happen if I doubled an image of a sign. That led to wanting to triple it. In no time I was making recursive progressions—before I even had a name for what I was doing. I eventually returned to the earlier efforts and began to work in earnest at several sites, where I continue to photograph even now. One of the parameters of the series is that I work at a site until, for whatever reason, it’s no longer possible.
What process and materials did you use? I first used inexpensive, commercially produced prints to staple onto the blank wooden signs, which had prompted my beginning this series. Now, even though I myself make the glossy prints for the on-site, new iterations and use much higher quality paper, I still allow them to weather (often I document the disintegrating images) until I can return to continue the recursive process. In contrast, the large, exhibition prints are produced on special archival matte paper. Because this project has gone on for over a decade, continuing the recursive iterations at various, sometimes distant sites requires methodical note-keeping and sheer persistence.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? I especially enjoy learning from my colleagues not only in the arts, but also in other disciplines. One can never tell where the hint for something new to try will come from. The key thing is to keep one’s eyes and ears open.
From 1959 to the present, I’ve forged lifelong relationships with influential artists all over the world. My passion for abstract art began, however, during the brief time I was an apprentice to the realist painter, Frank N. Ashley, an active artist in the Ashcan School, who lived in the San Francisco Bay area around 1960. During that time, I was also introduced to the sculptor, Sargent Claude Johnson, the painter Joe Overstreet, as well as filmmaker, Melvin Van Peebles. Although Frank Ashley was a realist painter, I was drawn to abstract compositions and structure instead of traditional subjects like landscape, portrait, and still life. While Frank Ashley often used Renaissance forms and techniques in his art, I preferred creating tonal variations to define a specific shape or space.
Interview with Bill Hutson:
When and why did you start creating this work? I started these works in 2014 and continued to work on them until 2019. These paintings manifested partially as an adaptation due to my failing eyesight, but also reflect a recurring theme in my most recent artworks. I decided that my paintings will all contain a circle, rectangle, square, and triangle. These finished pieces represent more of a planned format than my previous art.
What process and materials did you use? I used acrylic on linen, with shapes on one piece, and acrylic on paper for the larger artwork.
Who or what inspires and influences your work? My interests lie in the paint and what color can convey in an artwork without being classified as a still life, portrait, or landscape. I’m inspired by Pictures of Nothing, by Kirk Varnedoe and how he defends the importance and validity of abstract art.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? I believe F&M has accomplished something unusual for many colleges, in its willingness to take a chance on an unconventional academic like me, and give attention to the arts.
Compelling environmental concerns juxtaposed against industry, urban blight, and the loss of the natural environment frame the content of my work. Photo-transfers document the rising sea levels swamping the stunning historic tourist site beloved by millions yet torn apart by the complexity of interests slowly demolishing it. My imagery deals with issues of time, transience, and contradictions shown through images of the shifting urban present.
Interview with Linda Cunningham:
What process and materials did you use? The photos that I took documenting the effects of the rising seas on this architectural treasure became the basis of this work. I employed photo-transfers that are done with a solvent and an etching press. Then I have collaged elements that echo aspects of Venitian architecture, crumbling walls, and golden mosaic.
Who or what inspires and influences your work? Since I first traveled to Europe as a college student, I was deeply impressed by the stunning architecture I had studied from 3 x 2 black and white photos in the art history survey text. Later I spent a year living and working in Berlin and I absorbed the evidence of history written into ruined architectural structures. Now I witness another man-made tragic story of an environmental catastrophe slowly eradicating Venice, a city that I love and that preserves a fusion of Arabic influences and craftsmanship merged with the architecture of Christianity.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? I loved working at a liberal arts college where I could learn from my colleagues in other disciplines. Influences from all of them found a way into my art work.
Collage developed in response to the rise of modern cities—to the shock, stimulation, and competing lures of urban life. Its appeal, for me, is in the pleasure of searching cities, collecting worthless paper souvenirs, and feeding these into an open-ended art process. Collage is at once an aesthetic object, social document, travel record, and personal expression.
I work on dozens of collages at once. Some of them come to nothing, but all of them surprise me continually. I play them like so many chess games, and they play me. The found paper imposes a discipline of responding to what is given, and resisting my own willfulness.
Interview with Kevin Brady:
When and why did you start creating this work? My collage practice emerged about twenty years ago from a combination of factors. I had been making paintings from assembled, found, painted wood, so I was accustomed to searching streets for materials. But I had also been using pasted paper extensively in the context of teaching painting, drawing, and color courses, so collage was never far away.
What process and materials did you use? I favor "experienced" paper as a starting point, paper that has outlived its initial, limited purpose, cycled through the use economy and acquired "individuality." Beyond that, there is a lot of trial and error, revision, and recombination that occurs in the studio.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? Teaching and learning! I teach a first-year (Connections) course called Collage, in which many of the students have little or no experience with studio art. I get to introduce students to this art form that opens into art and social history, aesthetics, and questions of art training and studio work. That course is a gateway, for many students, to art and art history.
I am interested in highlighting the obscure by reimagining the everyday object. Mundane objects often blend into our landscapes so seamlessly that—in defiance of intent—they essentially disappear. Through the manipulation of surface and material, I assign a faux value and delicacy to the otherwise insignificant and durable. Reality is turned upside down.
Interview with Jason Thompson:
When and why did you start creating this work? Initially I thought of the piece in polished bronze while assisting at a bronze casting workshop at the Penland School of Craft. While the polished bronze would have been as sexy as surfaces get, the material lacked the delicacy I wanted.
Who or what inspires and influences your work? My artwork is all over the place. I’ve always used my artwork to introduce myself to as many art making processes as possible. Sometimes I feel like a tourist in my own “groups of work” making 4–6 pieces, learning the processes before sticking it on a shelf for some unexpected inspiration.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? I enjoy being there for students and faculty who need an extra pair of hands or help figuring out a new art making process. And the new Winter Fine Arts Building demonstrates a real dedication to the future of our art making community that I appreciate.
Two prevailing concerns in my art are formalism and orderly, animated domestic environments. Shapes, colors, a sense of light, and physical pigment are beautiful and interesting in themselves, but the selection, arrangement, and representation of objects in a still life further suggests a mood and a way of life. My paintings emerge from and are meant to contribute to a sense of peaceful, humane presence, and aesthetic consideration at home.
Interview with Michael Clapper:
What process and materials did you use? These paintings are oil on panel. I like the firm and durable surface of wood supports instead of canvas, and since my paintings are small, panels are not too heavy or bulky. I build up the paint from dark to light and from transparent to opaque, often leaving some of the early layers of warm, transparent brown visible in the finished painting.
Who or what inspires and influences your work? I love the works of many of the great still life painters from the Baroque onwards. The beauty of natural light in interiors is also an inspiration.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? People plus art. It is a joy to have interactions that center around aesthetics, social engagement, and discussion of art in its many forms.
Salina Mayloni Almanzar ‘13
This series, Lazos de Sangre, reflects aspects of my Latinx identity, the generational impact of colonialism, and re-appropriation of the means my ancestors adapted to survive. I use embroidery, machine sewing, screen printing, original photography, painting, transfers, and many other media to create layers on each piece. The lace patterns, maps, and other recurring symbols are borrowed from both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. I am specifically interested in adopting indigenous Taino patterns and artifacts as well as Yoruba and Catholic symbols in addition to the ways they share similar aesthetic for different purposes (i.e. halos, concentric circles, the heart etc.).
Interview with Salina Mayloni Almanzar:
When and why did you start creating this work? I started creating Lazos de Sangre in 2015 after questioning why I frequently compartmentalized my identities in my personal practice. I made work prior to 2015 that expressed my feminism, but never about my Latinidad. At the same time, the Puerto Rico debt crisis was a prominent headline in the news and I was actively reconnecting personally with my Latinidad by reading and engaging in more open conversations with my family.
Who or what inspires and influences your work? In my personal practice, my family is constantly at the root of what I create often both literally and theoretically. My work is about preserving and complicating the narrative of what it means to be part of the Puerto Rican and Dominican diaspora.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? It is the fact that I am surrounded by students who are in the throes of figuring out who they want to be as artists.
Sandra Eula Lee
Beginning with a residency in Xiamen, China, I lived in Beijing where I ran a post-graduate program in critical studies. When I lived in Beijing, the battle to keep space was constant. Vendors built and rebuilt temporary structures and neighbors expanded their belongings outwards and upwards, blurring the line between public and private space. The works included in this exhibition were inspired by these experiences and made this year.
Interview with Sandra Eula Lee:
When and why did you start creating this work? These new works came from my years living in constantly changing urban neighborhoods. With a grant from the Asian Cultural Council, I spent six years in Seoul and Beijing, actively participating in artistic communities through museum residencies, exhibitions, and teaching posts. Among the urban demolition and the changed landscapes in these neighborhoods, I found defiance in small acts of garden-making and hand-made work. These experiences inspire the garden hacks, temporary structures, and portable ponds I build.
What process and materials did you use? I often combine industrial/construction materials together with hand-made traditions to explore the dissonance I experience between temporary urban structures and everyday creative acts in daily life. Materials include plaster, bamboo stakes, concrete, steel, electrical wire, spray paint with bamboo steamers, containers of fermented vegetables, and yarn. Processes include casting, wrapping, joining, stacking, machine and hand-stitching, folding, braiding, and fermenting.
Who or what inspires and influences your work? Struggles in daily life, material culture, humble defiant gestures, and transformation drive my work. Both of my parents are Korean War survivors and exploration of divided legacies led me to make work in South Korea, supported by grants and museum residencies. Navigating daily life in different cultural and artistic contexts has helped me weave a hybrid perspective full of ambiguities. I make sense of these differences through my studio work.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? I enjoy helping students reveal their questions and concerns through artistic research, reflection, and all the making processes we explore in the studios together.
River Relations: A Beholder’s Share of the Columbia River Dams (Collaborative Work with Nick Conbere). A central theme of our project is the struggle to comprehend the implications of human constructions that drastically alter forces of nature. The 14 dams on the Columbia River are heralded for massive energy production and economic benefits, but they also incur environmental costs to the river basin, reducing wildlife and aquatic habitat, and impacting the lives of many in the region.
District of the Penguins. This body of work uses the archived publications from James Cook, Ronald Amundsen, Charles Wilkes, William Reynolds, Robert Scott, Ernest Shackleton, and Richard Byrd. I combine journals, texts, maps, drawings, and photographs from their expeditions with my own documentation of personal experiences in Antarctica.
Interview with John Holmgren:
When and why did you start creating this work? I started these bodies of work in 2013. My interest in water and memory has been a theme which has run through older bodies of work.
What process and materials did you use? The River Relations project includes photography and printmaking. The District of the Penguins project includes archival inkjet prints and screen printing.
Who or what inspires and influences your work? Issues with water and how memory works are the two driving influences in these bodies of work.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? Working with the students.
Renee Van der Stelt
In the fall of 2018, when beginning to make these drawings, I was considering the border conflicts in Israel and Palestine. There was a week in which Palestinians approached the Gaza Strip in peaceful resistance; the weapons they held were stones and a few homemade molotov cocktails. The Israelis responded to their approach by shooting butterfly bullets. These bullets are designed to break apart flesh for irreparable damage to limbs. I drew stones and a molotov cocktail with lines in one drawing, and a butterfly bullet in another.
Interview with Renee Van der Stelt:
When and why did you start creating this work? I started creating these drawings because my work often arises out of concern for current issues or problems that are a part of society and contemporary life. It is vital to be alert to current events, to reflect upon injustices and complexities within society. As an artist, I respond through the visual process of making and sharing that work, to awaken discussion for deeper dialogue in shared spaces that resolve conflicts.
What process and materials did you use? The process of making is slow and ongoing, often taking more than a year. I generally work around a theme that arises slowly, as I notice what has been bothering me, or interesting me—usually it is something from the news. As the drawings develop, they change, and often circle back to the older drawings. For this project, I gathered stones with my daughter because we both found them to be so silently beautiful and varied (daughter stones). This is about a relationship of a human with a naturally found object. I have used graphite on a smooth Bristol paper for the drawings, but I also included a small bit of pencil color, for hints of color.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? The students. They give me hope. I’ve found the students in my class to be hard working, to care, and to want to learn in a refreshingly open way. I love watching them make connections across disciplines and seeing what arose from their drawings. I really believe that there is not a right or wrong way to draw.
My work uses industrial fabrication and construction materials to create objects which explore liminal spaces. Stemming from a background in traditional carpentry and computer aided manufacturing, my practice focuses on the construction of objects that rest in between architectural spaces, decorative sculpture, and presentations of conceptual research into specific phenomena.
Interview with Alex Schechter:
When and why did you start creating this work? These sculptures represent a body of work I began during a residency in upstate New York. During that period, I became interested in the abandoned commercial and residential spaces left in the wake of the city’s economic downturn. These forms emerged as I started making compositions that reinterpreted isolated moments from domestic spaces given up to time.
What process and materials did you use? These works are primarily Melamine coated decorative hardboard and house paint. This series primarily utilized repurposed and discarded materials from now defunct home restoration businesses and construction supply companies. Recreating intersections isolated from bathrooms, odd wall coverings, and broken fixtures, I’ve continued to use these materials in an attempt to both reference and resist the allure of home and space-making.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? As a new adjunct, I'm excited to be part of a community that works across disciplines and supports each other’s engagement in new modalities of exploration!
I am an associate member of the American Institute of Architects and I was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. I hold a Bachelor of Architecture from Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. In 1977, I moved to Lancaster to work for a local architectural firm, after living on a communal farm in Vermont, and working as an architect in Washington.
I am a founding partner in two previous firms in Lancaster, and I currently have an office in Mt. Gretna, Pennsylvania, where I do a variety of projects from documenting historic stone cabins for shipment to Ireland to local residential and commercial projects.
The approach behind all of my projects is to listen carefully, observe/absorb the site/conditions, let inspiration follow, and be willing to offer the unexpected. I am a senior adjunct instructor with F&M’s Art and Art History Department where I introduce students to the basics of architectural and sustainable design.
Interview with Carol Hickey:
When and why did you start creating this work? The residential project started after being contacted by our client, Judy, about two years ago. She said she had bought the ugliest house in Mt. Gretna and wanted us to transform it. The commercial project started when the owner of the facility contacted me to design a long-awaited addition to a building that we had designed in the 1990s. Over time the program and primary function for the building had changed.
Who or what inspires and influences your work? The features or qualities of the site/existing structure are always a primary inspiration—mostly in terms of the light and views that present themselves. I’ve been inspired by the work of LeCorbusier, Palladio, Louis Kahn, Luis Barragan, and others. I observe conditions of space and light, often taking measurements, sketches, and jotting down notes, related directly to an ongoing project or just for the pleasure of noticing. I enjoy walks outdoors, noticing how nature creates space and light.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? I love working with the students and seeing their design senses emerge, learning from their questions, and getting to know the other professors.
I am interested in the metaphorical implications of the human body—especially the female body—when tied to place: buildings, fountains, and other structures. In Kardashian/Bernini, I pair Kim Kardashian’s Barbie-like physical proportions with one of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Solomonic columns at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Interview with Virginia Maksymowicz:
When and why did you start creating this work? Since I am now Professor Emerita, I no longer have access to a sculpture studio at the college. I had success in finding a new space, but construction problems delayed the move-in date. Because I was in transition, I opted for drawing because I could easily set up at home. These works were started in May 2019.
What process and materials did you use? I drew the images by hand, using graphite and charcoal on Strathmore cotton paper. For source material, I referenced photographic images found on the Internet.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? I loved collaborating with my colleagues on academic endeavors. There was a memorable trip to Shanghai with Rick Kent to curate a show for the Phillips Museum of Art. There were multiple projects with Kerry Sherin Wright at the Writers House. And, along with Jason Thompson, my Papermaking & Casting class designed a Calderesque mobile in conjunction with Jennifer Conley’s students’ performance of Martha Graham’s dance, "Panorama."
In Drop Shadows, hand-braided fabric strips were cut from 60 pairs of black denim jeans that were sourced from thrift stores. Through repetitious braiding, the repurposed denim was transformed into rope thereby referring to labor both in process and in its physical resemblance to a utilitarian tool. Through collaging multiple garments together, the inherent histories of the clothing’s original owners are brought together into a single art object. The photographic shadows at times align and sometimes misalign with the rope, underscoring the disconnection between representation and illusion in an image.
Interview with Sharon Koelblinger:
When and why did you start creating this work? I created this project as a direct response to a space. The gallery had floor to ceiling windows and the sun cast dramatic shadows into the room. This lead me to create an artwork that could mimic shadows while simultaneously interact with the real shadows present in the gallery.
What process and materials did you use? I combed the thrift stores on 50% off days for black denim jeans. After accumulating a huge pile of jeans, I cut the pants into strips (discarding pockets and belt loops) and braided the strips into rope. Once I formed the rope into sculptural forms, I photographed the sculptures to create the false shadows that lay underneath the rope.
Who or what inspires and influences your work? I’m particularly inspired by artists who incorporate photographs into a multi-media practice such as Constantin Brancusi, Sara Van Der Beek, and Amanda Ross Ho.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? Due to their liberal arts background, F&M students approach photography in a unique way that draws upon their major areas of study. For instance, a Biology major photographed the tools used for experiments in the lab. I learned what a “pipette” was from those photographs! I relished in the diversity of solutions to assignments and I was always learning about other academic disciplines.
Interview with Magnolia Laurie:
When and why did you start creating this work? This series of drawings began last summer on a research trip in Oregon. While I was there, I created observational drawings of the landscape and read about the geological and environmental history of the area. Though I initially set out to document the devastation of recent forest fires and the stages of regrowth, I found myself trying to understand the current state of the landscape in the context of a much broader sense of time.
What process and materials did you use? I am working in a layering process that incorporates ink, water, and salt on paper. There is no erasing; each mark builds upon the last, adapting and changing until I feel I have reached a point of tension and/or resolve. The materials have a physical impact on each other, which makes the drawings feel very tactile. This is a new process for me, so this project has been full of exploration and discovery.
Who or what inspires and influences your work? Much of my work is an attempt to better understand the time and place we live in. I am influenced by human behavior, history and the ways it can be shaped, and our relationship to nature. Regarding this body of work, my observations from recent travels to the volcanic and rocky terrains in Oregon, Iceland, and the Yucatán Peninsula are woven into the imagery.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? Learning from my colleagues and students is what I enjoy the most at Franklin & Marshall. I feel like I am always picking up new insight into an idea or process and expanding the knowledge base that I both create and teach from.
Working with wood makes me feel like a kid again. In those early years of the Great Cultural Revolution, I remember one day I was home alone, hiding in the backyard shed with a little pencil sharpening knife, carving a small piece of wood into a little boat, hoping it might carry me away, down the river, into the sea of peace…
Interview with JunCheng Liu:
When and why did you start creating this work? It appeared as a happy accident. Last year I saw a piece of frame study had fallen onto the floor and formed a shape of seemingly continuous linear movement. It prompted me to experiment with thin wood strips in an attempt to create lines off the wall. I began to study the possibilities of creating Chinese calligraphy with laminated wood strips, which has led me to this exciting journey of the excavation of some ancient Chinese characters through time and space.
What process and materials did you use? I started by laminating thin maple wood strips and learned how to manipulate the shapes and curves by soaking the wood strips in hot water. Later I added other reinforcement materials like steel rods and plates as well as small metal screws. The surface treatment is applied with Gesso, plaster, and dirt mixed with Elmer glue.
What is your favorite part about working with the arts community at F&M? I enjoy the kind and brilliant minds of my friends and colleagues on campus. Before I became a painter in oil, I was trained in traditional Chinese painting. Part of the essence of the traditional Chinese art, particularly painting and calligraphy, is its intellectual rigor. I have learned so much from the people around me, which has made me feel energized and enlightened.