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KU Faculty Featured in Art Exhibition at Scotts Mills Gallery in Philadelphia

by Kutztown University

May 30, 2021

Kutztown University professors and faculty emeriti have their artwork on display at the Scotts Mills Gallery in Philadelphia. Titled ‘On Balance’, it features sculptures, mobiles, paintings, drawings, videos and photo montages of seven artists that provoke ideas about balance.

The exhibition opened May 21 and is on display through Friday, Aug. 13. The opening reception takes place 6-8 p.m., Friday, June 11. Gallery hours are open by appointment by contacting 610-858-0754.

Kutztown University artists include:

  • Leigh Kane, video art and photo montage. Associate professor, Art.
  • James Rose, ink drawing. Professor, Art.
  • Heather Ramsdale, mixed media sculpture. Assistant professor, Art.
  • Rick Salafia, wood sculpture. Professor, Art Education.
  • John Howell White, painting. Faculty Emeritus.

“The notion of balance has been a persistent consideration of artists and designers throughout time,” said White, curator. “In the early 20th century, it was codified as a “principle” of art and design. In addition to spatial perception, contemporary artists have investigated its application to duration, social conditions, image mediation, ethical positions, physical processes and psychological states.”

Leigh Kane is showing two bodies of work: three video animations and 12 photo montages. In her videos, Kane overlays William Blake’s poetry with imagery of her mouth, alluding to the duality of the smile’s ability to both charm and menace, seduce and deceive. In her still series, she balances Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry with schematic diagrams to consider everyday objects and personal loss.

James Rose’s Colored and Untitled are each composed of multiple separate drawings. Both works are figurative, self-portraits, set in compositions that mirror the complexity of his interior world and the world that surrounds him. Rose’s use of formal balance serves as a counterpoint to his struggle to finding emotional balance in a world invested with fear, race, isolation, sexuality, spirit, struggle and change. Rose’s work is mostly about being off-balance in this society.

Rick Salafia’s series Object Lessons is composed of nine wooden sculptures that protrude from the wall, referencing cantilevers and their precarious state of balance. While these meticulously crafted objects allude to functionality, they have no instrumental value. As the series title suggests, Salafia uses these physical forms to teach lessons about or to embody abstract concepts, like balance.

Heather Ramsdale’s two sculptures (metal, wood and concrete), Stuckface and The-Director, portray a series of dichotomies: familiar yet new, heavy but light, stable and uncertain, curious but plausible, all in consideration of balance. These distinctive polarities oscillate between one another, providing moments of elegant tension through her careful editing of form.

John Howell White’s Utter “Happiness” is a large-scale brightly pigmented oil painting that appears as a thicket of entwined markings. The completed work documents those multiple painting processes used to generate its production. For White, both making and viewing artwork is a negotiation which requires falling in and out of balance with our personal histories, social conventions, physical sensations and ideals.

For more information, contact [email protected] or 610-858-0754. Visit the Scotts Mills Gallery Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/scottsmillsgallery/.

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