The Art Association of Harrisburg has invited four faculty members from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design’s (PCA&D) photography department and three woodworkers from Mellow Minded Café to exhibit their work in a collaborative exhibition entitled, (photo)synthesis: from wood to paper, with an opening reception on Saturday, April 8th, from 5:00pm - 8:00pm. This diverse show merges the practices of fine art and craft, while synthesizing various mediums, as well as, display and installation practices.
David Johanson’s most recent photographic work examines the impressions and wear patterns across ground, seeing various sites and institutions as a crossroads of social flow. His describes this visual history of movement across space as, “a curious and elusive trace of past presence.” These works make room for contemplation of perception, bodily orientation, psychological space, memory, and loss. Johanson also sees a parallel between the surfaces he photographs— a river bank, a library floor, a gallery threshold—and the photosensitive film used in his process. Both hold a recording power, are able to embed a trace, possess a certain memory, record histories, and make visible the once-present imprint of the now-absent. Both the ground and film surfaces have been touched—brought into contact, embossed, and bruised by the physical, the substantial, and the real. In this way, Johanson considers the landscape itself as an image-recording technology. Johanson, a graduate of Wheaton College, BA in Sociology, and Ohio University, MFA in Photography, has been an instructor at PCA&D since 2010, teaching a comprehensive range of studio photography courses.
Sharon Koelblinger examines human perception and the assumed relationship between the photograph and visual reality through her work that uses both sculpture and photography. By linking the two-dimensional with the three-dimensional, she discovers parallels to the cyclical relationships between loss and desire, perfection and fallibility, repetition and rarity. In her sculptural work, obsessive gestures underscore these relationships and represent a reverence for ritual through repeated forms and hand drawn lines. In her photographic work, she breaks down the artifice of the photo by deconstructing the uniform and flat surface the image is printed upon. Koelblinger demonstrates that the photograph as an object itself is of equal importance to the image depicted by manipulating the material qualities of the printed-paper, such as folding, painting, and drawing upon the image. When seen together, photographs resist representation and sculptures embrace trompe l’oeil affects to emphasize the disconnection between seeing and comprehending while negotiating the boundary between illusion and authenticity. Koelblinger holds a BA in Sculpture from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an MFA in Photography from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She has been teaching at the collegiate level since 2013, and is currently instructing various photography and video courses at Delaware College of Art and Design, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and PCA&D.
Julia Staples’ work presents photography, sculpture, object and performance. Using metaphysical, and spiritual ideas as a starting point, the work simultaneously brings together the formal and intellectual concerns in challenging to attempt to visualize the fragile relationship between mind, body and spirit. Using the play on this formality Staples can explore the parallels between art, miracle workers and their rituals. Religions, folk tales and modern day spiritual practitioners have been propagating the enigmatic miracle worker throughout recorded history, from sorcerers and witches to Christian Saints, Hindu Gurus and modern day spiritual healers. Having been raised by New Age practitioners and meeting supposed miracle workers her entire life, Staples’ work examines the charged moment of believing and the decisions we make to submit, tolerate or look past. Staples holds both a BFA (Parsons School of Design) and MFA (Tyler School of Art, Temple University) in Photography. She has been an adjunct instructor since 2012, teaching at Tyler School of Art, Delaware County Community College, Holy Family University, The College of New Jersey, Moore College of Art and Design and PCA&D.
Eric Week’s eponymous suite of images continues a long-term process of photographing his wife Stacy in varying female protagonist roles, in which he drew inspiration from Wilkie Collin’s mid-19th century “sensation” novel The Woman in White. Themes of empowerment and women’s ultimate ability to overcome patriarchal authority, and to control their own fate, are shared by both Collins’ and Weeks’ work, and are important social issues in both of these artists’ eras, though separated by over 150 years. The color white has symbolized purity, innocence, virginity and light in a great variety of cultural output, from the Bible to cinema. All of Weeks’ work is concerned with photography’s ability to describe specific details that, when juxtaposed, suggest open-ended stories. In this group of photographs, narrative is suggested in each frame, as well as between the various images. Implied metaphor is the goal of these works; the emotions associated with struggle, loss, positive action and liberation are suggested throughout this suite of photographs. Weeks’ work can be found in various collections around the world, including: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France and The American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt. Weeks is the Chair of the Photography Department at PCA&D.
Mellow Minded Woodworkers:
Jesse Jones began his career in construction management, building standard, “cookie-cutter,” as he describes, houses. He quickly became bored with the same work day in and day out. From this stagnate feeling came Jones’ creative outlet. Jones’ constructs abstract geometric wall hangings and various original, handmade furniture pieces out of skid wood. Skid wood is an assortment of wood ranging in type from pine, oak, maple, hickory and other varieties of wood. Through composition and design, Jones constructs decorative pieces from wood material that would otherwise been seen as utilitarian and dispensable.
Dan Kepner is a self-taught woodworker. Coming from a technical sales background where everything is replaced the next year with newer technology, Kepner wanted to create objects that would last and stand the test of time. He is particularly interested in the process of woodworking. Fascinated by pushing the limits and properties of the wood, Kepner takes techniques to an extreme. The end result are refined, intricate and delicate designs comprised of wood that is either bent or taken to a thinness that most are unable to achieve.
Ted Zinn’s career was mainly focused around carpentry: framing homes, siding, trim, roofing, flooring, tile work, etc. Having spent years running his own business with full time employees, Zinn has since downsized to now primarily focus his career on woodworking. His custom tables, wood ceilings, walls, custom exterior wood railings, etc., elevate the objects of decorative furnishings to an artistic level.
The exhibition sponsor is Randolph Michener, and the reception host on Saturday, April 8, is Tom Robel. Music at the reception will be provided by John Catalano. The show will remain on view through May 4. Visit WWW.ARTASSOCOFHBG.COM for more information.