Celebrating 100 Years

From denim to embroidery to oil paint and bronze, the artworks to be featured in the upcoming season at the Gallery at Penn College will explore a variety of both media and ideas.

According to Penny Griffin Lutz, gallery manager, the works featured in the ninth season at the gallery, located in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Madigan Library, are chosen by a committee comprised of Penn College faculty and staff, teachers from kindergarten through 12th grades and artists.

“There is no theme for the year; instead, the committee tries to select a variety of media. For example, we may receive applications from 25 painters, but will try to select only one for the exhibition season,” Lutz said.

While they each operate in a different medium, the artists chosen all have something in common: they create work that makes viewers think and, hopefully, causes them to grow.

“Exhibitions are selected mainly for the quality of the artwork and the exploration of new ideas,” Lutz said. “We look for shows that will inspire curiosity, personal growth and social awareness, whether that is in our students or the community at large.”

Some of these artists hope to spark thought and conversation by challenging viewers to see everyday materials in a new light.

James Arendt, whose work will be shown in the fall, does this by creating sculptures out of denim. The sculptures, many of which appear to be life-size, are at once imposing and intricate. Arendt creates images of real people he knows with these works; mainly people whom feels close to or who have held important roles in his life.

“He uses denim, which often comes from the person he is constructing. He states, ‘Denim can be abused, worn out, patched, stained and burnt through, and its characteristics are mirrored in the individuals I represent,’ ” Lutz said, quoting from Arendt’s artist statement.

Using vastly different methods, Amanda McCavour’s work shows another common material in a different light: her exhibit, “Line: Drawn and Stitched” is made of thread and embroidery works unlike anything viewers would find in a sewing circle. Her 3-D works are created in a process that involves the use of a sewing machine to stitch fabrics that dissolve in water. While the works are physically solid, they appear to be falling apart or unraveling. McCavour’s artist statement says, “My work is a process of making as a way of tracing and preserving things that are gone, or slowly falling apart.”

The gallery will offer an opportunity to get up close and personal with McCavour and learn more about her work in January with an all-day workshop.

“The support for fiber workshops in the past has been great, and I’m happy to say that this workshop is already two-thirds’ full!” Lutz said.

In addition to the outside artists who will be hosted this year, many of Penn College’s own will have the chance to show their work at the “100 Works!” exhibit. “100 Works!” is a celebration of the college’s Centennial.

“The work is still being juried at this time, but visitors can expect to see photography, 2-D and 3-D work,” Lutz said. “The show was open to students, alumni, employees and retirees, and is just one of the many events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the college.”

Other exhibits to be featured in the upcoming year include “Lotus Eaters,” featuring paintings by Jennifer R.A. Campbell; “SimBiotic,” featuring photographs by Robin Germany; “Design 2015,” which will showcase the senior design portfolios created by Penn College graphic design students; and “Though much is taken, much abides…,” featuring bronze sculptures and ink drawings by Ed Smith.

“Over the past nine years, it’s been interesting to watch our exhibitions evolve to include emerging artists and artists using traditional materials in unusual ways,” Lutz said. “Our current exhibition committee is very involved in contemporary art and they are energetic about bringing unique exhibitions to the college.”

The Gallery at Penn College will resume regular hours on Aug. 1: 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays.

The gallery is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit www.pct.edu/gallery or call 570-320-2445.