FAL L 2015
Shifting Paradigms THE NEW ARTS PROGRAM & K U T Z T O W N U N I V E R S I T Y
September 12 to October 11, 2015 James Carroll, James O. Clark, Joseph Egan, Paul Harryn, Michael Kessler, and Barbara Kilpatrick FEATURI NG
Shifting Paradigms THE NEW ARTS PROGRAM & K U T Z T O W N U N I V E R S I T Y
September 12 to October 11, 2015 James Carroll, James O. Clark, Joseph Egan, Paul Harryn, Michael Kessler, and Barbara Kilpatrick
F EA TU R I N G
TABLE OF CONTENTS
SHIF TING PAR ADIGMS
JAMES F.L . CARROLL
Kelsey Heiss with Daniel Haxall
Chloe Jackson with Daniel Haxall
Chloe Jackson with Daniel Haxall
Kelsey Heiss with Daniel Haxall
BARBAR A KILPATRICK Kelsey Heiss with Daniel Haxall
JOURNAL Ron Schira
PAUL HARRYN’S THE ODYSSEY
by Chloe Jackson
JAMES O. CL ARK
REGARDING JAMES F.L . CARROLL: A PERSONAL
WHAT DO YOU WANT IN LIFE? LE ARNING FROM THE MARGUERITE BIERMAN
MENTORSHIP PROGR AM Amanda Seanor
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
ABOUT KUT Z TOWN
PREFACE As KU celebrates its Sesquicentennial year, The Miller Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition Shifting Paradigms: Kutztown University and The New Arts Program. It seemed only appropriate that as we look back at the past 150 years, our gallery would celebrate the accomplishments of some of our distinguished alumni. The exhibition features artwork from James O. Clark ‘74, Joseph Egan ‘75, Paul Harryn ‘76, Michael Kessler ‘78, and Barbara Kilpatrick ‘77. It also features the work of faculty emeriti James Carroll, the originator of the New Arts Program, an integral part of the art programming at Kutztown University from 1974 – 1983. The New Arts Program provided an opportunity for students to have one on one conversations with artists such as Laurie Anderson, Richard Serra, and John Cage. It was a program that shaped minds and careers, a program that continues to this day to provide exciting arts programming to the community. We asked the exhibiting alumni to choose an artwork by James Carroll that influenced their thinking, creating an exhibition with a diverse range of materials and concepts. We hope this exhibition inspires a continuing discussion of how we prepare the next generation of artists. To commemorate the exhibit, this accompanying catalog features not only a selection of artwork exhibited, but also a thorough history of the first ten years of The New Arts Program by Kutztown University’s contemporary art historian, Dan Haxall. Shifting Paradigms would not have been possible without the vision and spirit of Paul Harryn, who proposed the exhibit to us in the spring of 2013. He is devoted to stewarding the legacy of the New Arts Program and we are thankful for the steps he has taken to bring KU and the New Arts Program together again for this exhibit. In addition to Paul, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the other talented and insightful exhibitors, James Clark, Joseph Egan, Michael Kessler, and Barbara Kilpatrick. We are thankful for the time and energy they dedicated to make this exhibit happen.
Within the university, Iâ€™d like to thank Tracey Thompson and Phil Irwin at the KU Foundation, whose exhaustive efforts were essential to this project. Special thanks to Dean Mowder and Assistant Dean Kiec of the College and Visual and Performing Arts, and to the Fine Arts Chairperson, Cheryl Hochberg, for their insight and support. We are indebted to Dan Haxall (as always). The many hours spent interviewing, writing, and editing for this project has not gone unappreciated. Likewise we are extremely grateful for the efforts of our own student contributors, Chloe Jackson, Kelsey Heiss, and Amanda Seanor and our catalog designer (KU alum), Wyatt Glennon. The expertise, attitude, and work ethic of our KU students are always inspiring. A huge thank you goes to Philip Glass and Jon Gibson for their Schaeffer Auditorium concert fundraiser for the New Arts Program and KUâ€™s Fine Arts program. Thank you to Lisa and Kermit Oswald for their support of the concert, to Chris Potash at the Allentown Art Museum for help with advertising, and to Ron Schira from The Reading Eagle newspaper for his special words on James Carroll for this project. And finally, we are indebted to James and Joanne Carroll not only for their cooperation on this exhibit, but also for their ongoing commitment to our community and to the arts. Karen Stanford Director of University Galleries and Community Outreach Kutztown University
P r i n t ‘A s I s ’
TO: N.A.P. Preview FR: Paul Harryn RE: Press Release: “The why and how of the Shifting Paradigms exhibition ... OBJECTIVE: (An idea I’ve been kicking around for several years) To organize a reunion exhibition with some of Kutztown University’s Fine Arts alumni who found inspiration in James Carroll’s aesthetic and were engaged in a dialogue with visiting artists from the New Arts Program. WHY? (1) because honoring the legacy and vision of James Carroll’s accomplishments is long overdue ... (2) because the relevance of the New Arts Program during those early years needs to be contextualized and understood as a model for educational excellence ... harryn studios © 2015
• In much the same way that we’ve come to understand the role of Black Mountain College as an incubator to a generation of influential artists, ascertaining the impact of N.A.P. is consequential to identifying the regions needs and cultural identity. • Preserve the heritage of what Motherwell refers to as the ‘truth and authenticity’ in the making of Art.
(3) because of the influence James Carroll and the luminaries he exposed us to had on the development of the artists being exhibited ... (4) because at the time, there was an alchemy of circumstance that produced an environment of open camaraderie, intellectual fervor, and authenticity in the making of Art that I’ve rarely encountered since ... (5) because I would simply enjoy experiencing an exhibition of art by former classmates for whom I’ve always had the highest regard. At the core of this enterprise is a profound gratitude for Kutztown University’s willingness to participate in the benefits of the New Arts Program at that time and, for providing us with the most fertile arts environment in the region. Additionally, for more than four decades James Carroll, the New Arts Program’s founder and Director, has been serving the arts community at large with pertinent
identity. • Preserve the heritage of what Motherwell refers to as the ‘truth and authenticity’ in the making of Art.
(3) because of the influence James Carroll and the luminaries he exposed us to had on the development of the artists being exhibited ... (4) because at the time, there was an alchemy of circumstance that produced an environment of open camaraderie, intellectual fervor, and authenticity in the making of Art that I’ve rarely encountered since ... (5) because I would simply enjoy experiencing an exhibition of art by former classmates for whom I’ve always had the highest regard. At the core of this enterprise is a profound gratitude for Kutztown University’s willingness to participate in the benefits of the New Arts Program at that time and, for providing us with the most fertile arts environment in the region. Additionally, for more than four decades James Carroll, the New Arts Program’s founder and Director, has been serving the arts community at large with pertinent contemporary art programming. It seemed only fitting to begin to provide evidence of art by the students he inspired. Dan Haxall’s forthcoming catalogue essay will begin to illuminate the historical significance the New Arts Program has had in this region and beyond. So the dialogue continues ... How the exhibition came to be is a long and exciting series of serendipitous events that gained momentum from the very beginning. None of this could have occurred without collaboration, tenacity, and hard work from Dan Haxall, Cheryl Hochberg, Phil Irwin, and Karen Stanford (among many others). Fluid cooperation from the exhibiting artists – Jim Clark, James Carroll, Joseph Eagan, Michael Kessler, and Barbara Kilpatrick – was vital to the project’s successful realization. From the onset I had hoped these efforts would continue as a series of exhibitions that would recognize other artists from the region that were influenced by James Carroll and the New Arts Program. For now, I am grateful to all participants for their efforts in creating a milestone event as testimony to Shifting Paradigms. Seeing is believing ... Paul Harryn 6.14.2015, PA
Shifting Paradigms THE NEW ARTS PROGRAM & K U T Z T O W N U N I V E R S I T Y
James F. L. Carroll had an idea and the premise, he admits, was quite simple. A professor at Kutztown State College, Carroll wanted to have conversations about contemporary art... James F. L. Carroll had an idea and the premise, he admits, was quite simple. A professor at Kutztown State College,
Daniel Haxall, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Art History, Kutztown University
Carroll wanted to have conversations about contemporary art, so in 1974, he requested financial support from the Student Government Association to bring visiting artists to campus. These residencies would include a public lecture and “consultations,” private hour-long meetings with students and interested community members. After being awarded a modest startup fund, he telephoned Donald Judd, the Minimalist artist whose “specific objects” challenged assumptions about sculpture, aesthetics, and notions of production and authorship. While Judd passed on the invitation, he suggested Carroll contact David Rabinowitch, a prominent sculptor teaching at Yale University at the time. He called Rabinowitch’s gallery in New York, the Bykert Gallery, and spoke to the receptionist,
Mary Boone, who opened her own significant gallery a few
he invited people he did not already know, preserving a
years later. In addition to securing Rabinowitch as the first
spirit of novelty and exploration. He refused to establish
participant in Carroll’s new program, Boone recommended
a hierarchy in terms of medium or genre, and insisted
Bruce Boice and Gary Stephan, abstract painters who
the programming was “not canned,” or merely a tour of
visited Kutztown the following year.
prepackaged events.1 The participants largely came from New York, easily accessible to Kutztown via bus companies like Bieber Tourways, which opened in 1973. Carroll made his selections after reading Artforum, seeing exhibitions and performances in New York, or at the suggestion of students and colleagues. The list of residents is staggering for their diversity and significance in the history of art, dance, music, and literature, comprising a veritable “who’s who” of the avant-garde. This exhibition features James Carroll, the man who established the New Arts Program at Kutztown State College, the students who benefitted from its realization, and those such as Philip Glass and Jon Gibson, who have sustained the program over the years through their participation and fundraising efforts. The work of
Credit: David Rabinowitch, after KU lecture on architecture. Photo by Vick Tyndall.
Hoping to formalize this initiative, Carroll applied to the National Endowment for the Arts, receiving a grant that would provide each visitor a stipend and cover their travel expenses. With this support, he created the Art Series Program, which Carroll eventually renamed the New Arts Program. Before moving to its own space on Main Street in downtown Kutztown, the New Arts Program remained a part of Kutztown University from 1974 through the end of 1983. During this time, over one hundred artists, choreographers, composers, musicians, writers, critics, and scholars traveled to Kutztown to meet with students and the public. Carroll required that contributors go ten years between visits to keep the program fresh, and
Carroll and the “Kutztown Group,” what art historian Robert Pincus-Witten called the artists to emerge from Kutztown in the late 1970s, reflect a dynamic period when the possibilities of art remained open and limitless. These artists—James Clark, Joseph Egan, Paul Harryn, Michael Kessler, and Barbara Kilpatrick—have earned international recognition in diverse mediums of painting, sculpture, photography, and performance. Their careers represent the excellence of Kutztown University, as well as the impact of the New Arts Program in shaping creative professionals. All five of these alumni have returned over the years to participate in consultations and exhibit their work, and several have served on its Board of Advisors. They
remain grateful to Carroll for his mentorship and creating the New Arts Program, which enriched the educational programming at Kutztown University and provided a forum for exploring contemporary art. While many schools invite visiting artists for lectures, the New Arts Program was unique in the format of conversation-based residencies as well as the significance of its participants. In addition to meeting individually with students, visitors would stage exhibitions and present performances, produce prints in the studio with student assistance, and socialize with the community during meals and other events. In this way, the New Arts Program continued in the tradition of Black Mountain College, the innovative art school located outside of Asheville, North Carolina, that operated from 1933-57. Black Mountain College encouraged experimentation and collaboration
In 1981, Carroll considered the series, “a reflection of where art comes from, where art is today and what will be tomorrow,” an apt description for an initiative with historical roots, grounded in contemporary practice, and integral for shaping emerging artists.
among its students and faculty, and the roster of those
Unlike its predecessors, the New Arts Program has
involved includes architect Buckminster Fuller, painter
remained alive and well for over forty years. Perhaps its
Josef Albers, textile artist Anni Albers, and poet Charles
longevity is due to James Carroll and his efforts to plot
Olson. One of the professors was Robert Motherwell, who
future directions for art while simultaneously locating
attempted to replicate the intellectual and creative diversity
its origins and present bearing. In 1981, he considered the
of Black Mountain College with his own “Subjects of
series, “a reflection of where art comes from, where art is
the Artist” school, a program created with Mark Rothko,
today and what will be tomorrow,” an apt description for an
Barnett Newman, David Hare, and William Baziotes in
initiative with historical roots, grounded in contemporary
New York City in 1948. While this initiative was short-lived,
practice, and integral for shaping emerging artists.3 As
Motherwell hoped that cross-disciplinary exchange would
Kutztown University celebrates its sesquicentennial, the
engender a cultural renaissance in America following World
Marlin and Regina Miller Gallery is pleased to tell the story
War II. In formulating the visiting artist series, Carroll
of the first decade of the New Arts Program and its impact
continued Motherwell’s quest for “a revolution in the
on five distinguished alumni.
sense of increased consciousness, of consciousness of the possibilities inherent in experiencing.”2
SHIFTING THE PARADIGM
Credit: Richard Serra in the KU Lecture Hall, image courtesy of NAP.
The first artist to participate in the new residency program was David Rabinowitch, a Canadian-born artist who exhibited internationally prior to his appearance at Kutztown in November of 1974. Carroll hoped to challenge the status quo with his visitors and Rabinowitch certainly established a climate for critical discourse. Interested in philosophy, his work engages viewers’ perception and the relationship between art and the everyday world. Considering sculpture to be a synthesis of art forms and modes of experience, Rabinowitch remains celebrated for contesting knowledge and the distinction between the literal and sensory.4 In a series of questions and notes he submitted to Carroll for an anthology about
framed by Carroll, “shifted the educational model.”7 The
“[It] just turned the mindset, shifted the paradigm. In and of itself, it was a lesson to all of us, about the way things are asked, and the kind of reason that should be applied to contemporary painting.”
personal and professional relationships forged between
the New Arts Program, the artist directly opposed the idea that art maintains a “private truth.” Instead he found that perception, memory, and investigation often contradict each other as actions.5 Paul Harryn recalled that Rabinowitch’s interactions with Carroll and the student body helped set the critical thrust of the New Arts Program: “[It] just turned the mindset, shifted the paradigm. In and of itself, it was a lesson to all of us, about the way things are asked, and the kind of reason that should be applied to contemporary painting.”6 Barbara Kilpatrick concurred, believing that the structure of the New Arts Program, as
visitors and undergraduates often continued beyond the residency period. For example, Joseph Egan became close to Rabinowitch and worked as his studio assistant for three years after graduating from Kutztown.
Like Rabinowitch, Richard Serra, who visited Kutztown
Black Mountain College, participating in “Happenings”
in 1976, explores the tension of physicality and perception
with John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg, and receiving
in his sculptural installations. A pioneer of the Minimalist
acclaim for paintings that reference mathematics,
movement, Serra was celebrated at the end of the 1960s for
astronomy, and natural order. Her compositions derive
working with industrial materials, such as fiberglass and
from topology and often feature unique shapes and
steel, as well as videos that document banal yet difficult
arrangements, what Carter Ratcliff calls the “integrity… of
activities, notably the canonical Hand Catching Lead (1968).
materials alive to the meanings they generate by realizing
His large-scale projects were often industrially fabricated
their structural potential.”9 Rockburne famously asked
based on models and drawings, and then situated on
herself, “How could drawing be of itself and not about
a specific site with a particular relationship to viewers.
something else,” and like others associated with the New
The simplicity of the forms were often countered by the
Arts Program, employs painting and drawing to probe the
massiveness of their scale, while the materials, namely
visceral and speculative, the sensory and analytic.
Cor-Ten steel, acquired a patina to further elicit sensory responses. When James Clark presented his work to Serra at Carroll’s home, he received encouragement from the artist despite having difficulties with his project. The reassurance struck Clark as “generous,” who recalled Serra being among the visitors who “would communicate and give nutrition to
In 1977, Vito Acconci, the performance artist notorious for documenting himself performing mundane tasks and autoerotic activities, shocked students with his videos and presentation. As Michael Kessler recalled: “Vito Acconci
Dorothea Rockburne, who came to Kutztown in 1977.
“Here’s a farm boy from central Pennsylvania who had the Andrew Wyeth model of what it was to be an artist, and all of a sudden I meet James Carroll and Vito Acconci. I was perplexed, big time… which was exactly what I needed”
Rockburne studied with Frank Kline among others at
the arts.”8 Where Serra’s Minimalist constructions originated with industrial materials, Robert Mangold, whose residency occurred later in 1976, challenged the precepts of painting with abstract, geometric works. Rather than standard, rectangular configurations, Mangold produces circles, hexagons, or other irregularly formatted paintings. The unique shapes of his typically monochromatic canvases suggest assembly and design rather than a painting of an image; indeed his work has been described as objects themselves instead of the representation of objects. The geometric root of Mangold’s art parallels others like
Credit: Laurie Anderson at KU, image courtesy of NAP.
Credit: Nam June Paik speaking with students in the sculpture studio at KU, 1979. Photo by Kermit Oswald.
was showing films of himself burning the hair off his
stores in front of a shopping display. In these ways, Graham
chest... He would talk incessantly, rubbing his skin [on his
examined domesticity and consumerism, or what he called
forearm] until it started bleeding. You could understand,
the “social patterns” organizing life in the late 1970s.12
here’s a farm boy from central Pennsylvania who had the Andrew Wyeth model of what it was to be an artist, and all of a sudden I meet James Carroll and Vito Acconci. I was perplexed, big time… which was exactly what I needed.”10 Acconci’s work challenged our relationship to our bodies and the degree to which an artwork engages a projection of self.11 The narcissism of video documentation remains a contested topic in the current age of social media, and artists like Acconci questioned the ideals of subjectivity. The audience is left to wonder whether the personality of the artist is apparent in the work, or if the work includes the affectation of a fictive personality. In awkward terms, Acconci destabilized assumptions about art and its connection to the artist, a potentially problematic position for undergraduates seeking a career in the field.
Acconci and Graham were part a generation of artists who utilized the latest developments in technology, including television and audio recordings, to document their activities or create mixed media installations. Two such pioneers in electronic, or digital, art—Nam June Paik and Laurie Anderson—participated in the New Arts Program in 1979 and 1981 respectively. Paik, the subject of a recent retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, helped coin the term “electronic superhighway” in the 1970s to describe the burgeoning field of telecommunications. After studying music and associating with John Cage and the artist group Fluxus, he moved to New York and began experimenting with video recorders and televisions. He utilized closed circuit cameras, as well as feeds from TV shows and motion pictures, for sculptural assemblages
Where Acconci contested notions of artistic labor
and large-scale installations. Anderson similarly fused
and production, Dan Graham represented a model of
music and performance in her oeuvre, inventing electronic
interdisciplinary practice, founding a gallery, curating
instruments and recording devices, and working across
exhibitions, and exploring various mediums and formats
genres such as music, film, theater, and the visual arts. She
since the mid-1960s. Perhaps best known for photographic
collaborated with Paik, singer Lou Reed, poet William S.
work that explores the seriality of suburbia, Graham
Burroughs, choreographer Trisha Brown, and comedian
presented video-based installations as part of his 1978
Andy Kaufman among many others. While Paik and
appearance at the New Arts Program. For these projects,
Anderson pioneered new audio-video formats, Carroll was
the artist selected various public and private spaces, such
most interested in how they used the media for artistic
as suburban housing developments or strip malls, and then
ends. “I get bored with technology,” he admitted. “I like
placed video projections before those sites. One project
thinking and I don’t want something doing it for me.”13
included a video screen outside a suburban home that aired
The technology central to the work of Nam June Paik and
the same television program being watched inside, while
Laurie Anderson became another artistic tool, a means for
another broadcast identical merchandise from different
questioning art, society, and technology itself.
The technology central to the work of Nam June Paik and Laurie Anderson became another artistic tool, a means for questioning art, society, and technology itself.
Credit: Laurie Anderson speaking with James Carroll and students in the sculpture studio. Image courtesy of NAP.
CAMPUS INTERVENTIONS & INSTALLATIONS In addition to the consultations, several artists created site-specific installations, a tradition that continues today with the Miller Gallery’s annual residency program.14
structure included a narrow walkway leading into a cavelike corridor. Named for the wagon wheel used to torture people since antiquity, Pinto’s work evokes the Christian martyr and recast that tradition to question human activity, ranging from an engagement with space and the landscape, to the body and its value.
In September of 1975, the second academic year of the New Arts Program, Carolee Thea staged No Man’s Land, cordoning off half an acre of campus with nearly one hundred wooden posts and barbed wire. Constructed with the help of James Carroll and students including Paul
Credit: Students installing No Man’s Land at KU. Image courtesy of Carolee Thea.
Harryn, No Man’s Land undermined the landscaping that beautifies many universities. As Harryn observed in a review he wrote for the student newspaper, The Keystone,
the installation “symbolizes the virtually impassable hostile conditions imposed by institutional systems.”15 Such critiques of institutions were common at the time, and Thea’s selection of barbed wire evokes militarism and containment, a pointed commentary on the Vietnam War and fall of Saigon earlier that spring. In addition to the
90 Credit: No Man’s Land installed outside Sharadin Art Building. Image courtesy of Carolee Thea
political potential of this work—including the policing of college campuses that resulted in the shooting of four students at Kent State University in Ohio—Thea’s work bore striking aesthetic features, an aspect noted by Harryn who likened the piece to Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles and works by Robert Morris from the late 1960s. A few years later, in 1982, Jody Pinto visited Kutztown and created Seeded Catherine Wheel, a large spiral created of cinder blocks and covered with grass and straw. Typical of Pinto’s “landscape interventions,” the fifty-six-foot-wide
Credit: Students installing No Man’s Land at KU. Image courtesy of Carolee Thea.
It was a bit difficult to describe to the students what the feeling would be once the project was completed and you entered the Wheel. Once we were finished and the first student made their way inside … Other memories…I was invited to James’ house, to dinner with his family…my first night in the KU dorms there was a fire drill… Kermit also made frames for me (many, many moons ago) for a series of very large watercolors (5x6’ & 5 x9’) called the “Henri Drawings” for a solo show at the ICA in Philly. We made a deal for cash and a bow-flex workout machine that I had traded for a drawing… More memories…making a large drawing for the project in the print room and Kermit making a blueprint of it, causing the deep blacks to turn a smoldering blue…and
Credit: Image of students working on the Seeded Catherine Wheel at KU. Image courtesy of NAP.
MEMORIES OF THE SEEDED CATHERINE WHEEL AND KU In the Spring of 1981 James invited me to be a visiting artist at Kutztown University. At the time I was doing temporary site-specific public art projects. Other artists who had been in the program told me what a great “guy” James was and that the program was an open opportunity to create work with students. I jumped at the chance. The experience of meeting James was unique, his dedication to providing students with the opportunity to meet and work with artists was immense. He encouraged them, gave them responsibilities – gave them confidence. Jim introduced me to a student named Kermit Oswald who was “the organizer” on the project and who, with the other students, gave the project a wonderful energy.
always - conversations with James.
-JODI PINTO (6/24/2015)
Credit: Original sketch for the Seeded Catherine Wheel. Image courtesy of Jodi Pinto.
The experience of meeting James was unique, his dedication to providing students with the opportunity to meet and work with artists was immense. He encouraged them, gave them responsibilities â€“ gave them confidence. -JODI PINTO (6/24/2015)
Credit: Image of Seeded Catherine Wheel along Constitution Blvd, Kutztown. Image courtesy of NAP
One of the more unique performances at Kutztown was Stephen Poleskie’s “Aerial Theater,” a series of maneuvers the artist performed in a biplane high above campus. Poleskie’s background was in the visual arts and he founded Chiron Press in New York in 1963, creating screen prints with the biggest names of the art world including Andy Warhol, Robert Motherwell, and Helen Frankenthaler. In 1968, he became a professor at Cornell University and began creating elaborate patterns in the sky by releasing smoke from his airplane. Performed
One of the more unique performances at Kutztown was Stephen Poleskie’s “Aerial Theater,” a series of maneuvers the artist performed in a biplane high above campus.
throughout the world, these “four-dimensional” works occasionally included parachute jumps with music and dance at ground level. Poleskie mapped his performances through drawings, and at Kutztown, he produced a suite of prints depicting the flight path and its subsequent Credit: Steve Poleskie, aerobatic sculptor, making a print with the Artist Series Program. Photo by Janice Carapellucci.
patterns, including spirals and cubic outlines. Carroll recalled that the project proved more complicated than most because permits had to be secured from the Federal Aviation Administration, and an insurance policy of one million dollars needed to be arranged.16
Credit: Steven Poleskie, etching, 1980, edition of 20, “Kutztown Sky Series,”arches cover white, 22 x 30. Photo courtesy of NAP
Credit: Philip Glass in dialogue with Kutztown students. Photo by Janice Carapellucci.
BREAKING DOWN BOUNDARIES
did the students benefit from their exposure to so many
One of the distinct features of the New Arts Program is its
experimentation. Glass became a supporting member
multidisciplinary nature. James Carroll brought together
of the program, serving on the Board of Advisors and
artists, musicians, dancers, writers, and scholars to discuss
agreeing to perform benefit concerts every three years.
art in a holistic yet avant-garde manner. The exchange
He first came to Kutztown in 1975 and has returned over
of ideas proved challenging and unexpected, and for
a dozen times, appearing with musicians like Jon Gibson
composer Philip Glass, a residency at Kutztown meant he
and poets including Allen Ginsberg. Glass stated, “I
would critique visual artwork despite his musical expertise.
have tremendous respect for James for keeping New
Carroll insisted upon the commonalities of disciplines,
Arts edgy, and on the map, for all these years... It’s really
and exposing students to different perspectives produces,
about playing wherever someone is committed to being
in Glass’ estimation, “a very stimulating encounter.”
responsible to the community we work in. We need
Michael Kessler agreed, “The biggest influence for me was
people like James, and if we don’t support them, we can’t
Philip Glass. He said so many things that made sense to
complain that those people aren’t around.”19
me in terms of how to approach being an artist.” Not only 18
successful professionals, the artists received a forum for
I have tremendous respect for James for keeping New Arts edgy, and on the map, for all these years... It’s really about playing wherever someone is committed to being responsible to the community we work in. We need people like James, and if we don’t support them, we can’t complain that those people aren’t around. -PHILIP GLASS
Credit: Philip Glass rehearsing with KU students in Schaeffer Auditorium, photo courtesy of NAP
In 1981, Meredith Monk and her Vocal Ensemble
hypnotic series of repetitive vocalizations without words,
performed at Schaeffer Auditorium. Working at the
while the opera Quarry tells the story of dictatorship and
intersection of dance and music, Monk is an acclaimed
genocide through a child’s experiences. Monk’s ability to
composer and vocalist, receiving a MacArthur Foundation
explore primal, expressive gestures while simultaneously
“Genius” Award in 1995 among other international
addressing political situations reflects the range of those
recognition. Her “new opera” draws from diverse sources,
invited to campus by Carroll.
such as the Martha Graham Dance Company, folk and classical music, Fluxus, and the visual arts. This spirit pervaded New York’s art scene in the 1960s and 1970s, as she recalled: “Sculptors were making dances, musicians were painting, poets were composing music. There was a vibrant atmosphere of experimentation, of breaking Credit: Meredith Monk and the House performing “Plateau Series” at KU. Photo by Kermit Oswald.
down boundaries.”21 This hybridity was apparent during her time at Kutztown, as she performed the Plateau Series (II and III) and screened her film Quarry. Plateau featured the performer twirling in a long dress while chanting a
In addition to composers, the New Arts Program included significant dance companies. Carroll acknowledged his lack of expertise in this area, but featured musicians and choreographers “to open the dialogue more.”22 One of the first dancers to visit Kutztown was Yvonne Rainer in 1975. Rainer was one of the founders of the collective enterprise known as the Judson Dance Theater in 1962, the studio that would become legendary for inventing new, postmodern forms of dance. In the spirit of Ad Reinhardt’s “Rules for a
“Sculptors were making dances, musicians were painting, poets were composing music. There was a vibrant atmosphere of experimentation, of breaking down boundaries.” -MEREDITH MONK
New Academy,” Rainer wrote her “No Manifesto” in 1965,
positions in space but do not duplicate gestures, allowing
a statement that rejected classical tropes and privileged
Brown, in the words of one of her performers, to “invent
objective body movements similar to visual art. Her
a new language and explore its infinite possibilities.”25 In
choreography fused mundane tasks with closed systems,
addition to Locus, the company staged Line Up, in which
employing repetition, fragmentation, and quotidian
dancers adhere to, and disengage from, imaginary lines.
elements rather than narrative, stylization, and other
Accompanied by Bob Dylan’s “Early Mornin’ Rain” and a
conventional modes of performance. Her interest in film
metronome, the dance continued Brown’s interest in order
eventually lead Rainer away from choreography, and in the
and disorder, stability and change.
1970s she became known for feminist films that challenged the objectifying power of the lens. Barbara Kilpatrick recalled Rainer’s visit being significant for Kutztown undergraduates, particularly her “subjectively feminist exploration of conceptualism and its power.”23 Other members of the Judson Dance Company featured
in the New Arts Program, notably Trisha Brown, another
major figure in postmodern dance and a choreographer often linked to Minimalism. Brown initially caught the attention of the art world by staging performances outside of the theater, for example her famous Man Walking Down the Side of a Building (1970), in which a man descended a seven-story facade while suspended by a harness.24 During her three-day residency in 1977, Brown’s troupe performed Locus (1975) and Lineup (1977). An eighteen-minute routine with no musical accompaniment, Locus was designed around a diagram of a cube. Twenty-six numbers, the amount of which corresponds to the alphabet, were assigned to various points on the imaginary cube, with each dancer touching the alpha-numeric position based on an autobiographical statement written by Brown. Simultaneously personal yet programmed, Locus forces dancers into a confined albeit expressive system of being. As four dancers work through this system, they repeat
PRINTS BY NON-PRINTMAKERS In the spring of 1979, Carroll initiated a print series to be created by the visiting artists during their residency. The idea began with writer David Shapiro and two Kutztown students, Kermit Oswald and Judy Geib, and over the next seven years, composers, poets, dancers, architects, and sculptors produced nearly seventy editions. These were not trained printmakers; instead Carroll wanted to “suggest
Credit: Student printmakers working in the KU studio, from left: Tom, Dave, Peg, Kermit, and Ralph. Photo by James Carroll.
“At Kutztown, doing these prints was the only way for me to make real contact with working, professional artists. Helping the guests realize their creative projects was the most valuable experience of my whole education. We were doing actual artwork, rather than being lectured to, or criticized.” -KERMIT OSWALD
that the printmaking process must be generated by persons with strong ideas, ideas that are more important than the skills or technical craft of printmaking.”26 Undergraduates, including Eileen Baxter, David D’Imperio, Tom Sterner, Ralph Bailets, Mark Innerst, Oswald, and Geib, directed the logistics of printing, a profound experience for students. Oswald recalled, “At Kutztown, doing these prints was the only way for me to make real contact with working, professional artists. Helping the guests realize their creative projects was the most valuable experience of my whole education. We were doing actual artwork, rather than being lectured to, or criticized.”27 This collaboration, between aspiring studio practitioners and artists working outside their areas of expertise, generated a unique portfolio. In November 1980, John Cage visited the New Arts Program, selecting autumn for his residency because the conditions were best for finding mushrooms unique to Pennsylvania and Cage was an avid mycologist. Widely
Credit: Connie Beckley working on her etching with Art Series Program printer Judy Geib. Photo by Janice Carapellucci.
acknowledged as the most significant composer of the twentieth century, Cage had been a major influence in the art world for nearly forty years by the time he came to Kutztown University. In the 1940s, he staged concerts at the Museum of Modern Art because, “the musical ideas I was developing seemed more related to modern painting than to anything else.”28 He taught at Black Mountain College where he debuted arguably his most famous score, 4’33”, a composition with no music that challenged audiences to appreciate ambient noise instead. Cage also created “prepared pianos,” modifying the instrument by fastening objects to its strings that produced unconventional sounds. He collaborated with artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and dancers including Merce Cunningham throughout his prolific career. His use of chance, nonmusical instruments,
and technology revolutionized music, while Cage also
worked in painting and printmaking, collaborating with Crown Point Press for nearly fifteen years. Already conversant with the print medium, Cage arrived with a preplanned system to generate his edition. First, students helped him secure twenty strings of varying materials and dimensions. Next, he consulted the I Ching, an ancient Chinese “Book of Changes” that frequently determined the sequencing of his compositions. Accordingly, Cage placed a stepladder next to the press and dropped strings onto the printing plate from different levels. The I Ching established the variables in the process, including the color of the strings, the height from which he dropped them, and the orientation of the plate used for his approach.29 Thus, the prints were seemingly generated at random, a continuation of the indeterminacy Cage used as a governing artistic principle. Yet as was the case
Credit: John Cage running the press during the final printing of his second edition. Photo by Kermit Oswald.
throughout his career, Cage could control the system he employed, allowing the artist to set parameters and make necessary changes. Two editions were made over the course of two days, with one including 20 prints and the other featuring 62 works. This number was again determined by the I Ching, and each print contained a unique arrangement of colors and forms, some spare with minimal features and others densely layered in undulating lines and rich hues. Known for his generosity, Cage gave the student assistants a work from each edition, while the remainders became a part of a fundraising program to assist the New Arts Program. Cage was not the only composer to create prints for James Carroll. Jon Gibson, one of the major performers in Minimalist music and a founding member of the Philip Glass Ensemble, created a triptych in 1982. The suite began with three rectangular blocks featuring chart-like
Credit: John Cage dropping strings , assisted by Kermit Oswald and James Carroll. Image courtesy of The New Arts Program. ,
Credit: John Cage dropping strings to make his prints surrounded by Art Series printers: Ralph, Kermit, Lisa, Eileen, Beth and Martha. Photo by James Carroll.
Credit: John Cage, “STRINGS”, 1980. edition of 20, embossed, colored. Arches cover white, 22” x 30”. Image courtesy of James Carroll. ,
fluctuations akin to audio registries of volume and pitch. Filled in with dark pigment or left empty, these irregularly shaped but geometric constructions were initially printed on buff-colored, or yellow-brown, paper. After returning to New York City, he asked Carroll to reprint the images on white paper, and then requested a third series a few months
Credit: Jon Gibson, “TRIO”, 1982. 1st state of three, arches cover buff, 22” x 30”. Image courtesy of James Carroll.
later that included diagonal lines running across the plate. After completion, Gibson exhibited all three states together because they revealed the process of creation and evolution of the prints. Glenn Branca, known for inventing his own instruments, including an eight-foot-long guitar constructed while at Kutztown University, made a series of monoprints by crushing a tomato as he sent it through the printing press. Peter Van Riper, a sound and light artist who experimented with holograms, similarly produced prints by flattening a Chinese food container with the press. This work, Take-Out Music, displayed Van Riper’s interest in the detritus of city streets, while he also created a suite of prints called Tarlatan Music, setting the measured, horizontal lines of a musical staff against the circular patterns of a printing plate wiped with a tarlatan, or cloth. Throughout the print series, these musicians explored the visuality of music while embracing chance in the artistic process, yet others created work to comment on pertinent social issues. Bill T. Jones, cofounder of the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company, made a print with a drawing of a knife accompanied by the incomplete statement, “Don’t Come Near Me I Have A…” As an African-American, Jones considered this statement racially loaded because it might reinforce stereotypes about race and criminality.30 Issues of racism and violence continue to plague America today, and
Credit: Bill T. Jones, “DON’T COME NEAR ME I HAVE A” edition of 10, arches cover white, 22” x 30”.
Credit: Keith Haring, “KUTZTOWN CONNECTION”, offset black poster / black felt pen, two etched plates, 1982.
the arts are alive in Kutztown. -THE NEW YORK TIMES
Credit: Keith Haring at his exhibit at the New Arts Program, 1982. Image courtesy of Bill Uhrich and The Reading Eagle.
the appearance of political commentary among dialogue about aesthetics reflects the versatility of the New Arts Program, as well as Carroll’s interest in exploring diverse topics with his visiting artists. In 1982, Keith Haring, a native of Kutztown celebrated for his graffiti art and activism, created seven drawings for the New Arts Program as part of his residency. Two years
later, he created a poster for “The Kutztown Connection,”
a fundraising event hosted at the Symphony Space in New York City. The performance featured alumni from the New Arts Program, including John Cage, Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, Meredith Monk, Jon Gibson, and Robert Ashley, prompting a New York Times review to note, “the arts are alive in Kutztown.”31 Haring’s poster featured the skyline of New York, one of his trademark “everyman” figures with outstretched arms, and interlocking swans forming a heart. Carroll explained that the poster drew from Haring’s roots in Kutztown, including references to the Pennsylvania Dutch and Mummers, as well as his interest in peace.32 Beyond prints and posters, Haring created a permanent artwork for the New Arts Program as part of his 1987 exhibition, painting the floor of the gallery in his characteristic graphic style.
Credit: Prints done by Keith Haring for his NAP residency, 1982
A KUTZTOWN GROUP
and commenting that she “continues to correspond with
The New Arts Program not only influenced undergraduates
mentor to younger artists.”34 Robert Pincus-Witten,
and their creative output, it impacted the participants
the editor of Art Forum magazine who wrote extensively
as well. In homage to his experiences at Kutztown,
about Minimalism and Post-Modernism, documented his
David Shapiro, an accomplished poet and art historian,
experiences for Carroll:
collaborated with his student, Stephen Paul Miller, to write the play, Harrisburg Mon Amour, or Two Boys on a Bus. The script originated from an audio recording of a conversation between the two as they traveled on a bus from New York City to Kutztown University for a poetry reading. The dialogue meanders across topics, ranging from art and history to love, including the anxiety of the writers as they spill grape juice on themselves and worry about what to wear for the presentation. This unease includes connections the characters make between Kutztown and Three Mile Island, the site of a nuclear meltdown near Harrisburg in 1979.33 Taylor Mead, an actor who appeared in Andy Warhol’s films at the Factory in the 1960s, performed both roles in its 1980 debut at New York City’s The Kitchen, the experimental art space that still operates in Chelsea after
the students from the Series, and I enjoy serving as a
…Thursday past to Kutztown State College, founded 1866, Kutztown, Pa. Zum Kutzen, to vomit. Vomit-town, Pa. Hardly! …a remarkable man, James Carroll—sparked by a high idealism and a fine artist as well. He has formed a fine body [of] like-minded students around him. Carroll is a friend of Kent Floeter, who put him on to me. He’s had Richard Serra down, the Boices,35 Vito [Acconci], Dorothea [Rockburne] scheduled. Though the students are only in their early twenties, they have a solid maturity about them that brought me up short. They suggested M.F.A. candidates, not B.F.A. kids. In some way they might form a Kutztown group. Michael Kessler, Hunter Yoder, Spencer Gregory, Joseph Egan, Patricia Fleming, Barbara Kilpatrick.36
relocating from Greenwich Village. Laurie Anderson produced the sound for the play while Linda Francis designed the sets, and they each participated in New Arts Program residencies the following year. In addition to writing a play about his experiences, Shapiro appeared in two residencies (1979 and 1994), and served as emcee for the “Kutztown Connection” performance in New York. Much of the support for the New Arts Program came via word of mouth among the art world. Irene Stein, who visited Kutztown in 1980, wrote how “impressed” she was with everything, finding her experience “informative”
Credit: Michael Kessler, “Greywoods (1), detail”, 2014. Acrylic on board, 23 “ x 92”
Though the students are only in their early twenties, they have a solid maturity about them that brought me up short. They suggested M.F.A. candidates, not B.F.A. kids. In some way they might form a Kutztown group. Michael Kessler, Hunter Yoder, Spencer Gregory, Joseph Egan, Patricia Fleming, Barbara Kilpatrick. -Robert Pincus-Witten, editor for Art Forum Magazine
Credit: “SPACE-MOVEMENT-COMMUNICATION” explorations by Paul Harryn and Interpreting Company, 1976. Featuring Barbara Kilpatrick as a dancer and Paul Harryn on bass guitar and flute. Collaborative performance by twelve Kutztown students in the Bear’s Den.
While a formal “Kutztown group” never formed, several
“There was an affirmation from a lot of the people that came through: the dancers, the musicians, Steve Reich and Philip Glass and Yvonne Rainer. People like that just said it’s okay to do what you’re doing, you can do the whole thing.” -Paul Harryn
of the artists who studied there and experienced the first decade of the New Arts Program share artistic sensibilities. Five alumni in particular—James Clark, Joseph Egan, Paul Harryn, Michael Kessler, and Barbara Kilpatrick—remain close to James Carroll and their work remains a testament to the art series’ impact on their formative years. Despite knowing each other well during their college years, these artists remain individuals and work in different mediums and genres, itself a statement about the ability of Carroll and the New Arts Program to foster personal growth. Time spent with the visiting artists shaped Kutztown undergraduates in various ways. First, the participants provided examples for success, even if their work did not fit into an easy category or niche. Paul Harryn recalled, “There was an affirmation from a lot of the people that came through: the dancers, the musicians, Steve Reich and Philip Glass and Yvonne Rainer. People like that just said it’s okay to do what you’re doing, you can do the whole thing.”37 This affirmation liberated students to pursue a range of disciplines, fusing mediums into an expansive idea of art. Barbara Kilpatrick, for example, works at the intersection of sculpture, costume design, dance, performance art, photography, and video. Her facility in disparate areas stems from an educational model that privileged experimentation and selfexploration. She remembered Harryn asking Carroll, “What can you teach me?” His reply was simple yet probing, “What is it you want to learn?”38 James Clark, a sculptor who works with lights and other kinetic components, valued how Carroll included “all
kinds of artists in the art world… It was a smorgasbord of
Credit: James O. Clark “ 3A,B,C (installation view), 2015. Metal, fluorescent bulbs, phosphorescent paint, motion detector. Images courtesy of ltd los angeles, by Jeff McLane.
possibility and ideas and viewpoints… No other program was doing that.”39 This interdisciplinary approach might be considered the credo of the New Arts Program as James Carroll considers mediums to be tools, variables that can be adapted or modified according to one’s interests. Such experimentation did not exclude medium specificity, and several from the “Kutztown Group,” including James Carroll, work primarily in painting. For Carroll and his students, painting involves negotiation with materials and aesthetics that often extend beyond the
Credit: James Carroll, “TwoTried Canvas”, 1967. Rhoplex and colorants. Approximately 55” x 48”
frame. Many from the New Arts Program challenged the parameters of the medium by creating shaped, abstract canvases, including Sam Gilliam, the Washington Color Painter who came to Kutztown in 1979. Known for draping unstretched canvas from the ceiling or wall, Gilliam transformed his paintings into architectural environments and undermined the pictorial flatness that supposedly characterized the medium. Likewise, Robert Mangold and Dorothea Rockburne approached the surface unconventionally, folding and arranging colored linen into geometric forms. Carroll found these methods compelling and committed to “work myself off the canvas” in his own shaped or notched paintings.40 Joseph Egan maintains a similar dialogue with medium; some of his painted, wooden constructions hang on the wall yet retain the three-dimensionality typical of sculpture. At times Egan produces cruciform works while in other instances he configures rectangular blocks into bundles or horizontal expanses. With Egan, the vernacular and metaphysical often collide in the union
Credit: Joseph Egan, “out of the blue (Nr. 3)”, 2015. various paints and sand on wood with free elements (lucky beans). 31 x 25 x 5 cm
of organic entities, such as stones or timber, with handcrafted objects, including fine paper or joined wood. Paul Harryn also utilizes natural elements to activate a space beyond the picture plane. Some of his paintings feature branches or sticks attached to the surface, recalling Anselm Kiefer and other artists whose abstract gestures continue into the viewer’s space. While unified as compositions, the work of Michael Kessler includes painted demarcations and boundaries that often disrupt their singularity as objects. The resulting effect alternates between continuum and interruption, a dynamic that enriches acts of viewership and contemplation. Despite working outside traditional formats, these artists remain deeply invested in the craft of making. However, technical virtuosity does not exist as an end to itself, instead it remains embedded CreditForest (1).jpg: Michael Kessler, “Forest (1)”, 2015. Acrylic on board. 20” x 80”. Image courtesy of Michael Kessler and Dean Schmidt Gallery, Philadelphia.
in their investigation of materials and the laborious process of creation. The artists assembled for this exhibition share an engagement with abstraction, exploring the interrelation between real and imagined, exterior and interior, tangible and illusory. For Barbara Kilpatrick, this
Exonerated from the dogmatic formalism that historically defined abstraction, the “Kutztown Group” remains invested in its possibilities. dialectic stems from the transitory nature of life, wherein forms become surrogates and mediators for experience. Her sculptures, designs, and performances allow an abstract object to convey literal and figurative projections, an engagement with material reality that stimulates a range of associations. Such work is not born of equivocation, but a belief in the power of ambiguity as an expressive and conceptual tool. The materials of James Clark’s sculptures remain recognizable—lighting tubes, balloons, and sheet metal—yet their shapes and colors transcend the literalness of the objects. Many of these abstracted works evince gesture, remaining indices of the physical manipulation
asking questions.”43 Mathematics often provides the
Credit: James Carroll, “Three Drawings (detail)”, 1976. Graphite on paper.
basis for Minimalist works, particularly systems of order and analysis including Euclidean geometry, Fibonacci sequences, and the Golden Ratio. The potential within reductive and geometric design impacted several alumni from Kutztown. For example, Joseph Egan recently concentrated on hexagonal forms in his paintings, a shape that appears in a range of natural settings including molecules and honeycombs. In the Colorcomb series (2014), Egan’s repeating forms and painterly gestures offset of materials. Where some of Clark’s sculptures maintain symmetry, others remain irregular and distorted. Kessler also works within the spectrum of representation and abstraction, moving fluidly along these positions to retain flexibility as an artist. For Kessler, “It’s all about freedom, without that element of freedom, you can’t make art that’s really meaningful and fulfilling.”41 Exonerated from the dogmatic formalism that historically defined abstraction, the “Kutztown Group” remains invested in its possibilities. As Harryn added, “The whole notion of abstraction continues to evolve for me… The more I become capable of allowing the materials to do what I want them to do, the more potential there is for complexity, but also simplicity.
symmetrical pattern with organic spontaneity. In this way, the hexagon becomes the locus for a range of complex experiences. Likewise, the cube, a primary shape and fundamental to Minimalist practice, serves as the template for some of Barbara Kilpatrick’s work, particularly Camera/Room. In the film and photographic series, a cubic structure defines a space of human interaction, appearing empty in some frames, containing Kilpatrick’s sculptures in others, and profound in evocations throughout. Similarly, the cylindrical and spherical forms of James Clark’s kinetic pieces, which at first seem simple, emit a complex array of light and color. In his Luminiferous Aether (1995-2011), humble materials with minimal adornment,
At one time everything and nothing at all.”42
such as glass tubes and balloons, assume the expressive
A belief in the conceptual and material richness of
and pigmentation. While none of these artists should
simplicity is central to the New Arts Program and work
themselves be considered Minimalists, their engagement
of James Carroll. Many of the residencies featured
with materials, geometry, and reductionism developed by
individuals who might be considered Minimalists, whether
considering its ramifications.
as visual artists, composers, or choreographers, and for Carroll, the movement offered unlimited possibilities. “When you make it simple,” he explained, “it keeps you
qualities of painterly gestures through their illumination
Credit: Joseph Egan, from the â€œColorcombâ€? series. 2014.
With Kutztown University’s rural setting, it is not surprising that nature inspires many of its students and alumni. Paul Harryn built a studio named Arcadia in a wooded area near the Delaware River, painting outdoors to capture the mood of his surroundings. In nature Harryn finds something “elemental,” a syntax for expressionism. Indeed, he continues the legacy of Jackson Pollock and other members of the New York School whose pastoral retreats informed Abstract Expressionism. Traces of Harryn’s environment— landscape features, celestial bodies, foliate designs, and localized color—remain visible in works shaped by his time in Pennsylvania, California, and Europe. The transformative power of nature, ranging from seasonal change to entropy or durational growth, inspires the work of Michael Kessler as well. Like Harryn, he left the
Credit: Barbara Kilpatrick, “Camera/ Room”, 1979.
urban art centers for an intimate relationship with the land. In Kessler’s case, his “arcadia” is New Mexico, where observation and process unfold in paintings evocative of nature and its inner workings. Indebted to the American tradition of landscape modernists, such as Arthur Dove or Marsden Hartley, Kessler creates a dynamic tension between representation and abstraction. His recent paintings evoke trees through their vertical alignment and earthy hues, while painterly gestures conjure plant tendrils, a body of work closely linked to Kessler’s “oasis” in New Mexico and southern Utah.44
Credit: Topanga, Nine Studies. (Permutations of Dawn, Day, and Night), 2012-2015. Ink, acrylic paint, epoxy, varnish on canvas. 40 x 40”
Credit: James O. Clark, “Use More Green, detail” 2015. Aluminum, glass, argon and plastics. Courtesy James O. Clark/ Denny Gallery, NYC. Photographer: Sean Fader
Suggestive of natural order and organic lyricism, Kessler’s
Ultimately, the artists who studied at Kutztown
oeuvre parallels Joseph Egan in locating expansiveness
University in the 1970s, and encountered the New Arts
and detail among landscape attributes. His paintings
Program in its first decade of existence, learned diverse
include botanic forms in addition to rectangular
approaches to art. They were exposed to a range of ideas,
abstractions reminiscent of doorways. Color selections
including the topology and materiality of Minimalism,
derive from a consideration of nature and place, while
the interdisciplinary flexibility of Postmodernism,
Egan also cites the primal forces of fire and water in his
Abstraction and its relationship to medium, and the
titles and aesthetic choices. The human form remains
roots of Expressionism, ranging from nature to personal
central for Barbara Kilpatrick, and she often works
subjectivities. In unique ways, these artists pursue their
with an improvised linearity while designing sculptures
individual missions, yet each engages a phenomenology
suggestive of the body and its movements. The patterns of
of art, the experiences and consciousness generated by
her costumes, sets, and props further derive from nature,
the objects of their creation. By remaining open to the
whether animal print or floral design. Finally, James Clark,
possibilities inherent within art, the “Kutztown Group”
an artist who utilizes electricity and mechanization, draws
sustains its vitality, because, as James Carroll wrote, “Art…
inspiration from the natural world. He claims the Northern
is the present in relation to what was or will be or what
Lights as a major influence on his study of light and color,
should be—IT IS.”45
and some of his works are powered by solar cells that are stimulated by the sun and triggered by photo sensors.
James F. L. Carroll, conversation with the author, 11 July 2014.
Robert Motherwell, Letter to William Carlos Williams, 3 December 1941. Reproduced in Stephanie Terenzio, ed., The Collected Writings of Robert Motherwell
(New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992): 17. Italics original to the letter. 3
James F. L. Carroll, “Notes and Ideas Recorded January 1981,” In and Out of Kutztown (Kutztown, Kutztown State College, 1981), p. 72.
For more on Rabinowitch’s ideas about art and perception, see: “David Rabinowitch by David Carrier,” BOMB Magazine 58 (Winter 1997): http://
David Rabinowitch, in James F. L. Carroll, In and Out of Kutztown (Kutztown, Kutztown State College, 1981), p.74-78.
Paul Harryn, conversation with the author, 24 September 2014.
Barbara Kilpatrick, correspondence with the author, 15 July 2015.
James Clark, conversation with the author, 8 May 2015.
Carter Ratcliff, “Dorothea Rockburne: Art and the Integrity of Being,” in A Gift of Knowing: The Art of Dorothea Rockburne (Brunswick, Maine: Bowdoin
College Museum of Art, 2015), unpaginated. 10
Michael Kessler, conversation with the author, 26 May 2015.
Rosalind Krauss, “The Aesthetics of Narcissism,” October 1 (Spring 1976): p. 50-64.
Dan Graham, in Carroll, In and Out of Kutztown, 207-210.
James F. L. Carroll, conversation with the author, 11 July 2014.
Kutztown University annually solicits applications from around the world for the creation of a site-specific installation within the Marlin and Regina Miller
Gallery. Typically, the artist arrives in January and works with students to complete the exhibition over the course of several weeks, giving a public lecture and individual critiques in the process. Begun in 2010, the program has featured American and international artists alike, including: Nene Humphrey (2010), Chris Dacre (2011), Onishi Yasuaki from Japan (2012), Jarod Charzewski from Canada (2013), Hannah Bertram from Australia (2014), and Michael Covello (2015). Several catalogues from the program are available at: http://issuu.com/millerku. 15
Paul Harryn, “No Man’s Land,” The Keystone (1975); reprinted online at: http://www.caroleethea.com/archive/Pages/nomanslandtext01.html.
James F. L. Carroll, Ideas from Individual Impressions and Marks: Prints of Non-Printmakers (Bethlehem: Lehigh University Art Galleries, 1988), p. 22; Carroll, In
and Out of Kutztown, p. 185-189. 17
Philip Glass, as quoted in Geoff Gehman, “Glass Is Half Full: Kutztown Benefit Will Help Pianist Prepare To Record His Etudes,” The Morning Call (7
November 1999): http://articles.mcall.com/1999-11-07/entertainment/3277389_1_philip-glass-new-arts-program-visual-feasts. 18
Michael Kessler, conversation with the author, 26 May 2015.
Philip Glass as quoted in Geoff Gehman, “Minimalist Philip Glass has big heart for Kutztown,” The Morning Call (1 October 2006): http://articles.mcall.
Several other New Arts Program alumni have been awarded the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant, including Trisha Brown, Bill T. Jones, and Yvonne
Rainer among others. 21
Meredith Monk, as quoted in Nancy Putnam Smithner, “Meredith Monk: Four Decades by Design and by Invention,” TDR 49, no. 2 (Summer 2005), p. 9.
James F. L. Carroll, conversation with the author, 11 July 2014.
Barbara Kilpatrick, conversation with the author, 29 October 2014.
For more on Brown and her relationship to visual art, see Susan Rosenberg, “Trisha Brown: Choreography as Visual Art,” October 140 (Spring 2012), p. 18-44.
Mona Sulzman, “Choice/Form in Trisha Brown’s ‘Locus’: A View from inside the Cube,” Dance Chronicle 2, no. 2 (1978), p. 122.
Carroll, Ideas from Individual Impressions and Marks, p. 7.
Kermit Oswald, as quoted in Tullio Francesco DeSantis, “The Wizardry of Oswald,” The Reading Eagle (13 June 1982): p. 15.
John Cage, as quoted in Calvin Tomkins, “Profiles: Figure in an Imaginary Landscape,” The New Yorker (28 November 1964), p. 83-84.
Cage reportedly fell from the ladder onto the printing press, fracturing a rib but employing “scotch for medicinal purposes” to ease his pain. Carroll suggested
that Cage use all four sides of the press as an additional variable, thereby allowing him to drop strings from each side of the plate. For further discussion of Cage’s visit and his process, see: James F. L. Carroll, John Cage: String Prints (Kutztown: New Arts Program, 2009); Carroll, Ideas from Individual Impressions and Marks, p. 5. 30
Carroll, Ideas from Individual Impressions and Marks, p. 6.
Jack Anderson, “Dance: ‘Kutztown Connection,’” New York Times (3 October 1984): http://www.nytimes.com/1984/10/03/arts/dance-kutztown-connection.
Carroll, Ideas from Individual Impressions and Marks, p. 17.
Daniel Morris, “Shapiro’s Comedic Poetics and Its Limits in Harrisburg Mon Amour, or Two Boys on a Bus,” in “Burning Interiors”: David Shapiro’s Poetry and
Poetics (Madison and Teaneck: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2007): p. 88-97. 34
Irene Stein, in Carroll, In and Out of Kutztown, p. 260.
Bruce Boice, the painter and critic, and his wife, Jan Groover, an influential photographer, visited the New Arts Program in 1975 and 1976 respectively.
Robert Pincus-Witten (19 September 1976), in Carroll, In and Out of Kutztown, p. 118.
Paul Harryn, conversation with the author, 24 September 2014.
Barbara Kilpatrick, conversation with the author, 29 October 2014.
James Clark, conversation with the author, 8 May 2015.
James F. L. Carroll, conversation with the author, 14 May 2015.
Michael Kessler, conversation with the author, 26 May 2015.
Paul Harryn, conversation with the author, 24 September 2014.
Carroll, conversation with the author, 11 July 2014.
Kessler described his studio as “an oasis in the sky” because of its elevation in southern Utah. He recently established a new studio near Bryce Canyon
National Park after living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for twenty years. See the catalogue for his recent exhibition, Michael Kessler/Forrest (Philadelphia: Schmidt/ Dean Gallery, 2015): http://issuu.com/chrisschmidt4/docs/michael_kessler?e=0%2F12793255. 45
James F. L. Carroll, In and Out of New York (New York: 112 Workshop and Hunter Yoder Productions, 1980), p. 4. Founded by Jeffrey Lew in 1970, 112 Workshop
was an artist space located at 112 Greene Street, New York, that featured Chuck Close, Gordon Matta-Clark, Joseph Beuys, and many others. In 1980, James Carroll organized the show, In and Out of New York, at 112 Workshop, exhibiting the work of students and alumni from Kutztown State College: Maureen Blewitt, James Clark, Joseph Egan, Lisa Eshleman, Patty Fleming, Sal Frinzi, Judy Geib, Mary Gleason, Spencer Gregory, Michael Kessler, Kermit Oswald, Marty Riggleman, Drew Straub, Jay Swift, and Hunter Yoder. Several of the artists from 112 Workshop participated in residencies at the New Arts Program, including Philip Glass, Yvonne Rainer, Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, and multimedia artist Joan Jonas, the selection for the United States Pavilion at 2015 Venice Biennale.
JAMES CARROLL FEATURED ARTIST
Essay by: Daniel Haxall
James F. L. Carroll was born in Postville, Iowa, and educated in Colorado, earning his B.A. and M.A. from Colorado State College and M.F.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. In addition, he completed a residency program at the prestigious Slade School of Art in London, England. A professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Kutztown University from 1966-1999, Carroll has also taught at Muhlenberg College, Cedar Crest College, Alvernia College, and LaGuardia Community College, New York. Carroll arrived at Kutztown State College in 1966, directing the gallery while teaching studio courses on color and materials, introductory drawing, and modern and contemporary art history. His classes became known as provocative and, according to Joseph Egan, “open to all kinds of experimentation.” Egan further reminisced that “his point of view was unique and very, very different from anyone I’d met because he avoided what he called value judgment. It’s a very intriguing thing, to let something be open...” According to Egan, the acceptance of uncertainty liberated students, “because he sidestepped the expected and less efficient system of praise and reward.”1 Paul Harryn admitted to being “amazed by James’ insight and his choices,”2 while many, including James Clark, consider Carroll a “mentor.” Clark recalled that he “always asked students to question things which was quite a challenge to young minds.”3 This philosophy of exploration and inquiry informs Carroll’s oeuvre as a visual artist as well. He works in a variety of mediums and disciplines, including sculpture, painting, and works on paper. For his recent exhibition at Muhlenberg College, Carroll explained, “As I continue to draw and paint, I need to pursue the present so I can gain insight into the past. It is an on-going search of understanding, a restless pursuit of risk taking; it’s the curiosity of ideas that matter more to me than answers or the design. Since I am working only from questions, the process is not conventional, likeable, or pleasing but provoked by being uncomfortable.” 4
Carroll has directed the New Arts Program since its inception in 1974. Throughout its forty-one year history, the program has evolved to include a print portfolio, video festival, benefit concerts, and book arts collaboration with White Crow Paper Mill in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. Carroll also produces and hosts two television programs, New Arts Alive—conversations with participants from the residency program—and N.A.P. Connection—panel discussions on thematic topics ranging from the business of art and collecting to abstraction and the responsibilities of the artist. Both programs air on cable television networks throughout the region, including Philadelphia and New York. From 1993-2006, Pat McCoy edited another venture for Carroll, N.A.P. Text(s), a journal of original writings and poetry, while the N.A.P. Video Festival ran from 1996-2003, premiering at the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art and touring to venues in New York City. This juried series promoted video art in its five iterations and remains a part of the William Zimmer Reference Library archives at the New Arts Program. While gallery director at Kutztown University, Carroll exhibited some of the resident artists from the New Arts Program, organizing Five Solo Exhibitions with Connie Beckley, Kent Floeter, Richard Hunt, Irene Stein, and Barbara Strawser in 1980, and Six Solo Exhibitions with Mac Adams, Peter Berg, Efrain de Jesús, Koki Doktori, Simone Forti, and Jody Pinto in 1981. Beyond campus, he curated the 1980 exhibition, In and Out of New York, at 112 Workshop/112 Greene Street, New York, as well as Ideas from Individual Impressions and Mark: Prints of Non-Printmakers, held at Lehigh University in 1988-89. His publications include catalogues for In and Out of New York (1980), Six Solo Exhibitions (1981), and In and Out of Kutztown: a Documentation of the Art Series Program 1974-1981 (1982). As an artist, Carroll has appeared in over twenty-five solo exhibitions and sixty-five group shows. Recent one-man exhibitions are “New Paintings, 2013-2014,” at the Martin Art Gallery of Muhlenberg College, and “Sculpture,” at Cedar Crest College. Carroll is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Pagoda Award from Berks Arts Council, a National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Grant, and three Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants, including one for the 2015-16 year long cycle. He has appeared in Who’s Who in American Art and has work in the permanent collections of the Butler Institute of American Art, Reading Public Museum, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Muhlenberg College, and Penn State Berks.
“ELEVEN PAINTED STICKS” AND “FIVE PLANKS” BY JAMES CARROLL Reflection by James O. Clark James Carroll and I rubbed elbows for the first time in 1973. I had no idea of the sequence of events that would follow nor the influence this individual would have in shaping my career. This character, James, was wearing a white fishing hat, red wing boots and driving an unsafe at any speed (according to Ralph Nader) white Corvair. The introduction was a bit unusual from my stereotype of traditional professors that I had previously met. The exchange was a quick and casual hello. At the time, I sensed that I was in the presence of someone special-very special. James’ uniqueness is filled with intellectual depth and when I met him, he was in the prime of his creative search for excellence. James has a keen eye and always keeps his antennae up in his search for visual poetry. During that period, James had summer employment working at Atlas Chemical in the local area. He had an awakening, one of many I am sure. He found sticks that were used to clean vats and were imbued with pigmented colors. With his help, they migrated back to his studio. These pigmented colored sticks were visually speaking, with clarity, to his creative inner voice. For James, these were not ready-made art objects. His hands on process of working and his quote, “What isn’t, is. What is, isn’t.” solidified his visual reality. Shortly there after, the painted sticks became springboards for his next generation of painted wood forms that he celebrated by the addition of color sensitively placed within the grain of the natural wood. The power in Carroll’s creative process, using his eye, mind and celebrating the practical everyday experience, marinated into his creative adventure at that moment. James’ artistic adventures and investigations are complex and are never easily pigeon holed. Searching for more, every Saturday morning, I would trot to his studio candy store manned with an extra cup of coffee in hand. James was/is a treasure chest of encyclopedic knowledge that he shares freely with anyone that wants to engage. James became an oasis in the creative group exploration quenching our thirst for enlightenment. Not everyone could keep pace with his rigorous and progressive attitudes. James’ classroom was next to the sculpture studio, so I spent much time being the fly on the wall, ears open and sponging ideas that were exchanged with his students. James was more than just a teacher; he was for many a mentor sharing his greater perspective. The following year, 1974, James created the Art Series Program, an experiential education bridge opening fresh dialogue with his students and a larger artist community. James brought to the young creative minds this unique situation which was not based on the white cube traditional educational exchange. Through the Art Series Program, he extended boundaries and created a bigger geographical art community. This was a conduit to museums, galleries, and artist’s studios. This crème de la crème group of multi faceted pioneers created a hot bed for intellectual exchange. In his wisdom, James stirred up intellectual confusion so the truth of one’s identity and beliefs were generated from within. James was the core energy in tailoring the Art Series Program to the students needs for artistic growth in their search for excellence. Later, The Art
Credit: James Carroll, “Paint on Eleven (11) Sticks”, industrial paint, 1974.
Credit: James Carroll, “Five Planks with Resin, Industrial Paints and Colorants”, 1974
Series program morphed into the New Arts Program (NAP). The diversity of the NAP visitors over the years continues to be stellar, fortifying an important catalyst in the creative community. The history of NAP speaks in volumes of his commitment to the force education brings with opportunities to each individuals growth. While some artists develop in the public eye or alone in their studio not to be part of fine art commerce, James has developed his own way to achieve his artistic statements. In his art productivity over the years, James Carroll’s art path has created a very impressive body of work. It is an honor for me to have James share his work in this show and hopefully more exhibitions will follow. In essence, James has touched multi generations of creators with his generosity of sharing on so many levels, his courage, his integrity and his tenacious spirit of what it is to be an artist true to your artistic vision. I am but one of many that has had the good fortune to be touched by James Carroll’s vision. James has placed a large footprint in my life for which I will always be eternally grateful. James Carroll’s legacy is priceless.
“TWO-TIERED CANVAS“ BY JAMES CARROLL Reflection on artwork by Joseph Egan We were a rambunctious group of young art students of a morning in autumn 1971, walking downtown to visit James Carroll in his private art studio. He was mysterious and intriguing to me after hearing him speak with us in the seminar he was teaching. What could be more exciting than to see his work in the studio, the place of its “making” and to learn about his art? We found our way up the narrow staircase into his rather small jam-packed studio. It was hot and stuffy. There were paintings and drawings everywhere you looked. James quickly made us feel at ease and allowed the works to speak for themselves. I can’t recall whether THE HAT was on, but probably it was. Typical of the man, he was willing to share, joke, tease and provoke us about our assumptions. I was especially interested in some large paintings which had several levels built into their stretchers. The paint (made of rhoplex acrylic and synthetic colorants) was applied in deeply saturated color tones by staining into unprimed cotton duck. Made in 1967, “Two-Tiered Canvas” is among the first works he completed after moving to Kutztown from Colorado. Until then, the only tiers I knew about were on wedding cakes. So, my world began to expand in a most agreeable direction. After all, this was what I had come to art school looking for! James’combination of intense color and materiality is a quality that influences art work of my own to this very day. When art gets under your skin, it will stay there a long, long time. I recall that James seemed indifferent to our praise and admiration for his art. Well, this was most unfamiliar! And perhaps the real beginning of my education. It will be a supreme pleasure to see this painting integrated in “Shifting Paradigms”, some 44 years down the road. And James always loves fours !!!! Thanks James....and thanks Joanne....
Credit: James Carroll, “Two-Tiered Canvas“, rhoplex and colorants, 1967
JAMES CARROLL’S DRAWINGS Reflection on artwork by Paul Harryn Life endures within a balance between the impositions of nature and the consequence of human inventions. This delicate matrix is dynamic and volatile – the slightest inflection changes everything. Without mindful consideration of our designs the scales are easily tipped toward irrevocable damage and even the most minimal interference modifies natural cycles. Artists are trained observers with sensibilities attuned to contrast and change and their experience reveals itself through a plethora of interpretations. The post WWII years of the 20th century brought about revolutionary transformations of unprecedented global proportion in areas of industrial, technological, social, and ecological awareness. Every generation contributes to this pool of collective consciousness as new methods of artistic expression arise. As an undergraduate art student during the mid 1970’s I became increasingly aware of – and sensitive to – these phenomena. My objective at the time was to develop professional skills and begin to comprehend the artist’s role in a rapidly evolving culture– a role that has never been clearly defined ... Such undertakings require the guidance of seasoned and selfless professionals who are capable of mentoring without dogma, didactics, prejudice, or favoritism. I found this blend of mentorship in James Carroll while at Kutztown University and through my involvement with the New Arts Program. This period of intense learning and discovery was softened by James’ knowledgable, patient, and lighthearted approach which helped lay the foundation for the artist I was to become. Not only did Carroll’s skill as a professor help to magnify the depth of joy I found in art, it enhanced my experience of life itself through the reiteration of endless possibilities. The harnessing of ‘unrestrained vitality’ or ‘the making of art with abandon’ augmented by a mastery of media and an
Credit:James Carroll, “Three Drawings”, 1976. Graphite.
Credit: James Carroll, “Three Drawings”, 1976. Graphite.
eloquence with relevant aesthetic issues are the basic criteria by which I measure aspects of quality. The James Carroll drawings I choose for this exhibition reflect these attributes of mastery and eloquence while reinforcing the lineage of spirited mark-making evidenced through art from the Caves of Lascaux to the paintings and manuscripts of Cy Twombly and John Cage. Shared by all is the common thread of commitment to expanding artistic expression with vocabulary relevant to the time. The pieces I selected represent the seeds of ideas in their rawest and most fleeting state – the essence and inspiration that lives at the core of all Art – that which speaks directly to the notions of truth and authenticity. The three drawings constitute a perfect example of the ancient and on-going dialogue of Art and, fittingly, provide a metaphor to what this exhibition represents: Learning how to work; how to balance everything within one’s grasp; how to persevere while following creative inspiration to conclusion; and understanding that conceptual techniques are as legitimate to an artist’s contemporary palette as the materials they use – all within the purview of what art can potentially be by refining ones’ consciousness. In this way, James Carroll played a key role in the lives of his students and, in the manner in which this exhibition provides evidence of his aesthetic and his meaning, continues to be an inspiration to the art he mentors.
“DE-THREADING THE CANVAS” BY JAMES CARROLL Reflection on artwork by Michael Kessler “Reductivism” was about getting rid of superfluous baggage. Stripping away extraneous matter reveals “essence.” James Carroll was producing a series of works in 1971 that made a powerful and lasting impression on me. I observed his serial approach to creating a group of related works that shared a specific set of parameters. Each piece was constructed out of a single length of canvas which hung directly on the wall with no stretchers or supports of any kind. The cotton canvas was left raw but in each work he removed threads from the weave of the fabric. In these works James was literally reducing the material that made up the work. “Less is more” was a new and perplexing idea to me when I arrived at Kutztown University in 1972. Clearly one thing these works suggest is that “what you leave out is at least as important as what you leave in.” An exquisite economy of means was employed to produce an expansive, open-grained, uncluttered, meditative, viewing experience. This austere work resonated with much of the most exciting and influential work being made in New York City at the time such as Richard Tuttle’s canvas octagons, Dorothea Rockburne’s tar- on-paper works, and even Philip Glass’s modular, minimalist, music. What made this all the more exciting was that James was bringing these artists to Kurztown for us to meet and talk with. As a young art student all of this opened my eyes and mind to an entirely new world of possibilities. The energy was palpable and very motivating. “De-Threading the Canvas” (1971) by James Carroll was a significant group of works that somehow encapsulated an entirely new approach to Art making.
Credit:James Carroll, “De-Threading the Canvas”, 1971.
57 90 Credit:James Carroll, “De-Threading the Canvas”, 1971.
“JAMBS, DOORS WITH RIGHT ANGLES #4” BY JAMES CARROLL Reflection on Artwork by Barbara Kilpatrick When asked to select a work from James’ studio that reflected his influence, I chose from a series of his more recent work. The sculptures I refer to are conglomerates of painted wooden-pieced panels with functioning doors, creating shifting spaces that open and close. One piece in particular filled the center of a large room and completely knocked my socks off. I hadn’t known—or had “forgotten” at that time—that this work came after several similar structures which were installed in the woods and photographed in various seasonal stages. What remains from the series are the photographs as documentation of the process. Had I known this when I set out on my ten-year project camera / room, photographing a constructed room as it decayed? Or did these works occur at the same time? I think of this not so much as being influenced by James as much as absorbing the meme in art making—that our ideas, our connective-ness could be transmitted through unknown phenomena. Our paths could read as parallel lines that sometimes intersect, overlap, widen—but there were greater non-verbal forms of communication at play than we imagined. As a teacher, James cultivated this transmission through open exchange and experimentation; as an artist, James exposed us to the use of process as another variable in his approach to the new. James created the New Arts Program as an extension of his classroom and as a stop along the Silk Route, where ideas, symbols, gestures and sounds could be exchanged as if they were material goods. We learned that asking questions opened up possibilities of thought, the “what ifs?” of life, the constant confrontation with what was unknown, unlikable, unfamiliar, and indeterminate. We saw what it took to be an artist—and through the variety of artist’s practices we were exposed to, gathered a sense of location in the larger world in which we were about to engage. Forty years later, his generosity of spirit continues to fill me with wonder. And now what is truly remarkable about knowing James has been the continuity of his engagement throughout the years, in both his life and his art making practice. I watch his devotion with awe and reverence.
Credit: Photographs of “Jambs, Doors with Right Angles #4”, 1987.
James O. Clark Joseph Egan Paul Harryn Michael Kessler Barbara Kilpatrick
Credit: Jim Clark, photo by Christy Lee
JAMES O. CLARK FEATURED ARTIST
Essay by: Kelsey Heiss with Daniel Haxall
James O. Clark was born in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education in 1974. Clark lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, having converted a historic former school into his home and studio. Known for abstract sculptures created from repurposed materials, his work has been shown in galleries and museums throughout the world. A celebrated fusion of Reductionism and Abstract Expressionism, Clark’s art captures the power of light, both as an object with aesthetic potential and as energy itself. Clark incorporates materials such as balloons, various types of lights, car parts, bubble and fog machines, water, helium, and even live chickens into his art. As art historian Jonathan Fineberg notes in his seminal text, Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being, the artist transforms these into “something exotically beautiful.”1 Many of his sculptures are lit from within or wrapped in electroluminescent wire. This pliable neon tubing allows Clark to outline abstract forms rendered in metal, as he often works in a gestural yet deliberate manner. At times, an ethos of deconstruction characterizes Clark’s oeuvre, particularly his recent exhibition in Los Angeles in which he suspended fluorescent light fixtures from the ceiling and set them at their own axis to create a visual balance. In his artist’s statement, Clark explains how “in essence, I am on a sculptural search working with light. In my creative adventure, I am captivated with the magic of light’s dialogue with form.” This interest in luminosity and structure stems from a capacity to generate diverse associations and experiences. He goes on to explain how “light takes a mysterious journey when it’s illuminating, composing, defining, reflecting, refracting, bending, teasing the volume and mass. Light has a poetic conversation with materials that creates a meaningful symbiotic relationship.”2 Light is not the only way that Clark explores the phenomenology of sculpture; instead he crafts experiences that transcend the physicality of his materials. For example, The Luminiferous Aether (1995-2011) is composed of a vertical light tube surrounded by inflated iridescent balloons. At first glance, viewers readily identify the literalness of the objects within the sculpture, but further observation reveals the intricacies of light as it refracts through the latex.
The work remains fragile and contingent upon the climate and engagement of the participant. The audience is invited to inflate the balloons, yet the interaction used to activate the piece sustains it temporarily, as airborne erosion leads to its eventual deflation. The changing visual and metaphysical readings of Clark’s sculptures derive from his interest in process and evolution, as well as the dynamic fusion of components that occurs in the studio. Unlike the commercially fabricated objects of Minimalism, Clark’s artistic practice remains rooted in the handmade, allowing him to manipulate reclaimed objects into inventive and poetic work. In the New York Times, Roberta Smith praised Clark’s art for its “inherent thoughtfulness: the strangely delicate, surprisingly decorative way it is pieced together.” According to Smith, Clark “raises questions, some optimistic, some not, about industrial waste, human survival and the persistence of art and beauty.”3 Clark has had eleven solo exhibitions since 1989, with his most recent at ltd los angeles, in Spring 2015. His work has appeared in over one hundred group exhibitions and several two-person shows, including “Some Kind of Wonderful” with Tara Donovan at the Maier Museum of Art in 2006. Clark has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants; the Sidney Simon Sculpture Award from the National Academy Museum; a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship; two National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist
Awards, one in Sculpture and one in Graphics; an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy; and a
Distinguished Alumni Award from Kutztown University. His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Artforum, Art in America, Brooklyn Rail, and Il Giornale dell’Arte. Clark is a member of the American Abstract Artists, an artist-run organization founded by Josef Albers and others in New York City in 1936 “to promote and foster public understanding of abstract and non-objective art.”4 He is also a committee member of Arts@Renaissance, the Brooklyn-based initiative that connects local neighborhoods with the arts through an innovative series of multi-disciplinary workshops, residencies, and collaborative projects. In addition, Clark is a renowned educator who has taught at Princeton University, Brandeis University, the University of Connecticut, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and Bard College among others. He also has been a Visiting Artist at the Vermont Studio Center, Boston University, Brown University, Pratt Institute, and many others. Clark currently teaches in the graduate program at the School of Visual Arts, New York.
Jonathan Fineberg, Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being, 3rd ed. (Boston: Prentice Hall, 2011), p. 434-435.
James O. Clark, Artist Statement: http://www.jamesoclark.com/.
Robert Smith, “For the Unheralded, a Chance to be Noticed,” The New York Times (30 June 1989): http://www.nytimes.com/1989/06/30/arts/review-art-for-
the-unheralded-a-chance-to-be-noticed.html. James F. L. Carroll, conversation with the author, 11 July 2014. 4
Barbara Kilpatrick, conversation with the author, 29 October 2014.
Credit: James Clark, “The Luminiferous Aether”, 19952011. Argon gas filled tube, plastic, balloons, light and air, dimensions variable (approx 87” H) (2.2m). Photo credit: ©2015 Robert Henry Contemporary
Credit: James Clark, “Use More Green”, 2015. Aluminum, glass, argon and plastics. Courtesy James O. Clark/ Denny Gallery, NYC. Photographer: Sean Fader.
Credit: Photo by Thomas Cugini
Essay by: Chloe Jackson with Daniel Haxall
Joseph Egan was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and raised in Allentown where he graduated from Parkland High School. He recalls a childhood fascination with house painters who decorated local porches with various colors, yet his formal training in the arts did not begin until high school. Egan began his collegiate studies at the University of Miami, studying with Robert Willson, a nwwoted glass sculptor, before transferring to Kutztown State College in 1971, where he graduated with a B.F.A. in painting in 1975. While at Kutztown, James Carroll served as Egan’s academic advisor. He participated in the first residency of the New Arts Program with David Rabinowitch. Meeting the sculptor had a profound influence on Egan’s subsequent career, and the two became close friends. Rabinowitch later encouraged Egan to attend Yale University, and Egan served as Rabinowitch’s studio assistant from 1975 to 1978. Despite earning his M.F.A. in sculpture from Yale in 1977, Egan recalls spending most of his time with painting students, and describes his artistic practice as “a spectrum of wall-based art,” a hybrid of painting and sculpture.1 Egan moved to New York City after completing his M.F.A., maintaining a studio in Manhattan while working at UPS in a full-time position. Robert Ryman, the celebrated Minimalist painter who Egan met while at Yale, recommended he show at Kunstraum München, an arts center in Munich, Germany. There in 1981, Egan debuted his solo show, Seeing the Forest: (for Trees in the City), and as his stature grew internationally, he relocated to Europe thanks to a grant from Henry F. Levy / BINZ39 Foundation. For nearly a decade, Egan lived a self-described “nomadic life” in Germany and Switzerland before settling in Zürich and marrying art historian Christine Jenny. He has worked with the Annemarie Verna Gallery since 1991, staging nine solo shows at the gallery with the most recent occurring in 2014. This latest exhibition, “Colorcomb,” continues Egan’s career-long dialogue with color and form. In some of the works, form is implied through flat, painted shapes, while in other instances, they literally exist as wooden objects affixed to the gallery
wall. Yet whether intimated or material, these forms emerge from primal geometries and organic roots. Stripes, hexagons, and leaf-like fronds coexist in Egan’s oeuvre, yet he remains selective about the scale and composition of each painting or sculptural relief. Rich color enhances the poetic simplicity of these objects, and the aesthetic qualities are further heightened by his preference for fine paper and wood. Many of the paintings from Egan’s 2008 exhibition, “Voices,” suggest a doorway or window through their vertical alignment and colorful suggestion of light. As Gianfranco Verna observed in his essay for the show, an ambiguity permeates the work of Egan as it fluctuates between abstraction and representation, interior and exterior, imagined and real.2 While place often inspires his art, including his travels in France, Italy, and other European nations, the properties of his colors often transcend the local. Egan’s use of shaped wood introduces structure to his exploration of color. Objects that appear architectonic flank those of a symbolic nature, with building façades and crosses recurring in wall pieces that challenge the traditional rectilinear format of painting. At times attenuated rectangles are stacked or aligned across the gallery wall, and in each instance his colorful abstractions maintain their solidity and presence as an object. Ultimately, Joseph Egan produces rich associations ranging from the spiritual to the vernacular, utilizing color, material, and form to engage our faculties of memory and perception. Egan exhibits widely throughout Europe, with fifty solo shows to his credit. A fixture at the celebrated art fair, Art Basel, since 1988, Egan showed at Galerie Frieder Keim in Stuttgart, Germany, from 1988-91, and Galerie Limmer in Freiburg, Germany, between 1994-2002. He received a recent commission to produce a new cross for the Church of St. Martin in Zürich. Egan became the first artist-in-residence at the University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany, in 1994, while completing residencies at the Künstlerhaus Edenkoben, Germany, and Stiftung Binz39, Switzerland.
Joseph Egan, conversation with Daniel Haxall, 24 April 2014.
Gianfranco Verna, “Joseph Egan: Voices,” http://www.annemarie-verna.ch/gallery/exhibitions/Joseph_Egan_2008/.
Credit: Joseph Egan, “out of the blue (Nr. 3)”, 2015. various paints and sand on wood with free elements (lucky beans), 31 x 25 x 5 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
Credit: Joseph Egan, “sleeping in a question (Nr. 2)”, 2014. oil paints on canvasboard and wood. 30 x 24 x 1.5 cm Image courtesy of the artist.
Credit: Joseph Egan, “out of the blue (Nr. 8)”, 2015. various paints and sand on wood with free elements (lucky beans), 30 x 24 x 5cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
Credit: Joseph Egan, â€œwherewithall (paintcote)â€?, 2010. various paints on wood with free elements (dried paint), 41 x 31 x 6 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
PAUL HARRYN FEATURED ARTIST
Essay by: Kelsey Heiss with Daniel Haxall
The artist Paul Harryn is a native and a resident of the Lehigh Valley. His large-scale paintings—familiar throughout the region—demonstrate a rare mastery of classical and contemporary materials, methods, and techniques. He often paints en plein air, immersing his consciousness fully in his subject, absorbing and reflecting the culture, the environment and the unique spirit of each location. Harryn’s work is informed and enriched by his studies in other disciplines, notably music, philosophy, literature, science, and history, an awareness of which greatly illuminates our understanding of the complex organization of his pictorial content. Though art and painting have always been his primary focus, Harryn spent a year touring as a professional musician with a rhythm and blues band between high school and college. In 1972, he began his collegiate studies with Robert Doney and Gerald Rowan (both Kutztown alumni) at Northampton Community College where he earned an Associate’s degree in Commercial Art. He transferred to Kutztown State College in 1974, largely because of his interest in studying art with James Carroll, and in 1976 he graduated with his B.F.A. in Painting. Harryn later enrolled in the Masters Program at Philadelphia College of Art to study with Larry Day and Harry Soviak. In 1984, he was awarded his first one-person exhibition in New York City at the Hudson Gallery, and later became involved in the Los Angeles art scene, establishing a studio in Venice, California, in 1988. Harryn has operated studios in various urban centers over the course of his career, but has always maintained his primary residence in the Lehigh Valley. By the mid-1990s, Paul Harryn had become disillusioned by the trajectory of business in the art world. He proclaimed himself a “gallery agnostic,” and sidestepped the mainstream art scene to cultivate his own vision. Around this time, he was mentored by the renowned Flamenco guitarist Gino D’Auri, a relationship that led him to discover the Biennial
de Flamenco in Seville, Spain. His experiences there, and the natural affinity he felt with Andalusian culture, have had a profound and enduring influence upon his work. The most recent example of this can be seen in Harryn’s 2014 series, Ceremonia del Sonido (Ceremony of Sound), fifty pieces painted in tribute to the passing of his friend, the flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía. In 2000, Harryn designed and built his current studio and home, “Arcadia,” a renovated 18th century barn in Upper Bucks County, near the Delaware River. “I needed to find my way to something elemental and retreated to a place where I could immerse myself in nature, study it, and experience it at a depth more meaningful to my work.” Believing nature to hold the key to understanding all things, Harryn began developing a technique of selective layering, emulating natural processes. “For me, the greatest gift of all was to learn to decipher the syntax of nature. I was driven to understand how nature works… how all that freshness is achieved. What degrades and what survives…”1 These experiences advanced Harryn’s work far beyond the work he was producing in the 1990s. Harryn’s mature work incorporates a wide range of expressionist and improvisational methodologies, from the techniques and allover compositional strategies of Jackson Pollock to the literary references and calligraphic facility of Cy Twombly. While his painterly gestures reflect the influence of the New York School, an introspective selection of details and colors can
be seen through the successive layers of each painting. Some of his later works are finished with a smooth or glossy epoxy
coating, quieting and obscuring the activity teeming beneath the surface. In this way, Harryn strikes a balance between the elemental and cultured, or organic and measured, producing an art rich with possibilities. Since suspending his exhibition schedule in 1996, public exhibitions of Harryn’s work have been rare. They include an exhibition at the New Arts Program, a benefit concert featuring Harryn’s composition, “Changing Seasons,” for the New Arts Program, and a five-month solo exhibition, Essence of Nature,” at the Allentown Art Museum in 2014, which featured 130 works exhibited throughout the museum’s three main galleries. Harryn’s work appears in hundreds of private and corporate collections in the United States and abroad, including the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Reading Public Museum, and Allentown Art Museum.
Paul Harryn, conversation with Daniel Haxall, 24 September 2014
Credit: Exodus of Reason, 2014. Ink, acrylic paint and string on canvas mounted to wood. 48’ x 108”
Credit: Michael Kessler, image courtesy Michael Kessler
MICHAEL KESSLER FEATURED ARTIST
Essay by: Kelsey Heiss with Daniel Haxall
Michael Kessler is a painter currently based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, originally from Hanover, Pennsylvania. Kessler earned a B.F.A from Kutztown University, graduating in 1978. After beginning his career as a representational artist, Kessler now explores, in his words, “the continuum between gesture and geometry.”1 This dialogue, between improvisation and order, stems from his study of nature, particularly the landscapes of New Mexico and Utah. However, rather than distant vistas, Kessler investigates the structure of the natural world, abstractly depicting the details of surface and growth within vegetation or rock formations. Kessler’s approach is unique in the variety of ways he applies paint to a composition. He employs skimmers and trowels, as well as brushes and masking tape, to pull pigment across the surface. He achieves luminosity by layering multiple skims of transparent and translucent acrylic onto the canvas or panel. Kessler also uses sandpaper, steel wool, or razorblades to remove areas of color, a process that remains both additive and subtractive. This call-and-response is informed by surface and tone, as the artist often works on wooden panels to extract haptic details from the material. Multiple segments typically comprise a singular painting, a simulated joining of panels that furthers Kessler’s aesthetics of repetition and interruption. He often finishes a work by pouring epoxy resin across the painting, adding a glossy appearance at odds with the modeled texture of his natural forms. The paintings have a great deal of hard-edged imagery due to Kessler’s clean execution and finish, yet he off-sets this quality through calligraphic lines, saturated colors, and intriguing surface patterns. While many of his works originate from the
natural world, such as the peeling bark of birch trees or winding tendrils of plants, measured calculations produce a dynamic tension between the organic and measured. Kessler likens the gestural freedom in his work to “a kind of painterly ‘tai chi’—a visible expression of a line of energy,” and the interplay of abstraction and representation remain central to his oeuvre. Ultimately, he considers nature “his model,” and its transformation the “subject” of his carefully crafted, evocative paintings.2 Major critics have praised Kessler for decades, likening his work to Wassily Kandinsky, Arthur Dove, and Charles Burchfield among others. In Arts Magazine, art historian David Carrier called Kessler’s paintings “strikingly original,”3 while for Art in America, Jonathan Weinberg, a visiting scholar at Yale University and the Rhode Island School of Design, noted: “It is precisely Kessler’s talent for evoking a wide range of associations while remaining connected to the rigors of his craft and tradition that makes his paintings so strong.”4 Holland Cotter, art critic for the New York Times, wrote that Kessler’s ability to render “esthetic artifice and the natural process as essentially the same expressive thing…gives his work its meaning and edge.” Over the course of his art career, Kessler has been the recipient of numerous art awards and fellowships; the Whitney Independent Study Program in 1977, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant in Painting in 1983, Awards in Visual Arts-Five from the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art in 1985, the prestigious Rome Prize from the American
Academy in Rome in 1990, and a Pollock/Krasner Award in 1992. He has also taught at the College of Santa Fe, Carnegie
Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and Lafayette College in Easton. Since 1983, Kessler has held over thirty solo shows, including five at the Jack Tilton Gallery in New York City, as well as over fifty group exhibitions. Kessler’s work can be found in more than twenty-five museum collections throughout the country, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, Allentown Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, Reading Public Museum, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He is currently represented by Schmidt/Dean Gallery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Ann Korologos Gallery in Basalt, Colorado; Gallery MAR in Park City, Utah; Nuart Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Sense Fine Art in Menlo Park, California.
Michael Kessler, Artist Statement: http://www.michaelkessler.com/Statement.pdf.
David Carrier, “Michael Kessler: A Painter of Nature in the Era of Postmodernist Art,” Arts Magazine 9 (May 1987), p. 32-33.
Jonathan Weinberg, “Michael Kessler,” Art in America 75, no. 11 (November 1987), p. 180-181.
Holland Cotter, “Michael Kessler,” Art News 89, no. 10 (December 1990), p. 165.from inside the Cube,” Dance Chronicle 2, no. 2 (1978), p. 122.
Credit: Michael Kessler, “Redem (1)”, 2015. Acrylic on board 23” x 92”. Image courtesy of Michael Kessler and Dean Schmidt Gallery, Philadelphia.
Credit: Barbara Kilpatrick, image courtesy of the artist.
BARBARA KILPATRICK FEATURED ARTIST
Essay by: Kelsey Heiss with Daniel Haxall
Barbara Kilpatrick is an interdisciplinary visual artist based in New York City and Ghent, New York. Originally from Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, Kilpatrick graduated from Kutztown University in 1977. Her work has ranged from sculpture and photography to collaboration in performance theater and dance. With a degree in Art Education, Kilpatrick has also taught in museums including the Allentown Art Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kilpatrick draws inspiration from a great variety of sources: archaic Greek sculpture, domestic homespun, costume history, postmodern dance, Matisse’s cutouts, and found, quotidian objects. In her artist’s statement, Kilpatrick explains how “in making an idea ‘real’—in my case, creating sculpture, photography, and performance—I imagine the kind of interior and exterior landscape in which the object exists. How it is seen is central to the work. I see the art object as a stand-in for a human experience. The desire to hold on to the transitory directs my imagined and real life.”1 While Kilpatrick maintains her solo studio practice, she has collaborated with Vicky Shick, an alumna of the Trisha Brown Dance Company, for over twenty years. This partnership has produced over fourteen original performances, fusing choreography and performance by Shick, costume and set by Kilpatrick, and aural score by composer-sound designer Elise Kermani. Their most recent project was “Pathétique/Miniatures in Detail,” staged at the West End Theater in April 2014. Kilpatrick’s costumes combined found objects, macramé, and other industrial materials, while the unique features of the theater were incorporated into the dance. This fusion of site specific choreography, “honest”
musical accompaniment, and “delightful found-art costumes” earned rave reviews from the New York Times, who described the performance as “perfect,” and called the union of Kilpatrick, Shick, and Kermani “one of the most reliably beguiling teams in dance.”2 The artist’s studio and theater practice each inform the other; both bodies of work involve fabricating unique objects: drawings, photographs, sculptures, costumes, and sets. Often times Kilpatrick creates artworks that can function on more than one level. For example, many of the costumes designed by Kilpatrick make use of repurposed, commonly found materials that are aesthetically pleasing and also produce sound while in motion. When the performers move, the sounds of the costumes become an underpinning for the larger, layered score of the entire production. In this respect, the costume is both an art object as well as an instrument being “played” by the movements of the actor or dancer. Kilpatrick’s costumes and sets utilize the convergence of different art forms; she fuses mediums and genres in ways that present a visual and tangible entity for comprehension. When speaking about her work, Kilpatrick states that, “objects embody the intangible. Their presence or absence marks the suggestion of meaning or narration. This allusiveness is what interests me in the collaboration between art and dance—that a temporal object can hint at the past moment of performance and give shape to its memory—but is, ultimately, a souvenir in the experience, as an art object is a reference
of its own making.”3
Kilpatrick’s work has been seen both in solo installations (including the New Arts Program) and in group shows, in the United States and abroad. Her photography has appeared in The New York Times, Dance Magazine, The Village Voice, and Time Out New York. Kilpatrick’s collaborations with choreographer Vicky Shick and sound designer Elise Kermani have toured internationally, including performances in Budapest, Hungary, and Dublin, Ireland. Kilpatrick’s Bearskin, a theatrical fusion of puppets, actors, and dancers, was presented at the French Institute / Alliance Française in 2012, while she has worked with Elise Kermani on several films, installations, and set designs. In 2003, Kilpatrick and Shick were honored for “Outstanding Creative Achievement” with a BESSIE, a New York Dance and Performance Award. In addition, Kilpatrick has been the recipient of the S.O.S. Grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts four times (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006) and the Rockefeller Foundation’s MAP Fund Grant in 2004.
Barbara Kilpatrick, Artist Statement: http://barbarakilpatrick.com/about-barbara-kilpatrick/.
Brian Seibert, “The Secrets and the Magic Are in the Details,” The New York Times (18 April 2014):
Barbara Kilatrick, as quoted in Props and Prototypes: Sculpture by Barbara Kilpatrick (New York: the Gallery Space, 1999), unpaginated.
Credit: â€œMaking Ends Meet (detail)â€?, 2015. Plaster, paint, welded steel hoops, steel armature, polyster trimming, assorted metal and nylon washers, thread. Images by Ken Wahl.
Credit: Barbara Kilpatrick, â€œMaking Ends Meetâ€?, 2015. Drawing (ink, watercolor, rubber stamp on paper) and photographs (gelatin silver and platinum palladium prints) assembled
REGARDING JAMES F.L. CARROLL A PERSONAL JOURNAL
by Ron Schira
Over the course of three decades James F.L. Carroll has proven himself to be not only an endless fount of artistic wisdom for the students who have benefited from his teachings, as we see in this exhibit of his former students, but as a close and valued friend to me. I never sat in one of his classes, nor was I aware of the New Arts Program during its inception 30 odd years ago, but as the art critic for the Reading Eagle Newspaper I have come across his cultural influence for at least 20 of those years. Consequently, upon covering the shows within the New Arts Program, I have seen him to be a great facilitator and educator even upon retiring from his tenure at Kutztown University. His method of pedagogy was never to give techniques and promote style but to allow artists to become artists in whatever capacity they deem for themselves; not to make carbon copies of the teacher. He actively searches out and finds artists who pursue other avenues of production that are not always profitable but beneficial to other artists searching for reasons to make art. He does not wish to provide answers, which would be too easy as it diminishes the ability of artists to think for themselves and ask questions, incurring instead a mentality of curiosity rather than waiting for an elusive or mercurial inspiration that is either forced or never comes. In itself, this shows him to be philosophical, almost spiritual in his approach to art as a way for human beings to process and engender who they are in this day and age.
The list of artists whom I alone have covered since 1995 when I began writing professionally is phenomenal. Without dropping a ton of names on you, there have been painters, poets, sculptors, musicians, composers, writers and conceptual artists, notwithstanding the performances, concerts, consultations, seminars and immersive library of information all stashed within the confines of a small building on Main Street in Kutztown Pennsylvania, somewhat distant from the urban excesses of New York and Philadelphia. I have also on numerous occasions, and still do, have the privilege of hosting his television show, New Arts Alive, at the Berks Community Television station in Reading. Through this venue, I have been able to promote and discuss the work of important artists within the Berks arena. On a more personal note, during the winter of 2007 I had contracted a near fatal dose of pneumonia and spent three weeks in the Reading Hospital. I was given an incredible amount of support by the artistic community that had helped me more than I could ever repay. Yet upon leaving the hospital in a weakened and fragile state, James had taken me for groceries and supplied me with art materials, which he gave freely without asking or expecting compensation. Our numerous conversations have covered so many topics it will be difficult for me to tell you everything, some of
which is personal or political, social or cultural, but ultimately at the core artistic and life affirming. He will never say
anything negative about anyone and is one of the most accepting people I know. My favorite memories of him include discussions over coffee at Global Libations in Kutztown and at the Barnes and Noble in Reading, not to mention traveling on a bus to New York City with Bob Metzger or driving to Philadelphia with Ted Ormai for Michael Kesslerâ€™s exhibit at Schmidt Dean Gallery in Philly. We visited galleries in Chelsea as well as the shows at MOMA, PS/1, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the New Museum in the Bowery. I especially enjoyed an NAP sponsored seminar on art criticism that was moderated by New York Times critic William Zimmer over a few weeks in 2004 which I attended and found to be very beneficial in my career. As such, I have a great deal of respect and love for this man who has meant so much to so many people, and one in particular. Thank you, James.
PAUL HARRYN’S THE ODYSSEY by Chloe Jackson with Daniel Haxall
In 2013, Kutztown University completed a $20 million renovation of Schaeffer Auditorium, which was originally constructed in 1938. In honor of this occasion, alumnus Paul Harryn donated to the university a large-scale, five-panel painting entitled The Odyssey. The 5-foot by 20-foot painting was installed in the summer of 2014 in a new wing of Schaeffer Auditorium connecting rehearsal rooms to the main performance hall. The work began as a series of drawings in the fall of Harryn’s first semester at Kutztown State College in 1974, and draws on Homer’s epic poem as its primary reference. Harryn described his interest in The Odyssey in a recent interview: “The Odyssey is a conventional code in our culture, with the Greeks being the foundational stone. The poem was one of many seminal texts for me—and one that continued to gain momentum… It was more than just the story of Odysseus’ journey from Troy to Ithaca. The intertwining sojourns described in the poem basically taking led him on an epic voyage through the virtues and vices of human existence.” The ancient text represents a tour of the human experience in Western culture. The making of the painting—the many years it took to bring the idea to fruition—parallels Odysseus’s ten-year venture. A manifestation of the journey of Harryn’s adult life and artistic career, the mural symbolizes the exploration and travels that culminated in his unique, personal vision. With the narrative of Homer’s epic poem in mind, this work could be read quite literally. It has a cartographic quality; the blue that fills the majority of the painting’s surface can be interpreted as the vast sea across which Odysseus set sail. The gestural splashes of other colors become as land masses, representing the islands that Odysseus encountered along
his journey. A Greek-like script appears on many of the forms emerging in the painting, with the words making direct reference to The Odyssey’s characters and locations. Further analysis reveals that Harryn faithfully incorporated the chronology of the narrative into his painting. “Troy”, the site of the Trojan War, the setting of The Iliad, and the hero’s starting point in this tale, is located in the lower right corner of the last panel of the work. Odysseus’ eventual destination and homeland, “Ithaca,” is represented in the most remote corner of the painting, the upper left of the first panel. Words referencing the events of the story appear in sequential order across the piece. They zigzag across the surface as we travel from panel to panel, echoing the wandering of the Greek hero and his circuitous journey home. The text, hidden by multiple layers of paint, is more suggestive than literal. A word closely resembling “Lotus” appears on the fifth panel, referring to the people who ate the fruit of the plant. In Homer’s work, some of Odysseus’ men ate the flower and lost all interest in returning home. The words “Cyclops” and “Laestrygonians” are visible on the fourth panel, making reference to the one-eyed giants and cannibalistic tribe encountered by Odysseus and his crew. “Circe,” the goddess who turned men into swine, emerges through the central panel. The enchanting song of the “Sirens,” the six-headed monster, “Scylla,” and the dangerous whirlpool, “Charybdis,” represent Odysseus’s trials in the second panel. On the first panel, the word “Ogygia” can be discerned, which was the island on which the nymph Calypso holds Odysseus captive for seven years. Finally, the skilled mariners, or the “Phaecians,” find Odysseus washed up on shore and help deliver him home to Ithaca in the upper left of panel number one. The work represents the convergence of several of Harryn’s main artistic themes and interests: nature, literature, and storytelling. It features his characteristic layering technique, developed through an intense study of nature over the past two decades. However rather than expressing the moods of nature, Harryn applies these methods to better tell a densely layered and complex story. In many ways, each painterly layer represents an obstacle encountered by Odysseus, and by extension, another of life’s challenges. As these challenges are met, the time and distance of memory obscures the details of a situation, yet leaves a trace of the narrative imbedded (somewhere) in our consciousness. The imprint of the voyage remains and, in this way, Homer’s epic narrative parallels the journey of education, an odyssey poetically expressed by Paul Harryn.
WHAT DO YOU WANT IN LIFE? Learning from the Marguerite Bierman Mentorship Program by Amanda Seanor, Art Education and Crafts Major, 2015 graduate
After finishing a summer internship at the Carnegie Credit: Amanda Seanor (left) and Barbara Kilpatrick looking over Seanorâ€™s recent work on the loom
Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, I returned to Kutztown University with a new appetite. I was hungry for another professional opportunity outside of the classroom. I received an email about a mentorship grant established by alumna Marguerite Bierman. The grant allows female Fine Arts or Crafts majors to gain experience working with professionals in the field, and in addition to a stipend awarded to the students, it is meant to create a mentoring relationship. There were multiple opportunities but I was most interested in a proposal by Barbara Kilpatrick, an artist in New York City. She proposed that the student participate in the production, installation and documentation of Making Ends Meet while creating a relationship for an exchange of ideas, questions and concerns. Other than working on the installation with Kilpatrick, which itself sounded like an amazing opportunity, her background resonated with me. I felt like she could be someone to help answer my questions about a career in the arts and life after Kutztown through her unique perspective of her experiences.
Two of the first things we did touch on a very large part of mentoring, which is the desire to accept and share knowledge with each other. We created a private Pinterest board, as a way to visually communicate with one another when we are apart. The second thing we did was go through my website, which taught me how to talk about my art confidently and at the same time she had the opportunity to learn about me through my work. Like most relationships, communication is a vital part of a successful pairing. Barbara and I communicated our expectations with each other from the very beginning and this opened the door for conversations about anything and everything. When I had a question no matter how silly or small, she encouraged me to ask it and then gave great advice. Barbara posed questions like: “What do you want in life?” and “In five years, what do you see your life looking like?” Then we would talk about the next steps to make it reality. Anytime we had conversations like these, she was reminding me who I am as a person and gave me confidence to be who I want to be. It is indispensable to have someone who can listen while challenging you to forge your own path. For a mentoring relationship to be successful, both the mentee and mentor have to be willing to share new experiences and learn from each other. They need to be open and able to communicate both personally and professionally but also not afraid to say “I don’t know” to the hard questions. Even though there was a deadline for the project description, a mentorship such as this can live on. The bond between Barbara and me this past year has been one of the most beneficial relationships in my life as an emerging professional. I feel that this bond will extend past the Shifting Paradigms exhibition, and in many ways I see connections between the Bierman mentorship program and type of meaningful relationships cultivated by James Carroll and the New Arts Program. I have learned so much about myself as a young woman and artist from Barbara Kilpatrick that I do not know if I could ever repay her. She is a true mentor, and for that I am forever grateful.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS W YAT T GLENNON Wyatt Glennon is the catalog designer for the Miller Gallery and graduated from Kutztown University in May 2013 with a BFA in Communication Design. Awarded a Gold Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award in 2013, he completed Internships at AMResorts, Denise Bosler LLC, and Partners Design, Inc. Glennon currently works as a designer for Bluecadet Interactive in Philadelphia.
DANIEL HA X ALL Daniel Haxall is Associate Professor of Art History at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. A former fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Institute for the Art and Humanities, he received his Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University. Haxall has published widely on Abstract Expressionism and contemporary art, including collage, installation art, the African diaspora, and sports in art. He previously taught at the University at Buffalo and Penn State University, and has lectured at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Harvard University, New York University, National Gallery of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and College Art Association among others. Haxall curated the recent exhibition, â€œInterventions in Printmaking: Three Generations of African American Women,â€? for the Allentown Art Museum.
KEL SEY HEISS Kelsey Heiss graduated from Kutztown University in May 2015 with a major in Professional Writing and minor in Art History. A former intern at the Allentown Art Museum and Marlin and Regina Miller Art Gallery, she has published fiction in Shoofly Literary Magazine. Heiss currently lives in Kutztown and works as a freelance writer.
CHLOE JACKSON Chloe Jackson graduated summa cum laude from Kutztown University in December 2013 with a B.F.A. in Fine Arts (painting concentration) and minor in Art History. During her time in college, she was awarded a Silver Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award, as well as the Art History award from the Department of Fine Arts. She presented a paper at the Southeastern College Art Association Annual Conference in 2013, and served as a curatorial intern at the Allentown Art Museum, working on the exhibition, Paul Harryn: Essence of Nature. Jackson has exhibited her paintings at Studio B in Boyertown and Red Raven Art Company in Lancaster.
RON SCHIR A Ron Schira has been the lead art critic for the Reading Eagle Newspaper for twenty years with over a thousand articles published. He has written reviews for RawVisions Magazine and Art Matters among others as well as curated shows for Albright College’s Freedman Gallery. He has been exhibiting his own art for 45 years with numerous shows to his credit and co-hosts the New Arts Alive television show for the New Arts Program. In 2002, Columbia University selected Schira as one of the 500 best and most read art correspondents in the country.
AMANDA SE ANOR
Amanda Seanor will graduate from Kutztown University in December 2015 with a dual major in Art Education and
Crafts (textiles concentration) and minor in Art History. She has completed internships at the Carnegie Museum of Art and Mattress Factory, both in Pittsburgh, and published an essay, “Reengaged: Materials and Colors in Contemporary Crafts,” in the exhibition catalogue for Engage: Color, Ritual, Material Studies, held at the Marlin and Regina Miller Art Gallery in Fall 2014.
K AREN S TANFORD Karen Stanford is the Director of University Galleries and Community Outreach at Kutztown University. She is a graduate of KU with a degree in Art Education and has a Masters degree from Drexel University. She has worked at the Reading Public Museum, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Getty Center in Los Angeles. She has overseen over 40 exhibitions in the Miller Gallery and has a personal interest in contemporary craft that blends new techniques with traditional mediums.
KUTZTOWN UNIVERSITY The Marlin and Regina Miller Art Gallery of Kutztown University presents significant and professionally executed solo and group exhibitions of contemporary art in a variety of mediums as well as supporting programs, events, and services that will directly enhance the artistic and philosophical development of our students and will contribute to the lives of residents within our service area. We strive to challenge assumptions and stimulate discussion by presenting artwork and programs relevant to the social and cultural life of the general and special populations within our service area. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, located an hour north of Philadelphia, and two hours west of New York City, has an enrollment of 10,000+ students. Each year, our College of Visual and Performing Arts awards approximately 225 undergraduate degrees in Communication Design, Fine Arts, Art Education, and Crafts. Our Visual Arts programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
Published on Sep 9, 2015
Sept 12 - Oct 11, 2015. Featuring James Carroll, James O. Clark, Joseph Egan, Paul Harryn, Michael Kessler, Barbara Kilpatrick