Fall 2002 Magazine Archive & SearchMuhlenberg Home


Professor of Art

Taking strength from community:
An exploration of the ’Berg’s
community of artists



Beyond this, the art department has had some wonderful developments of late. For starters, it is hard to believe that it was nearly one year ago that we added a printmaking studio to our art-making facilities and Professor Emma Varley joined our department as an assistant professor.

Last spring, Professor Varley had an exhibition of her prints at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. In June she had a successful one-person show at Sheffield Hallam University where she exhibited a paper wall installation and framed prints. She traveled to Scotland this summer to participate in a non-toxic printmaking workshop involving lithography and etching. Plus, she is currently at work on a room-size reflective printed-paper installation piece, which will be exhibited as part of the Fleischer Challenge exhibition in Philadelphia this fall.

And, I am pleased to report that the entire art department faculty has been busily engaging in our practice. Professor Raymond Barnes continues his ongoing focus on site-specific representations of industrial objects. His present work is inspired by the remnants of the cement industry that surround his newly built studio in Egypt, Pa.

Professor Joe Elliott continues to discover and photograph forgotten architecture, archaic structures and lost spaces in Delaware, Lehigh and Bucks counties. He has begun a new project photographing remnants of the Cold War including old radar apparatus. This semester he is on sabbatical working on two books – photographs of Bethlehem Steel and photographs of Philadelphia power plants. He has an upcoming exhibition at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and his photographs of the Bethlehem Steel Works recently appeared in Wired magazine.

Dr. Jadviga da Costa Nunes has been traveling around the coal regions doing research for “Pennsylvania Anthracite Coal Mines and Miners: A Portrait of the Industry in American Art circa 1860-1940,” which will be appearing in a special edition devoted to art, technology and culture of the Journal of Industrial Archeology. She has also been working on a review
of “1900 and Looking Backward” for Nineteenth Century Studies. Dr. Nunes is currently the art exhibition editor for Nineteenth Century Studies.

A student helps Scott Sherk (right) fill sandbags, which were packed around the outside of the Bunker.

I recently had a successful show at the Kim Foster Gallery in New York City, which received a positive mention in the New York Times. I exhibited small-scale sculptures expressing notions of emptiness and space. I participated in another show at Kim Foster Gallery this summer. I am currently hard at work for another solo exhibition plus an upcoming exhibition for the Frank Martin Gallery. I continue to draw regularly from the model, and I have been working hard on my welding skills.

There are exciting happenings in the academic arena as well. Mindful of the continued excellence of our art students and our expanded faculty, the senior seminar for studio students will be expanding this year. We are very pleased to be able to offer an honors seminar in studio art. Senior studio students will be taking the senior seminar during the first semester this year and applying to be accepted in the honors seminar for the spring semester. The honors seminar will culminate in an exhibition of honors students’ works in the Martin Gallery.

On the art history side of the department, Dr. Nunes has introduced a seminar in art history for advanced students. This seminar will be offered each year as a special topics course.

Our students, too, also have been cranking out work. Muses, the art and literary magazine, has been filled with exciting photos of art. The studios quickly fill up with work and by the second semester each year art is spilling out of the studios and into the Baker Center’s hallways.

As a result, the department and the Art Association have been diligently working to develop a student art gallery that would be student run and filled with student art all of the time. As we work on physical space, perhaps we could also develop virtual space – I would be very interested in creating an alumni virtual art gallery on the art department’s Web site.
If any alumni have any digital photos of artwork, please e-mail them to me at sherk@muhlenberg.edu. I look forward
to hearing from you.


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