New Martin Art Gallery Exhibits: Faculty Work, Quarantine Collections

A group exhibition of faculty work and the exhibition 'Artists Quarantine With Their Art Collections' open Wednesday, November 17, along with a public reception.

 Tuesday, November 16, 2021 11:27 AM

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'The Devil is in the Detail' by Assistant Professor of Sculpture Frederick Wright Jones

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Martin Art Gallery at Muhlenberg College is hosting a group exhibition of faculty work.  

Works by the College’s teaching artists and researchers in painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography and other media will be on display in the Gallery November 17January 29, 2022. Examples of their work will be shown alongside information about their teaching philosophies and the personal motivations behind their creative work. 

This expansive show will feature works by full Art and Art History faculty members Raymond Barnes, professor of painting; Greta Bergstresser, adjunct professor of photography, whose print North Bangor Slate Quarry is pictured; Les Fletcher, adjunct professor of drawing; David Haas, adjunct professor of analog photography; Carol Heftadjunct professor of drawing; Margo Hobbs, professor of art and department chair; Kim Hoeckele, assistant professor of photography; Frederick Wright Jonesassistant professor of art and sculpture; Dawn Kramlich, adjunct professor of sculpture; Emily Orzech, associate professor of printmaking; Yangbin Park, adjunct professor of printmaking; Elena FitzPatrick Sifford, assistant professor of art history and Kevin Tuttle, senior lecturer of drawing and sculpture.

The show will open with a public reception Wednesday, November 17, from 6–7:30 p.m. Masks are required of all attendees.

In addition, the Gallery will play host to the exhibition Artists Quarantine With Their Art Collections, guest curated by Stephen Maine, in the Galleria Exhibition Space November 17 February 6, 2022.

The show will open with a public reception Wednesday, November 17, from 6–7:30 p.m. Masks are required of all attendees. In addition, on February 3, 2022, the Gallery will host a panel discussion with some of the lending artists, moderated by Maine.

Artists Quarantine With Their Art Collections began as a series of articles Stephen organized and edited for the arts journal Hyperallergic. The project looks at the ways global cataclysm can reshape meaning in artworks that predate it, and how the experience of a specific collective hardship can influence the significance we extract from (or project onto) artworks—even those we thought we knew well. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, Maine asked his fellow artists: In the context of rampant disease, do you look at your personal collection differently now, and which works in particular? Is there one that especially resonates with you at this weird, frightening moment? And does it take on new meaning? The premise is that secluded at home, many people would come face to face with work they’d looked at countless times, but the extraordinary circumstances of a global pandemic might prompt the involuntary creation of new meaning. What we see depends in part on when, in the course of events, we do the looking, because an artwork’s significance, while often largely subjective, is also flexible—capable of shifting to meet the present moment.

The responses were assembled and published in biweekly installments in Hyperallergic beginning in May 2020, and continuing for the next year. Using the Artists Quarantine With Their Art Collections articles as a point of departure, Stephen has selected a group of works and paired them with the writings from their artist-owners, allowing gallery visitors to see firsthand the works described in his online project. Thanks to the generous lenders, this unique show will allow the public to engage with deeply personal possessions. Artists are typically thought of as object-makers, and in this unique exhibition, we are allowed into the personal spaces of artists, to see what works inspire or move them, and to learn a little bit about the works they found solace in, during what was truly a dark time for not only artists in the US, but across the world.

Artists lending works from their personal collections include Gina Beavers, Power Boothe, Dan Devening, Mark Joshua Epstein, Steve Greene, Jodi Hays, Carl E. Hazlewood, Lauren Henkin, Mary Jones, Christopher Kuhn, Elisa Lendvay, Judith Linhares, Helen O’Leary, Courtney Puckett, Vincent Ramos, Archie Rand, Howard Schwartzberg, Letha Wilson and Antonius Wiriadjaja.

The Martin Art Gallery is located in the Philip Johnson-designed Baker Center for the Arts on the Muhlenberg College campus at 2400 Chew Street, Allentown PA 18104. The Martin Art Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, noon8 p.m., and the Gallery's Galleria Space is open every day, 9 a.m.11 p.m. 

All exhibitions and programming are free and open to the public. For further information, please contact the Gallery Director Paul M. Nicholson at paulnicholson@muhlenberg.edu or 484-664-3467.

Sailboat image, courtesy Paul M. Nicholson