Gallery Exhibition to Honor Work of Late Professor

Thursday, August 22, 2019

For two decades, Saint Joseph’s University was graced with the talent of Susan Fenton, M.F.A., a photographer and teacher who encouraged her students to take risks, learn from their mistakes and become better artists. Fenton joined the University as an adjunct professor in 1997, earned tenure in 2011 and was elevated to chair of the art department in 2018, months before her untimely death due to an aggressive form of brain cancer.

The Saint Joseph’s University Gallery will honor Fenton with an exhibition of her work, titled “Susan Fenton: A Survey,” through Monday, September 23 in the Merion Hall gallery.

“Susan's students adored her,” says Emily Hage, Ph.D., chair of the art department. “Not only did she teach them all of the complexities and possibilities of darkroom photography, but also about how to move forward after mistakes, be honest, take chances, and have a sense of humor, especially about themselves. As a colleague, she was disarmingly frank and thoughtful, and reminded us all to stay grounded and to respect each other.”

Fenton’s art combined carefully constructed explorations of light, line and color with innovative techniques like hand painting black and white photographs. Her work has been displayed across the country and in London, Rome and Tokyo.

“She saw potential in everyone and everything,” recalls Jeanne Bracy, gallery curator. “She took ordinary objects and masterfully arranged them, repurposed them and lit them to create masterpieces.”

Fenton’s husband, artist Larry Spaid, will deliver a talk on her work on Friday, September 13 at 6:15 p.m. in the gallery. The talk will be preceded by a reception in Boland Hall, where the work of Fenton’s students from the last 20 years, are displayed, and followed by a second reception in the Merion Hall space.

Expand this section