Spring Art Exhibitions Culminate the Work of Visionary Students

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (March 24, 2009) – “Freshly Squeezed,” the 2009 Saint Joseph’s University Senior Art Thesis Exhibition, will open to the public on Friday, April 3, and will be on display on the second floor of Mandeville Hall until April 24, 2009. The exhibit will highlight the achievements of 15 graduating fine arts majors, and will span multiple styles and mediums, including painting, drawing, film and digital and traditional photography. An opening reception will be held April 3rd from 5-9 p.m. in Mandeville Hall.

The students have been enrolled in a capstone course for the past year that required them to create fully realized pieces for this year’s exhibit. This year will mark the tenth anniversary of the thesis program and exhibition, which was started in 1999.

Ron Klein, M.F.A., associate professor of art and instructor of the thesis course, has nothing but praise for this year’s budding artists. “Our group is very talented, and I expect it to be a spectacular show,” said Klein, who has been guiding the students through the thesis process during the spring semester. Art critic and curator Roberta Fallon, founder of THEartblog.org, taught the first half of the course in the fall in order to give the students an alternative perspective on their work.

For the seniors, the thesis project has been a way to grow individually as artists as well as influence one another’s work. “As visual arts students, our group has had the opportunity to come together and create a show that reflects not only on the individual artist’s work, but also on the collaborative, insightful support of our peers and professors,” said senior Alexandra Curzi of Nazareth, Pa., whose concentration is painting. Her collection explores the universal language of the human face, and she hopes to one day teach art at the college level.

“All of our art comes from our own imaginations, but the critiques we receive from one another in class help cultivate new ideas, so everyone’s work is connected in some way,” said senior painter Philip DiWilliams of Philadelphia. The students hope that the exhibit design will demonstrate this by putting their pieces in conversation with one another.

The diversity of the seniors’ work will make “Freshly Squeezed” a stimulating and thought-provoking show. Works will tackle subject matter as serious as morality in the pursuit of happiness, and as whimsical as double-sided cannolis, donuts and ice cream cones.

Senior Tony Toscani of Voorhees, N.J., has a definite vision for this collection. His paintings of desserts that appear in unexpected settings reflect the influence of artists like proto-Pop artist Wayne Thiebaud, while retaining his own unique commentary on our society’s craving for materialism.

“My work reflects childhood fantasies of sweets and desserts while still creating a sense of readable beauty,” said Toscani, who has already exhibited work locally and plans to continue painting professionally after graduation. "I like making art that feels comfortable.”

Additionally, the junior class will showcase their work for the second annual Junior Art Exhibition and Performance, which will run April 3-24 in the University Gallery in Boland Hall, with a reception on April 3, from 4-6 p.m., the same evening as the senior show. The rationale behind this is to expand the dialogue between the two classes and the entire SJU art program.

“This is a chance to see the work on the wall, out of the studio in a professional environment, which puts a bit of weight or significance on the work produced,” said Steve Cope, M.F.A, assistant professor of art. “In this year’s show there are a variety of mediums, and the possibility of cross-pollination and the exchange of ideas remains a vital part of the experience.”

Senior performing arts majors will take part in a separate event on Friday, May 1, and Saturday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. The first night will showcase the talents of student directors and actors in two one-act plays, performed on the stage of Bluett Theatre. Caroline Sucharski ’09 of Havertown, Pa., directs the first play of the evening “Laundry and Bourbon” by James McLure, and senior Edwin Lashley of Salisbury, Md., directs the second in the line-up, “The Ride,” by Gregory Romero, adjunct instructor of performing arts. On Saturday, the Chapel of St. Joseph will host the senior music composition recital, which will feature a composition by Amanda Bono ’09. Members of the Philadelphia Opera Company will perform the student composer’s work. Suzanne Sorkin, Ph.D., assistant professor of music, is the advisor of the performing arts thesis students.

An additional exhibition of student art will begin on May 1 and run until May 8 in the University Gallery. An opening reception will be held on May 1 from 1-4 p.m., and will feature live music by the SJU Jazz Band. The show, which is a varied presentation of student art, will cover the floor to the ceiling of the Gallery. Anyone who has taken an art course during the school year is invited to submit, regardless of the major of the student.

The Saint Joseph's University Gallery is located in Boland Hall on Lapsley Lane, off of City Avenue between 54th Street & Cardinal Avenue in Lower Merion. Bluett Theatre is located in Post Hall at 56th St. & Overbrook Ave. Hours are Mon. through Fri., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mandeville Hall is located at 54th Street and City Avenue. For more information call 610-660-1840, or visit www.sju.edu/gallery

Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-3240, patricia.allen@sju.edu.

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