About the Art Gallery

The Carlow University Art Gallery opened in fall 2015 to encourage the appreciation and understanding of art and its role in Pittsburgh, the region, and the world. The Art Gallery is a unique light-filled space located on the second floor of the University Commons that serves as a laboratory not only for the art department, but also for all scholarly pursuits throughout the University community. The Gallery offers exhibitions and educational programs to encourage inquiry and enjoyment. The director of the Carlow University Art Gallery is Sylvia Rhor, Associate Professor of Art History.  

Gallery Hours

Monday - Thursday 11-6pm 
Friday 10-1pm

For more information or to schedule a private visit or tour, please email: gallery@carlow.edu
Please visit our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram: @carlow_gallery

Program Cancellation: The gallery conversation with Mr. Robert Qualters at the Carnegie Museum of art on September 28th at 6:30 pm has been cancelled. Sorry for any inconvenience.  



Opening Reception: Thursday, September 14, 5:30-7:30
Artist Talk with Bob Qualters: Tuesday, September 19, 4pm



MY PITTSBURGH focuses on the Pittsburgh subjects of two iconic artists, John Kane and Robert Qualters, giving special emphasis to the influence that Kane’s work had on Qualters’ paintings. This exhibition also highlights works in Carlow University Art Collection, including John Kane’s Mount Mercy, donated to Carlow by Mrs. Elsie Hillman in 2001, and For John Kane and Big Self-Portrait by Robert Qualters, donated in 2017.


January 17 – April 28, 2017

Up In Arms

The Carlow University Art Gallery is honored to present UP IN ARMS. Organized by Susanne Slavick, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. UP IN ARMS presents a number of perspectives on the image and impact of guns in contemporary culture, though none endorse them as a means to an end. Works by nine artists touch upon a host of issues surrounding access to and use of firearms, examining and representing the role that guns continue to play in our national mythologies and pathologies, suicide and homicide rates, domestic violence, and mass media.

Gun ownership and control is a divisive topic in this country. The artists in UP IN ARMS visualize the power of the gun as icon and instrument, the damage it can do and how weapons might be rejected, subverted or silenced. Some show the power that guns wield in our daily realities and personal fantasies. Others mourn and resist that power, doing everything they can to take it away, believing there are better ways to resolve conflicts, ensure safety and keep the peace.

UP IN ARMS is presented in conjunction with the launch of the Social Justice Institutes (SJI) at Carlow University. The SJI provides access to under-represented groups and seeks to close educational, socio-economic, and leadership gaps. Projects within the SJI fall into three areas: Research, Education, and Community Outreach. In addition to the support that the SJI provides to faculty, staff, and students, it is also embarking on a three-year strategy to support and partner on community initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence.

We also invite you to visit an accompanying installation of photographs and videos by Carlow photographer David C. Holzemer on the 5th Floor of the University Commons. TOO MANY documents the stories of members of the Carlow community who have been affected by gun violence.




Illuminations: Works by Vanessa German, Peter Oresick, and Christopher Ruane

September 6, 2016 - December 9 2016



February 8, 2016 – May 6, 2016 
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 18, 2016, 5:30-7:30pm

DISPLACEMENT/REPLACEMENT examines community narratives through the lenses of four African American imagemakers, considering the changing milieus of the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of the Hill District, East Liberty, Braddock, and of Butler County. Marked by “urban renewal”, gentrification, and environmental blight, respectively, these communities have seen displacement of thousands of low-income residents, primarily African American and/or working class people. One may wonder where all of these people went and what we might learn from the fluctuations of populations due to race and class. From the Great Migration of millions of Africans Americans moving North in search of jobs and escape from Jim Crow, to the currently rapidly changing landscape of East Liberty, to the devastation of lives due to fracking, to the destruction of public housing, this exhibition explores the questions: who belongs, and who decides? 

Displacement/Replacement Flyer

Observation / Exploration: Works by William DeBernardi and Dale Huffman


November 19, 2015 – January 29, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday, December 3, 2015, 5:30-7:30pm

As is frequently the case with art, the works of William DeBernardi and Dale Huffman are not at all as they initially appear. In both cases, the product belies a hidden process of observation and exploration. What appears as random in the work of Dale Huffman in actuality is cultivated through delicate and nuanced technique developed through years of experimentation and critical analysis. In the case of William DeBernardi, what appears as photographic emulation is in fact an exploratory observation followed by an extensive process of developing and distilling information.

Observation Exploration: Works by William DeBernardi and Dale Huffman
Huffman’s ceramic works echo the influences of wabi-sabi and the Zen foundation of traditional Japanese crafts, appearing casual and sometimes crude. His style emphasizes loose handling of the clay during production. However, this façade obscures the careful exploration that is implicit here. Each twist in the clay and every mark on the clay’s surface has evolved over decades of exploration with the clay, aided by15 years training as a student of tai chi. Each firing continues Huffman’s ongoing exploration of wood types, firing cycles, and stacking patterns. The failure rate is high but necessary. Quoting artist Andy Goldsworthy: “A lot of effort is going into making this look effortless.

DeBernardi’s paintings are couched in a realist and figurative tradition. The images present unguarded moments of everyday activity. At first glance, the work seems to consist of random “snapshots” of faces and figures in various environments. However, the visual information that explores light, gesture, human personality, and social ritual expresses a more layered meaning. Backgrounds may be specific environments or vague in their depiction of location. This intentional choice is indicative of the exploratory-based decisions made by DeBernardi for expressive purposes. Photographic references are developed through extensive drawing studies that search for the essential information necessary to express what he feels are universal truths about the human experience.

Find out more about Carlow University Professors William DeBernardi and Dale Huffman

Close Reading: Selected Works by Diane Samuels 

September 15 – November 13, 2015 
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 8, 2015, 5:30-7:30pm 

The Carlow University Gallery was proud to feature the work of Diane Samuels in its inaugural exhibition, "Close Reading: Selected Works by Diane Samuels" from September 15, 2015 – November 13, 2015. This exhibition marked the public debut of both Moby-Dick and Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie, and also served as the starting point for a public art project that Diane Samuels will create for the University Commons over the next year. 

The works in the exhibition — a monumental roll of blue parchment, a colorful map of India, a book of seemingly blank pages — require us to move closer to engage with hidden stories.

University Commons Art Gallery: Inaugural Exhibition Close Reading: Selected Works by Diane SamuelsVisitors discussing "Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie"

From Herman Melville's canonical Moby-Dick to the lesser-known story of a Polish refugee, artist Diane Samuels uses the words that guide those narratives as the raw material for her art. Painstakingly transcribing each word from a book or interview, Samuels brings new life, color, and texture to these already profound stories and creates tapestries that invite us to experience the story through her unique lens.

In Moby-Dick, Samuels writes each page of Melville's book across connected pieces of hand-colored, handmade paper reconstituted from her old artworks, adding collage elements. In Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie, Samuels divides Rushdie's novel of the Indian independence and partition into 1,001 parts, each transcribed onto paper recalling the colorful patterns of Indian sari and forming the map of the new nation. In Book of Norma's Words, the story of a young Polish émigrée emerges only when light passes through, revealing the words on the watermarked pages.

University Commons Art Gallery Opening: Close Reading: Works by Diane Samuels"Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas/ Testimony Against Gertrude Stein," 2011 (detail)

Diane Samuels is a visual artist, with studio and public art practices. She is also co-founder of City of Asylum Pittsburgh, which provides sanctuary to writers in exile. Her work is in public and private collections including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Bank of New York Mellon, Reed College, Municipal Museum of Art (Gyor, Hungary), the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Yeshiva University Museum, and the Center for Book Arts.

Find out more about Diane Samuels.