About the Art Gallery
Inaugurated in 2015, the Carlow University Art Gallery
is dedicated to creating art exhibitions and
public programs that highlight Carlow's social justice mission and
build on the University's dedication to experiential
learning. The Carlow Gallery exhibits the work of
professional artists, primarily artists from the
Pittsburgh region, and serves as a laboratory for critical
inquiry for the entire University community.
The director of the Carlow University Art Gallery is Sarah Jacobs, assistant professor of art. For more information
about the gallery, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow the gallery on Instagram: @carlow_gallery.
Opening Reception for DINOSAUR IN THE DOLLHOUSE
January 31st, 6pm - 8pm at the Carlow Gallery
Free and Open to the Public
Fall 2018 hours:
Every day, 9am - 8pm
DINOSAUR IN THE DOLLHOUSE (January 31 2019 - April 19 2019)
Dinosaur in the Dollhouse is a collaborative exhibition of the paintings of artists Sarah
Jacobs, Kristen Letts Kovak, and Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann. Their
practices each carry on the torch of tradition but are equally
footed in legacy and possibility. Once established, their patterns
are broken, and unpredictable references are allotted space within
their images. Yet, they consciously don't throw out the baby with
the bathwater in favor of radical new practices. These three
artists add the new to the old, not to replace it, but to change
This exhibition includes one painting by each artist that is
already completed, as well as a second painting that has been
influenced by the paintings being exhibited by the other two
artists. The three artists will then collaborate on a painting that
will be on display in the gallery and finished by the end of the
The title of the exhibit comes from Timothy App, a painting
mentor to all three artists, who would tell the story to his
students about watching his granddaughter play with her dollhouse.
She noticed a toy dinosaur next to her, picked it up, and put it in
the dollhouse. She continued to play with the dollhouse for a while
and then finally decided to remove the dinosaur from the dollhouse.
App would use the story as a metaphor for what painters do with
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
KATHERINE TZU-LAN MANN received her BA from Brown University and
MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is the
recipient of a Fulbright grant to Taiwan, the AIR Gallery and Lower
East Side Printshop Keyholder Fellowships in New York, NY, and the
Individual Artist Grant, Arts and Humanities Grant, Mayor's Award
and Hamiltonian Fellowship in Washington, DC. She has attended residencies at Virginia
Center for the Creative Arts, Blue Sky Dayton, Vermont Studio
Center, Salzburg Kunstlerhauss, Triangle Workshop, Anderson Ranch
Art Center, Bemis Center for the Arts, Djerassi Resident Artists
Program, Facebook, and the Jaipur, India Carbon 12 Residency. Some of the venues where
Mann has shown her work include the Walters Art Museum, Corcoran
Gallery of Art, Rawls Museum, the US consulate in Dubai, UAE, and
the US embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon. Mann is currently an
instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
My work's abstractions arise from the subjects I portray:
ecological and geological cycles, processes of chemical corrosion and natural
efflorescence. With roots in traditions of Chinese landscape
painting, my monumentally sized paintings and installations evolve a
fantastic, abstract vision of the natural world. My latest work
confronts the challenge: the resuscitation of landscape painting in
a world where "landscape" is represented and defined through an
ever-widening field of digital, graphic, and visual forms. How can a painting capture
flux, abundance, waste, fertility, and the collision and collusion
of diverse forms? How can it respond to the pressure we place on
our era's fragile ecosystem? My paintings explore both questions by
sustaining tension between what is artificial and what is natural,
between what is chemical and what is biological, between organic
and inorganic. The paper on which I paint is not only a recognition
of a tradition of Chinese painting; it is also a medium of
vulnerability and expansiveness, susceptible to crease and tear as
well as to collage and collation. My own role in the creation of
the paintings strikes a balance between the purposive and the
protective. I trust to process, chance, and change, but I encourage, direct,
and facilitate all of these.
KRISTEN LETTS KOVAK received her BA from Mercyhurst University
and her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her works
have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the
country. Most recently, she has had solo exhibitions at 707 Penn,
709 Penn, the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, St. Michael's
College, Ohio University, Penn State, Baum School of Art, and the
Arts Club of Washington. Kovak's curatorial projects examine common
psychological, aesthetic and theoretical questions underlying
seemingly diverse artistic practices. Her recent projects at SPACE
gallery ("Cataloguing Pattern," "Degrees of Separation," and
"Identity Play") share a characteristic interest in balancing
opposing forces to arrive at harmonious states of disequilibrium.
Kovak is currently a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.
Focusing on changes in color and light, I subdivide each surface
into a network of shapes. Depending on how those shapes are framed,
a single pigment has the parallel potential to render or unravel an
illusion. Freed from historical limitations, the depictions may
wander between representation and abstraction. Like the original
artifacts and contexts they depict, the paintings are both records
of my perceptions, and independent objects for observation.
SARAH JACOBS received her BA at Gettysburg College and her MFA
from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her artwork has been
exhibited in the US and in Europe and she has taken part in artist
residencies in Grimma, Germany and Cali, Colombia. During the
summer of 2019 she will be an artist resident at the Helene
Wurlitzer residency in Taos, New Mexico. She has won multiple
grants, including the Arts Council England Artist Grant, and her
work can be found in public and private collections in the US, UK,
and Hong Kong. Her work is currently being exhibited at the
Pittsburgh International Airport. Jacobs moved back to the US in
2014 after three years living in London and Bristol, UK where she
became a naturalized British citizen. Jacobs is currently a
professor at Carlow University.
Patterns, either designed by me, taken from nature, or
gathered from around the globe, collide or change one another in
often swirling compositions. One goal in creating my paintings is
to force patterns, which normally flatten an image, into visual
depth and volume using design principals. The result of this
manipulation can look dramatic and can be confusing. I use visual patterns to
represent modes of thought or patterns of living. We each
categorize and frame the mystery of existence in unique ways, we
tell ourselves stories, but our paradigms usually do not easily
accommodate those of others. These painted interactions speak of
the complexity and beauty in discovering, navigating, and adapting
to new philosophies. My paintings hope to illustrate the
possibility of creating something fresh by combining or adapting
extant ideas. The visual complexity of my paintings can be a lot to
take in, but the artwork is ultimately optimistic. My work,
although it looks hard-edged, perhaps computer generated from a
distance, is meticulously hand-painted. This obsessive devotional aspect
of its production is essential because the subject matter, although
hopeful, relates to human vulnerability.
OUT OF MANY (September 13, 2018 - December 6, 2018)
While migration today has become one of the most divisive elements of our contemporary discourse, the arguments both for and against the newcomer —whether we mean migrants, immigrants, or refugees—echo throughout our history. Our immigration laws show how the entrance into the country has widened and narrowed since its beginning. Not all were welcomed, let alone considered equal. A century ago, Irish and Italian immigrants were characterized as criminals, as we are often told is the case for immigrants today.
America is bound together by the idea that, whether in our own lifetime or that of our ancestors, we have all come from somewhere. As migrants, we bring with us different names, foods, and customs. We may look different from our neighbors. We may wear different clothes, speak different languages, and worship different gods—or none at all. We may elicit curiosity, and fear. But choosing to learn each other’s stories offers us a sense of belonging to something larger than ourselves.
The project from which these photographs are taken is about the process of moving—or being moved—to a new place. Rather than looking at migrants as faceless, nameless stereotypes, this project gives us individual stories. Using Pittsburgh as a lens through which to consider the American migration experience, the project shows how our paths are interwoven: each person’s journey becomes a part of the culture we share.
Though the project is expansive, it is not possible to be all-encompassing. All around the country, the shaping of our cities and culture continues to unfold. Every story of immigration has its own set of circumstances and affects each area of the country in different ways. Our hope is that this project will create space for civil discussion that can lead to responsible actions. E Pluribus Unum — “Out of Many, One” — has informed the identity of this country since its inception. This is a project about us, about the stranger in all of us; it offers a glimpse of our collective story. It is the hope of the team that sharing this will encourage a sense of empathy among us, an appeal to what Abraham Lincoln described as “the better angels of our nature.”
Brian Cohen and Laura Domencic
Curators, Out of Many – Stories of Migration
5TH FLOOR BALCONY
Over the summer 6 Carlow students created the designs that will be incorporated into the University Commons 5th floor balcony this fall. Artists: Emily Armstrong, Jasmine Cho, Victoria Hirsh, Taylor Humes, Katie Krall, Katie Winter; Professor: Sarah Jacobs. Thank you to Dr. Mellon and David Meadows for their support of this project. Thank you to Bill, Anthony, Johnathan, and everyone else at LGA Partners for their time, feedback, and kindness.
TEN OUT OF TEN (February 12, 2018 - April 27, 2018)
Guest curator and artist Sigrid Zahner invited ten well-known
ceramic artists from around the country to participate in this
exhibition. Each of those artists was asked to invite another
artist to the exhibition. The result is TEN OUT OF TEN, a national
exhibition of contemporary ceramics. The show includes a wide-range
of artists and practices, from wood-fired pots and porcelain
installations to 3D printing. The works engage subjects as diverse
as the refugee crisis and the endangered bee population to popular
culture and the history of still life.
This exhibition is held in conjunction with the annual meeting
of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA)
in Pittsburgh, PA in March 2018. In keeping with NCECA's core focus
on ceramics education, TEN OUT OF TEN highlights artists who are
actively involved in teaching, be it on the college level or
in the community. According to curator Sigrid Zahner, "the goal of
this exhibition is to present a show that displays excellence in
the field at all levels of an artist's career, from the
undergraduate to the professor who allows students to stand on her
or his shoulders and soar."
Please visit the online catalog for this exhibition: http://10outof10.omeka.net/exhibits/show/10out10
PROSECUTERIX BY SARIKA GOULATIA
November 16, 2017 - January 26, 2018
PROSECUTERIX is a participatory and ongoing installation
that addresses the issues of rape, assault and sexual violence in
contemporary society. Stemming from the artist's own experiences as
a child in India, this project aims to bring awareness to
the sexual abuse and to give voice to those who wish to share
For more on the project and for ways to participate,
KANE/QUALTERS: MY PITTSBURGH
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.
UP IN ARMS: AN EXHIBITION EXPLORING GUNS IN OUR CULTURE
January 17 – April 28, 2017
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?
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.
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.
Visitors 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.
"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.