The Cummings Art Gallery at Mercyhurst University will feature recent artwork by art department faculty beginning Oct. 5 and running through Nov. 10. This year the art department has invited guest alumnus Will Ursprung ’76 to join faculty members Daniel Burke, Tom Hubert, Jodi Staniunas-Hopper, Gary Cardot, Mary Elizabeth Meier, Deborah John, Jamie Borowicz and Patricia Tomzcak-Czulewicz.
The public is invited to meet the artists at a reception on Thursday, Oct. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Ursprung exhibits small mixed media collages using found objects, steel and wood, influenced by primitive art and Celtic, Norse and Native American myth. His works for this show include references to the eye. Ursprung, who is legally blind due to a retinal detachment, says, “I am not able to see well enough to have a driver’s license but I do see the world from a very different perspective.”
Ursprung earned his degree in art education and studied with Ernest Mauthe, Daniel Burke and Sister Angelica Cummings. He also studied at the University of Arts in Philadelphia and at the Barnes Foundation.
He worked as an art therapist for 35 years, including 20 years at Pennsylvania’s maximum-security Graterford Prison, where his work in collage progressed. “There was a symbolic transformation where the recycling, repurposing and reclaiming of discarded objects demonstrated the link between material salvage and personal salvation,” he explains.
Burke will exhibit two installations, “Four Studies” and “Game Birds,” in which he repurposes board games and uses acrylic paint, wood and miscellaneous media including wooden dowel rods and painted Popsicle® sticks.
He exhibited this summer at the 56th Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art at the Strohl Art Center at Chautauqua Institution and at the 77th National Midyear Show at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. The mixed media paintings continue his exploration of nature themes and the use of unusual surfaces and repurposed materials.
Hubert’s ceramic pieces for this show include a porcelain two-handle vase, a Pashaco wood teapot and a wall piece titled “Shattered Sun.”
The current chair of the Mercyhurst Art Department, he was recently invited to participate in the 7th Annual Teapot Show at Pittsburgh’s Morgan Contemporary Glass Gallery and in “Hot Tea 2013” at the Del Mano Gallery in Los Angeles, Calif.
Cardot, who teaches photography and art history, exhibits a group of archival jet prints that feature imagery from county fairs, parades and Erie’s own Roar on the Shore.
Staniunas-Hopper, director of the graphic design program, is showing a number of Luchadora masks and their respective imagery, altered wedding wear and carnival-style show posters relating to the many roles of women.
She recently had two works (“Miss Liberty” and “Taking on Vargas”) accepted for the 2013 Hoyt Mid-Atlantic Juried Exhibition in New Castle. Her works will be featured in a one-woman show in Cummings titled “Concealed/Revealed” Feb. 17-March 23, 2014.
Meier, director of the art education program, exhibits a series of monoprints titled “Interruption.” She is the current president of the Pennsylvania Art Education Association.
John, an art therapist and a passionate advocate of self-expression through the arts, will display a series of ballpoint pen sketches called “Inner Works: Selected Sketches” that chronicle her inner workings on paper since February. She has been an avid and obsessive doodler since middle school.
Borowicz, an adjunct faculty member who also teaches at Mercyhurst Prep, shows two watercolors that capture the complicated patterns found in nature on leaves, moss, bark and pebbles. He has been featured in a number of recent shows, including “What Those Who Teach Do” at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and a one-man show at the Stonewall Gallery in Edinboro.
Tomczak-Czulewicz, also an adjunct faculty member, exhibits watercolor paintings showing landscapes that capture views found between houses, through backyards and over fences. She has taught art in the Erie community for 30 years and is working on a series of fine art books documenting small towns in Pennsylvania.
Cummings Gallery, located in the lobby of the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center at Mercyhurst, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 824-2092.
PHOTO: ‘Shooting at Castles in the Air’ by Jodi Staniunas-Hopper