On View April 25 – June 8
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 25, 6:00-8:00pm
Comprised of former members of the ArtForms Gallery in Manayunk (1992-2005), this exhibition celebrates the connections that these female artists have formed over the years as Philadelphia-based creators.
My art combines classic black and white film photography with the incredible organic world of encaustic. Through layering techniques, heat and physical labor – I seek to achieve a marriage of emotional complexity and beauty in my encaustic photographs. My subject matter is focused on the female form and nature but also includes topics of trauma, emotional expression, deterioration and mystery. I evoke a sense of fantasy in my work through abstraction and soft colors contrasted with the photograph that lays underneath the surface of my paintings. I use both chemical and physical processes in my work. I paint, draw, melt and scar my art. I have the sensitivity of a poet using creation and destruction in a delicate balance.
Joan Myerson Shrager
I am a professional artist, former gallery owner/director of ArtForms Gallery, Manayunk and co-founder, co-director with Paula Mandel of The Stained Glass Project: Windows That Open Doors now in its 14th year, a non-profit after school art program for Philadelphia Public School youngsters. I trained at Moore College of Art, Cheltenham Art Center, University of the Arts and Tyler School of Art. Over the past 50 years my work has been exhibited in invitational solo and group exhibitions. It is featured in an art textbook as well as in news and art publications and digital art websites. My art is in the collections of Harcum College, the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and the Museum of Computer Art (MOCA). I exhibit at Temple Judea Museum of Keneseth Israel. In the past 12 years I have partnered with Rabbi Lance J. Sussman in creating Jewish History PowerPoint programs using my art to enhance them. I have also created books and posters for the synagogue.
Since the early 90’s when I got my first Apple Mac and fooled around with the earliest art software, I have been an aficionado of digital art, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and am included in a textbook as a digital artist. My works for this exhibition will be works created directly on my computer and printed on glass. I am also a sculptor and will exhibit that work as well.
I am attracted to the infinite possibilities of a blank sheet of paper and cherish freedom to create art that embodies my visual, emotional and intellectual experience. The journey captivates me – the trials, errors and variations along the way and how they integrate into a final piece. I studied the History of Art at The University of Chicago and Harvard University and studied Fine Arts at the Art Students’ League in Manhattan, the Maryland College of Art, Tyler School of Art, Temple University and the University of the Arts. I received a Pennsylvania Council of the Arts Visual Fellowship – Works on Paper. I have exhibited my work in New York City, Maryland, New Jersey and widely in the Philadelphia area, including solo exhibits at St. Joseph’s University, the Philadelphia Arts Alliance, the University Arts League and, of course, ArtForms Gallery.
I work in wood, bronze, epoxy and cement. I received a BS ED from the University of Pennsylvania and a BFA from Arcadia University. I studied at Tyler College of Art/Temple University and Moore College of Art. For many years I worked with a Master Sculptor/Carver and continued to hone my woodworking skills with several fine furniture craftsmen. I then opened my own studio at The Mill in Manayunk.
I was a founding member of Artforms Gallery in Manayunk. I have had solo shows at the Hahn Gallery in Chestnut Hill, the James Hunt Barker Gallery in Nantucket, the Philadelphia Art Alliance and Artforms Gallery. My work has been included in numerous group shows in Philadelphia and the surrounding area such as the Rosenfeld Gallery, Marion Locks Gallery, Michener Museum and Woodmere Museum. In addition, my work has been exhibited in Boston, Pittsburgh, Kennebunkport, Me, Jackson, Wy and St. Michaels, Md. My work is in many private and corporate collections.
I am a professional introvert who has discovered my passion for avoiding crowds and strangers at an early age. I became an artist in order to support this passion and to allow myself to be alone as often as possible. I graduated from the Moscow Institute for Graphic Arts in 1984, and continued to live and work in Moscow as a graphic designer and book illustrator before the era of computers. In 1990, I left Russia with my family as political refugees, and had to start over and find new ways to pursue my introvertism through art. While I taught private art lessons and painted, my first opportunities to present my work came from the Jewish community, with my first exhibit at Knesset Israel Synagogue in 1993, then later at the Jewish Community Center in Northeast Philadelphia. In 1994, I was accepted as a member of Artforms Gallery in Manayunk, in which I participated in various group and solo exhibits. In the Spring of 2000 I earned a fellowship to paint and live in Rendsburg, Germany, culminating in a solo exhibit at the Germany Rendsburg Jewish Museum. After my fellowship, I continued to paint and exhibit with Artforms until the gallery closed. Life happens, but my art has always been a prominent part of it, and I had to innovate. My media changed and expanded. I have continued to do occasional group exhibits. I have also begun a yearly tradition of showcasing my work in my own home , a tradition that continues to this day.
For at least 5000 years humans of all cultures have felt compelled to create and play with toys. Archeologists’ findings have confirmed our collective need to produce miniature representations of ourselves and objects, and manipulate them manually and in our imaginations.
As a child, my few toys provided me with an entrée to my imagination. I used these characters and objects to help me re-enact, understand and integrate my experiences and fantasies. They also served as vehicles to assist my exploration of new ideas. In a previous life as a practicing Play Therapist I continued to explore the mystical, magical power imbued in toys, utilizing their inherent characteristics to assist in the understanding of the subconscious.
My interest in glass and found objects has allowed me to once again immerse myself in toys, this time with a more mature twist. As I refer to my most sacred toys, universal images are evoked. There is a compelling irony as I create symbolic toys, which ask to be touched and manipulated, from glass, an extremely fragile material. Well-worn artifacts from the past which are often perceived as useless to our current society are recycled and integrated with the glass giving them renewed purpose. As we interact tentatively with these objects they take us back to our most early memories while connecting us to other cultures and eras.
I was born into a family of artists. My relatives were painters, printmakers, photographers, and designers. Their visual interpretations became an important part of reality to me. Growing up in that environment taught me that creating matters. My biggest motivation was always to “make things.” I still feel the same way I did when I was little and had an idea or a medium I wanted to try out – excited and happy to try it! Always I have scanned my environment for treasures to collect. These bits and pieces often find their way into what I’m making. I have recently been working with botanical materials (leaves, petals, stems and wings) to assemble light-hearted collages. I’ve also been working on a series of paper-cuts. My paper cutting style represents my contemporary version of a beautiful and simple folk art tradition. I have a framing studio in Manayunk , Philadelphia. It is a great pleasure to be able to frame for artists and collectors of every sort. I graduated from Penn State University in 1980 with my BFA in printmaking, I began printing small etchings on a tiny hand-me-down etching press. I started selling my prints at art shows and craft festivals. I loved the independence of making and framing my art, packing it into my car, and driving all over the country to sell it. Anything could (and did) happen! I have done many art shows and exhibitions over the last 35 years. I’ve enjoyed memberships in various artist communities. ArtForms was a vital and exciting group to participate in. I am so glad to stay in contact with many of our former members. What a treat to show together again!
She has been a practicing studio artist and painting instructor for thirty-five years. She studied at Temple University, Moore College of Art and Design, and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 1987 she was director of Muse Gallery, a women’s cooperative gallery and from 1994 to 2004 a member of Artforms, also a cooperative in Philadelphia. Susanne has exhibited in Boston, New York, Baltimore and the greater Philadelphia area including the Rosenfeld Gallery, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Philip and Muriel Berman Gallery at Ursinus College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Copley Society in Boston among others. She was a participant and speaker at Women’s Caucus for Art events when that organization was an active voice for women.
The focus of my work is narrative, represented by the central character of the heroine. The themes occur in relationship to the interplay I create. The sexual dynamic between males and females, women as protectors, seductresses, women waiting, defending, and contemplating their place in relationship to the context in which they find themselves. Through these magical universes these contemporary goddesses, secular Madonna’s and archetypal heroines, journey through the passages of life with humor, chutzpah and resignation, making commentaries, asking questions, arousing contradiction, and allowing great ambiguousness to proceed. If one looks at art through the context of language, art can be interpreted as a “language of the soul”. My connection to this concept is to evoke through a personal mythology – universal themes that can be interpreted on various levels.