Discover the ’23-’24 art exhibition season on campus

The Lightness of Bearing exhibition at the Art Gallery on 301 High Street - Arts & Entertainment Editor / Al Harmon

Rowan University Art Gallery is proud to unveil its exciting new season of exhibitions that promise to captivate the hearts and minds of students, art enthusiasts, and the wider community alike.

Kicking off this season’s artistic journey is “The Lightness of Bearing,” a captivating selection of works by Virginia Maksymowicz. By fusing pictures of women from indigenous and ethnic cultures who carry the burden of ceremonial traditions with caryatid mythology, this show explores the metaphorical toughness and tenacity of the female form in art and architecture. This show, which has been adorning the gallery since September 5, will keep people captivated until Oct. 28.

Following this display is “Layers of Authenticity,” a collaborative effort by a remarkable group of artists that included Maria Dumlao, Gabriel Martinez, Paul Anthony Smith, Eric Toscano, and Steven Earl Weber. Their work reveals sincere and perceptive observations about our modern political and social scene through the altering of material taken from print, the internet, and personal photography. They dispel misunderstandings and ambiguity about historical occasions, locales, and figures. This thought-provoking exhibition opens on Jan. 16 and runs through March 9.

The wonderful Ellen Harvey’s idea, “The Disappointed Tourist,” comes to us as the year progresses. The urge to restore what has been lost owing to the forces of conflict, time, ideology, gentrification, and natural calamities serves as the motivation for this show. “The Disappointed Tourist” strives to celebrate our human affinity to both real and ideal locations while honoring the grief that lies behind our collective affection for places. The stunning show by Harvey will be on display from Jan. 16 until March 9.

The gifted Jack Larimore’s show, “Bonding,” is the next on the list. In spite of the difficulties of competition in the natural world, Larimore investigates the beneficial ties that subsist there. By creating, he displays these connections from close and personal ties to those that are more general. In order to combat the weight of division, Larimore’s work pays homage to these multifaceted tales of human connection. From March 25 through May 18, you may see his potent display.

The art piece by Cynthia Mailman, “Origins of God” presents a distinctive viewpoint on the idea of the divine. Cynthia Mailman explores historical depictions of female deities after designing a female portrayal of God for “The Sister Chapel.” Her project, “Origins of God,” engages in a visual and verbal discourse throughout millennia, focusing on contemporary challenges to women’s bodily autonomy and modern conceptions of a male creator or God. From Oct. 5 through Dec. 8, the Center of Art & Engagement at Westby Hall will host this ground-breaking exhibition.

This great collaboration “10 of 80 + 1,” which includes pieces by Pat Adams, Judith Bernstein, Blythe Bohnen, Louise Bourgeois, Diane Burko, Audrey Flack, Nancy Grossman, Lila Katzen, Alice Neel, and Sylvia Sleigh, brings the creative journey of this season to a close. This exhibition features 10 artists from the Gallery’s permanent collection who took part in the 1974 FOCUS exhibition, together with censored pieces from the original show, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Philadelphia Focuses on Women in the Visual Arts. 

This occasion honors “The Sister Chapel,” which was developed in 1978 as one of the first female collaborative works and is now commemorating its 45th anniversary. This show, like “Origins of God,” is housed at Westby Hall’s Center of Art & Engagement.

Mary Salvante, the director and chief curator of the art gallery at Rowan University, is in charge of these creative initiatives. Each year, she devotes her heart and soul to the curation of shows, giving them subjects that speak to the present and encourage deep discussion.

“The themes of the exhibition tend to be very broad and very overarching so that it allows for the different ways in which artists approach this theme, which can be very diverse and very different from one to the next,” said Salvante. “So the theme this year has to do with history has to do with historical events blended with mythologies, as a way to tell stories and a way to bring forward historical knowledge.”

The Rowan University Art Gallery provides a sanctuary for exploration, introspection, and discovery. It gives students the chance to interact with a variety of aesthetic viewpoints, which challenges their assumptions and fosters critical thinking. Students may get a broader awareness of the world around them, the rich tapestry of human experience, and the ability of creativity to inspire change by immersing themselves in these exhibitions.

“We think about the gallery as a teaching gallery because it’s part of the university. I also usually reach out to faculty and invite them to bring their students if I think the themes in the show kind of work, or intersect with their academic studies,” said Salvante. “I’m hoping we will see this show as something their students can connect to… We tried to have themes that are broad-based so that many different parts of the academic spectrum can be here.”

The exhibitions held this year encourage students to consider contemporary challenges, appreciate the beauty of many civilizations, and consider how art and history are ever-changing. Students may broaden their perspectives, learn through history, and start discussions that might influence their view of different parts of the world and its cultures.

“We’re encouraging students to take advantage of the space. This is their space to come here and appreciate the artwork, both informally just for their own enjoyment, but also as part of their time as students to help them academically,” said Salvante.

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