This winter, the James A. Michener Art Museum
joins over eighty Philadelphia area art institutions in Philagrafika 2010, an international festival that recognizes the role of print as a vital force in contemporary art. In conjunction with this inaugural celebration, the Museum hosts two exhibitions: "Lynne Allen: Nature Morte" and "Transforming the Ordinary: Bookworks by Hedi Kyle" both on view from January 16 through March 28, 2010.
"Philagrafika 2010 has done a tremendous job at organizing this festival and we are proud to showcase such strong contemporary artists as part of it," says Kristy Krivitsky, the Museum's Associate Curator of Contemporary Art. "Lynne Allen and Hedi Kyle have each made significant contributions to the print and book fields.
On view in the Museum's new Paton / Smith / Della-Penna Fernberger Galleries, "Lynne Allen: Nature Morte" features works of complex, multi-layered imagery combining diverse materials such as goat skin, Chinese tissue, rusted bottle caps and porcupine quills. Allen employs a wide range of techniques, including lithograph, silkscreen and intaglio. Her current suite of photogravures combines portrait style photography of a still life with the lushness of the deepest black in printmaking.
Drawing on her Sioux heritage, Allen often uses metaphors to look beneath the surface of our cultural perceptions of identity as well as the exploitation of those who are marginalized. Her images call into question our collective conclusions about the labels we assign, and invite the viewer to wonder if aggressors are, in the final analysis, also the victims of their own need to dominate and torment others.
According to Erika Jaeger-Smith, the Museum's Associate Curator of Exhibitions: "Allen's exhibit is not limited to printmaking; the deeply poignant photogravures are augmented by one hundred small, glass-like objects that resemble items once used to trade with Indianssuch as the infamous string of beads for Manhattan. These objects further underscore how little respect was accorded to the Native Americans by the settlers. Driving that point home in her typically straightforward fashion, Allen includes a large sign in the exhibit that reads, 'hook, line and sinker' in neon lights."
Formerly the Director of the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper, (now called the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions), Allen is currently Director of the School of Visual Arts at Boston University. Her work has been included in more than one hundred exhibitions in the United States, and can be found in numerous major museum collections. A leader in the international print community, she has lectured widely in North America and Europe. Until her recent appointment to Boston University, Allen resided in Furlong, Bucks County.
Over her long career as a book artist, Hedi Kyle has pushed the envelope of what is considered a book. "Transforming the Ordinary: Bookworks by Hedi Kyle", on view in the Pfundt Gallery, showcases examples of her innovative book structures including the 'Flag Book', the 'Spider Book 'and the 'Blizzard Book'. Transforming the Ordinary is sponsored by Mary Lou and Andrew Abruzzese, The Pineville Tavern.
Kyle began her training in Germany where she studied graphic design and illustration, followed by education in bookbinding and book conservation after moving to America in the early 1960s. She became Head Conservator at the New York Botanical Garden and later at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, retiring from the latter position in 2003. For over thirty years as a professional conservator, Kyle followed traditional practices for preserving books and archives, but as a maker of artists' books, she has always been interested in using new materials and processes to transform conventional book structures. She has also been a life-long educatorteaching workshops on bookbinding in prestigious art venues throughout this county and abroad. Since 1986, Kyle has taught bookbinding at the graduate level in the Book Arts and Printmaking departments at the University of the Arts.