New exhibition at Rowan University Art Gallery explores the complexities attributed to gardens and cultivated spaces

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New exhibition at Rowan University Art Gallery explores the complexities attributed to gardens and cultivated spaces
Installation view.

GLASSBORO, NJ.- Rowan University Art Gallery is presenting Cultivated Space, a new group exhibition featuring work by Anonda Bell, Henry Bermudez, Linda Brenner, Fritz Dietel, Steven Donegan, Rachel Eng, Darla Jackson, Martha Jackson-Jarvis, Mi-Kyoung Lee, Michelle Marcuse, Sana Musasama, and Joanna Platt. The exhibition opened on April 11, 2022.

This group exhibition includes works that resonate with the complexities and divergent perceptions attributed to gardens and cultivated spaces. On a personal and intimate level, gardens are perceived as a place of refuge, solace and emotional centering. The larger broader impacts, however, reveal the disparate interpretations of cultivated spaces from socio-economic and environmental perspectives. The works in this exhibition are not literal representations, but rather through artistic processes and intentions serve as an entry point in considering a myriad of intersections.

Cultivated Space is co-curated by Syd Carpenter, Marsha Moss, and Mary Salvante, in collaboration with Philadelphia Sculptors—a nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia that provides professional services to regional artists, promotes contemporary sculpture, and works to expand public awareness of the role and value of sculpture through exhibitions, public forums, member services, and educational outreach.

Anonda Bell is an Australian born, NY/NJ-based artist, writer and curator. Trained as a painter and printmaker, she works primarily with paper based installation. Her work addresses themes of feminism, the environment, and psychology. Through her work, she tells stories about events or individuals which have possibly been overlooked, or exist outside mainstream historical narratives. Bell is the Director & Chief Curator of the Paul Robeson Galleries at Rutgers University – Newark. Prior to working at Rutgers, she worked in various curatorial capacities at the following organizations: In the US - The Chelsea Art Museum, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, The Everhart Museum, and in Australia - The National Gallery of Victoria and Bendigo Art Gallery. She has an MFA from Monash University, a Post Graduate Diploma and Bachelor of Arts (Psychology & English) from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Arts from RMIT University, all in Australia.

Henry Bermudez is an American contemporary artist born in Venezuela. A journey of geographical, artistic and human observation has taken him from teaching experiences in small isolated communities in the Caribbean up to representing Venezuela in the Venice Biennial in 1986. Since his arrival in the USA in 2003, he has been commissioned by the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia. He has been a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, the Franz and Virginia Bader Fund, the Libby Newman Artist Residency at The Brandywine Print Workshop, and a Peter Benoliel Fellowship from The Center for Emerging Visual Artists. In 2011 he was one of a handful of artists chosen to work with the Philagrafika print collaborative. That same year, he was elected for an installation at The Philadelphia International Airport. In 2020 he was invited to present a mini retrospective showing work from 2006 - 2020 at Taller Puertorriqueño. He currently teaches art at the Career Academy Developing Institute and at Fleisher Art Memorial. Henry Bermudez is co-director of HouseGallery1816 in Fishtown and maintains an active studio and exhibition schedule.

After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA degree majoring in sculpture and attending Tyler School of Fine Arts, Linda Brenner has exhibited her work in shows and is represented in many collections. She has been a recipient of a Leeway Foundation Award and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Stipend in addition to two residencies at the Hambidge Center for the Arts in Georgia. She taught sculpture and drawing classes and had been a critic at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts since 1988 and was Chairman of the sculpture department from ’92 –’95. Brenner retired from teaching in May of 2012, receiving the Dean’s Award for service. Her work has been exhibited at Philadelphia International Airport, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, Woodmere Art Museum, Morris Arboretum, Pentimenti Gallery, and at the Annenberg School of Communications at UPENN. Brenner is a member of InLiquid.

Fritz Dietel spent much of his boyhood tramping in the Allegheny woods and continues to seek both solace and inspiration from nature. Today, hiking in rural Pennsylvania,
diving in the Caribbean, and walking through Philadelphia parks, he finds an endless array of organic forms that trigger his imagination. To fabricate his work, Dietel uses wood and pigmented epoxy, relying on techniques from wooden boat building. The result does not mask but showcases the authentic properties of the original. Critics have hailed the artist’s “knack for transforming the ordinary into the exuberantly exotic,” calling his sculptures “lyrical” and engaged in “a profound appreciation of nature.”

A prominent member of the Philadelphia arts community for 37 years, Dietel is a graduate of the University of the Arts and a recipient of the Pew Fellowship. His sculptures are on view at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Mehri & Skalet PLLC in Washington, D.C., Johnson & Johnson corporate headquarters, the Milton Hershey School, and the Perelman Medical Center for Advanced Medicine. He is represented by Schmidt Dean Gallery.

Steven Donegan earned his BFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia after studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He has participated in the Kohler Arts and Industry Program as an artist-in-residence, been a recipient of Pew Fellowship in the Arts grants as well as a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant. In 1981 he founded the 915 Studio Building, on Spring Garden in Philadelphia, offering studio space to over 90 artists. His work can be found in many private and corporate collections.

Rachel Eng grew up exploring the deciduous forests of Rochester, NY. She received her BFA from the Pennsylvania State University and her MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2017 she was selected as a NCECA Emerging Artist and has been an artist in residence at NES Residency (Iceland), ArtFarm (Nebraska), Mudflat (Boston), and most recently at Studio Kura in Itoshima, Japan. Recent solo exhibitions include: Flecker Gallery at SFCC, Sykes Gallery at Millersville University, Schmucker Gallery at Gettysburg College, and Woskob Gallery at Penn State University. Select group exhibitions include Heaven Gallery (Chicago), Little Berlin (Philadelphia), Rochester Contemporary (Rochester), and Artspace (New Haven). In 2021, she was awarded a fellowship with the Center for Emerging Visual Artists in Philadelphia and a grant from the Puffin Foundation. She currently works and lives in Carlisle, PA, where she teaches in the studio art program at Dickinson College.

Darla Jackson is a sculptor living in Philadelphia. She received a BFA in Sculpture from Moore College of Art in 2003, and after receiving a John S. and James L. Knight Arts Challenge Grant in both 2011 and 2013, founded the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, a membership based community sculpture studio. Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions locally, including galleries and museums such as the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Seraphin Gallery, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Woodmere Art Museum, and a Wind Challenge exhibition at the Fleisher Art Memorial, and across the country at museums and galleries such as the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City, California, the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, Delaware and Parlor Gallery in Asbury Park, New Jersey. She has shown internationally in Belgium and Germany and has lectured about her work at venues including The Barnes Foundation. Jackson currently teaches Figure Modeling at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Animal Sculpture at the Fleisher Art Memorial and Mixed Media Sculpture at Stockton University.

Martha Jackson Jarvis’ sculptures have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States and abroad, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; the Studio Museum of Harlem, N.Y.; Anacostia Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Tretyakov Gallery Moscow, U.S.S.R. Her numerous awards include a Creative Capital Grant, Virginia Groot Fellowship, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, The Penny McCall Foundation Grant, and Lila Wallace Arts International Travel Grant. Her public and corporate art commissions include the D.C. Washington Metro Transit Authority, Anacostia Station; New York Transit Authority, Mount Vernon; South Carolina Botanical Gardens in Clemson; Prince George’s County Courthouse in Upper Marlboro, Md.; Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C.; and MS/HS 368 Bronx, New York among others.

Born in 1952, Martha Jackson Jarvis grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and currently lives and works in Washington, D.C. She studied at Howard University and received a BFA degree from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University and a MFA from Antioch University. Jackson Jarvis also studied mosaic techniques and stone cutting in Ravenna, Italy.

Mi-Kyoung Lee is Director of the Craft & Material Studies Program, and Professor of Fibers/ Textile at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is a Board Member of CraftNOW Philadelphia and Surface Design Association, and she has been an Advisory Board member of Center for Emerging Visual Artists. Lee has had many solo exhibitions and participated in a number of collaborative projects, including at the Arizona Art Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cranbrook Museum of Art, Reading Public Museum, Painted Bride Art Center, New York and Chicago SOFA, Busan Metropolitan Museum in Korea, Espace de Tisserands, France, International Fiber Art Fair in Seoul, Korea, International Beijing Fiber Biennales, and Beijing International Visual Art Biennale. Lee received a fellowship from the Center for Emerging Visual Artists in Philadelphia. Lee is a recipient of the Junior Minority Faculty Grant Awards from the Lindback Foundation as well as faculty development grants from The University of the Arts and Korea Foundation for her research and curatorial projects. Lee was an editor for Art Textile of the World: Korea, Volume I, which was published by the Telos Art Publishing company. Since 2005, Lee has collaborated with International Opera Theater as a costume and set designer.

The work of Michelle Marcuse mirrors and symbolically chronicles her childhood experiences, past and present dream states, and encapsulates commentary on contemporary living. Michelle grew up in South Africa and after receiving a Bachelor of Design from the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel, she continued to Michaelis School of Art at The University of Cape Town and completed her BFA at Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA. She has exhibited with BLAM Projects Brooklyn, NY; Arte y Amor at Taller Boricua, NYC; The Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance, Miami, FL; DORAL Contemporary Art Museum, Doral, FL; Grizzly Grizzly, Philadelphia, PA; EY - INTUITIVE Art Space, Manayunk, PA; and Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA . Michelle is a recipient of a 2016 Fleisher Art Memorial Wind Challenge exhibition and a finalist in The Center for Emerging Visual Artists Fellowship. Her work can be found in public and private collections including The Philadelphia Museum of Art and the collection at the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. Michelle Marcuse lives and works in Philadelphia where she is Co-Director of HOUSEGallery, a mixed use exhibition space in Fishtown.

Sana Musasama received her BA from City College of New York and her MFA from Alfred University, New York. She received an Achievement Award from the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts for her years of teaching and her humanitarian work with victims of sex trafficking in Cambodia and the United States. Sana is the coordinator of the Apron Project, a sustainable entrepreneurial project for girls and young women reintegrated back into society after being forced into sex trafficking. In 2016, she was a guest speaker on “Activism through Art '' at ROCA and has been awarded the ACLU of Michigan Art Prize. A recently published article by Cliff Hocker, “If I can Help Somebody: Sana Musasama’s Art of Healing” appears in the International Review of African American Art. Her work is in multiple collections such as The Museum of Art and Design in New York, New York; the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, New York; the Hood Museum of Art in Hanover, New Hampshire; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York; and in numerous private collections. Sana lives and works in New York.

Joanna Platt received her BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, her MFA from the University of the Arts, and is currently working on a PhD in Art History at Tyler School o Art and Architecture. Joanna balances an active studio practice with research into visual culture, the mediations of technology, the representation of labor in art, and the economics of art and production. Joanna’s work have included in exhibitions at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, and the Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, The Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton NJ, Artist Run at the Satellite Art Fair in Miami, Galeria Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica, and SoHo 20, NY, NY. She is currently an assistant professor in the art department at Camden County College.

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