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Artistic Innovations: Edinboro University

The Hoyt Main Galleries feature the paintings of Bradley Milligan and Ben Frederick.

Blue Hawaiian by Bradley Milligan West Gallery.jpg

 A recent graduate, Milligan received his BFA in painting from Edinboro University in 2018. His work employs a combination of direct observation and invention to explore a sense of ambiguity and the tension between the familiar and unfamiliar. Subjects range from cluttered still lives and interiors to dioramas made from found objects.  He says the paintings in this exhibition are rooted in architecture and occupied spaces, “but not in architecture for its own sake.”

“Instead, the paintings investigate what happens when a person becomes more acutely aware of their relations to their surroundings”, he says, “and what meaning can be extracted from this when combined with this exploration into the place between familiarity and unfamiliarity.”

Originally from Easton, Maryland, Milligan has shown throughout Maryland and Western Pennsylvania as well as in a number of national and regional juried exhibitions.  He now resides in Bloomington, Indiana.

Another recent graduate, Ben Frederick completed his MFA in painting this past May. His work typically revolves around the routines of his young family.  There is, therefore, an aspect of personal chronicle about the body of work although not necessarily significant moments. And yet he says “there is significance to them in that family is important to me, and therefore the home, and by recording the moments I have made them significant.”

A Dayton, Ohio resident, he has become active in Dayton’s art community since graduating from the University of Miami in 2008 - exhibiting artwork, volunteering at a gallery, and teaching drawing and ceramics classes at a community art center.

Several additional alumni are being featured in the Blair Sculpture Walkway including Christopher Boring, Heather Kanazawa, Josiah King, Zack Pontious, Rabecca Signoriello, Isaac Bower, Sara Catapano, Stephanie Craig, Deric Ence, and Todd Leech.  Works range from photo realistic oils and expressive acrylics to contemporary ceramics and sculpture.

Artistic Innovators will be on display through January 3. Admission to the galleries is always free.

The Four Seasons

Watercolors by Jeanette Blair
August 7 - October 11
Public Reception: August 10, 6-8 pm

 Swamp on County Road

Swamp on County Road

While the work of Robert Noel Blair (1912-2003) may be more widely known than that of his wife, Jeanette, she has certainly found her own place in the esteem of the Western New York arts community as evidenced by the recent publication, Jeanette Blair, Selected Works: A Survey of 60 Years of Art, (2016). The expressive body of work within, illustrates a shared love of the landscape, influenced as much by each other and by the American watercolorist, Charles Burchfield.

It was this book that inspired local artist and Hoyt Trustee, Wendy Warner, to propose the upcoming exhibition in the Main Galleries, The Paintings of Jeanette Blair, August 7-October 11. Having studied under Blair herself, Warner was not only well acquainted with their work but with the personalities of their prolific creators.  Thus, she accompanied Hoyt Exhibition Manager, Patricia McLatchy, to curate the selection of works to be featured in the show.

As a student and later teacher at the Art Institute of Buffalo in New York, Jeanette was actively engaged in artistic circles since the 1940s. She married Robert in 1943 and found in him a supportive partner for her own career. She was an active, exhibiting member in the Associated Arts Organization, Watercolor League of Western New York, Patteran Society of Buffalo, and the Buffalo Society of Artists from which she received numerous awards. She also exhibited at the Albright Knox Gallery, the Chautauqua Institute, and the Butler Institute of American Art.

The birds and local scenery of Nancy Connelly’s sculpture and pastels will complement the Blair’s work in the Walkway Gallery.  The birds are created from driftwood or other random pieces of nature collected during walks.

“After seeing a whimsical bird in a gallery, I wanted to try my hand at it,” she said, “I had limited resources to start – just a few pieces of unburned wood from the fire.”  Connelly concluded the natural shape of the material tends to dictate what it becomes.

Nature Observed, Barbara Westman

May 29 -  August 2
Opening Reception: June 1, 6-8 pm

 Grass 3, black industrial fabric by Barbara Westman

Grass 3, black industrial fabric by Barbara Westman

My work in both areas: printmaking and fiber art reflect my interest in natural and man-made world. The richness of textures, structures and forms in our environment inspire me. I look for the beauty in microscopic detail or in a large architectural structure. My methodology is consistent: I look, analyze, deconstruct, build and assemble my vision. Materials and techniques are similar in all my work, but in each piece there is a new view of my experience. My works are mostly monochromatic or achromatic to maintain the simplicity and to focus on composition and textures.

By continuing work in a series, I create a representation of my observations and recollections. I analyze while searching for answers on the co-existing of two worlds: nature and man-made.

Originally from Poland, Barbara Westman moved to the United States in 2002. She obtained a dual  Masters Degree in Fiber Arts and Printmaking from the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland (currently: University of Arts). As an Associate Professor in Fiber Art and Printmaking at Slippery Rock University, she divides her time between teaching and working on her own art. She enjoys fiber art and printmaking equally, focusing her interest in textures and  structures, whether natural or man-made into her works.

Westman’s work has been featured in numerous international  exhibitions including Incisioni al Femminile, 2017 Edition, Atelier Controsegno, Napoli, Italy; 10th Baltic Mini Textile 2016, Central Museum of Textiles, Lodź, Poland; 8th International Printmaking Biennial Douro, Portugal; 14th Lessedra World Art Print Annual, Sofia, Bulgaria; From Lausanne to Beijing and the 8th International Fiber Art Biennale, Beijing/Nantong, China. Additionally, her work has been     featured at venues throughout the US including Pittsburgh Center for The Arts; Spinning Plate Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA; Sweetwater Center for The Arts, Sewickley, PA; Kurier Plus Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Alice C. Sabatini Gallery at TSCPL, Topeka, KS; the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, NY and many others.


Rusted Structures, June Edwards

May 29 - August 2
Reception: June 1, 6-8 pm

  Carrie Furnace 2 , mixed media by June Edwards

Carrie Furnace 2, mixed media by June Edwards

My current work is an exploration of abandoned industrial architecture. The hulking, rusted forms of a decaying steel mill near Pittsburgh initially attracted my attention because they were so visually interesting. Their huge volumes coated with rich browns and grays in     pronounced textures defined by the play of light and shadow seemed to me very beautiful. The subject contained all of the elements of the language of art. The original functions of the structures captured in my photographs of the Carrie Furnace Works are overshadowed by my primary concern for manipulating the shapes, textures and color to create dynamic statements. I combine parts of many images into intricate and sometimes dimensional arrangements. The compositions in this series are partly formal in nature, but nostalgia for the past grew as the work progressed.

As an artist, my intention is to create visually compelling layered compositions, but I also want to acknowledge the labor-intensive phase of a once vibrant and powerful industry. The expressive potential became apparent while I cut and  manipulated images of the massive forms into mixed media arrangements. The buildings and structures have long lost their vitality, but I can imagine the energy that was once there – the human effort required to build and operate these abandoned industrial places. This series is like a requiem, an expression of sadness for what we once had. As I  wandered through the Carrie Furnace works I felt the soul of the place – my artwork is a tribute to what is left of old technology and function.

June Edwards holds an MFA in Painting from Brooklyn College and a BS in Art Education from Mansfield University. She has been teaching in the Art Department at Slippery Rock University since 2002, and is currently an Associate Professor. Her teaching assignments include design, digital media, painting, and drawing. She previously taught art at Peabody High School in Pittsburgh and at two schools in New York City: Graphic Communications Arts High School, and LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and the Performing Arts.

Ms. Edwards was hired as a graphic designer for Arthur Andersen in 1984, and was the Operations Manager for the Metro New York Media Center until 1987. She worked as a freelance   graphic artist at various companies in New York City and continues with freelance design work. Among other assignments, she assisted with projects for the Mr. Rogers Company, Del Monte Pet Foods, The Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, WQED Multimedia, the Entertainment Technologies Center, and the Sloan Foundation Television Project at Carnegie Mellon University.

Ms. Edwards’ artwork is a combination of painting, drawing and digital media. Her work has been exhibited in   regional, national and international galleries.