Pennsylvania Dutch

On a little break from the slightly arduous finishing touches for the upcoming gallery show (Brent is tweaking some animation frame by frame and I am a welding machine!) we spent an afternoon in nearby Kutztown, home of Kutztown University (which I talked about on here a little before!) and which is also the home of a great art school scene!

The current juried Senior Fine Arts show up at the Miller Gallery of Kutztown University is diverse to say the least...! The skill level, content and media were so wide ranging it was hard to pin down but broadly speaking there did seem to be an underlying nature element going on, sort of like what I saw around Penn State recently, a kind of nostalgia for the natural world and a hunger for the raw human spirit maybe...? Either way, there were a few things that I personally loved: the woodcut lightbox of Andrea Rincon (why don't more people make wood cut lightboxes?), the wispy texture of a chandelier adorned with coffee filter made monarch butterflies by Lauren Smucker, so-and so's (your name is blurred on my camera--so sorry!) hilarious drawing made to look like a page from a high school notebook, a lot of good photographic portraiture and some three dimensional abstract work, all stood out as things whose style was coherent while also holding some sort of substance or beauty.

After touring the gallery Brent & I met up with the gallery director, Karen Stanford, and artist/professor/arts writer Dan Talley, both of which came out to the barn during our Gravity set building days way back when! Lunch with them was wonderful, both thoughtful art people who grasp the many facets of being art refreshing! Especially out here in the boonies! They are great! After lunch (which we had at a bad ass Mexican restaurant!!! An amazing rarity in the restaurant desert of rural PA!!!) Karen led us over to a student run, off campus gallery space called Eck House on the main drag of town.

The space was pretty damn perfect, an old linoleum floored storefront with zines, some art just taped up on display, the names of the work drawn in pencil on the layers of paint thickening the walls from decades of room color & semester lease changes. Like true college culture, Eck House also has a love for hardcore shows and noise violation tickets too! The art here was awesome, my favorite being this dude Shaun McNally's painting/collage of a surrealist scene (pictured above) that was just spooky, ethereal, colorful and dark enough- pretty! The other work was good too, skateboarding photos, stark black prints depicting garish news photos & pop music lyrics, cartoonish figures...lots of potential for bigger ideas and lots of artistic skill- another refreshing Kutztown space! YAY!

I hope the Kutztown kids appreciate what they have out here in the middle of nowhere! A great arts resource and a great place to grow...artistically and agriculturally for that matter- so many cow farms begging me to eat their local beef jerky and ice cream! Alright, now back to work...thanks for the break Kutztown!!!! O, and another Miller Gallery note for artists out there, they have a nice residency program that has brought a ton of seriously good contemporary art out here, the deadline for application is the end of June, check it out! And no, I am not just trying to lure you all to rural PA...well, maybe just a little...!



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.