Alumni Gallery

The Alumni Gallery exhibits works by alumni from all of PAFA’s matriculating programs. By building connections between PAFA’s alumni and current students, these exhibitions highlight the histories, lineages, and legacies shared by the school community.

Located within the Historic Landmark Building, the Alumni Gallery offers a contemporary view of PAFA’s longstanding traditions in art-making and is always free and open to the public.

Browse some opening reception photographs: 

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A selection of work by acclaimed painter and PAFA alumnus Moe Brooker

The Alumni Gallery is pleased to present Moe Brooker: The Evidence of Things Not Seen.

Moe Brooker’s compositions are informed by discovery, invention, and the process of “making visible,” revealing relationships between color and form, emotion and intellect, and faith in the divine and the human condition. He is interested in overlaying fields of space, shapes and calligraphic lines, all unified by a sense of cosmic exuberance.

Listening to jazz and gospel is a part of his daily painting routine, as is returning to his work every day. “When you paint every day there is an understanding of the work, and the painting is receptive. When you step away from a painting for several days and try to return to it, the painting closes," he says. "You’ve got to work very hard to open that painting up so that it’s receptive again.”

Opening reception : February 9, 2012, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Works by two PAFA alumni: sculptor Stephen Layne and painter Carrie Mae Smith An exhibition of new work by two acclaimed PAFA alumni: Stephen Layne ('94) and Carrie Mae Smith ('05).

Both artists have been the recipient of the Pennsylvania Governor's Award.

Landscape and still life paintings inspired by alumna Susan Van Campen's home state of Maine

Landscape and still life paintings inspired by alumna Susan Van Campen’s (Cert. '74) home state of Maine.

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A group exhibition commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Brandywine Workshop The Alumni Gallery presents Multiples, a group exhibition of work comemorating the 40th anniversary of the Brandywine Workshop, an organization committed to promoting and evolving printmaking as a fine art through collaboration and training.

The artists featured in Multiples use all forms of printing techniques, including etching, woodcut, lithography, collagraph, digital media and mixed printing media. Notable PAFA alums who worked with the Brandywine Workshop include Moe Brooker and James Brantley. This year's show was juried by Allan Edmunds, Director of the Brandywine Workshop, PAFA faculty member Ron Wyfells, and former faculty member Peter Paone.

"This year's exhibition not only highlights the tradition of the Brandywine Workshop, but celebrates the accomplishments our alums have achieved in printmaking," says Tish Ingersoll, manager of PAFA's Alumni Gallery. "The show presents a great range of artistic offerings by alumni spanning the last 60 years, including Amaranth Ehrenhalt ('51), who wrote a feature article in the September 2012 issue of Vogue magazine, chronicling her days as a struggling young artist in 1950s Paris."

Other PAFA alumni with work in the exhibition include: Alyse Bernstein, Nancy Citrino, John Formicola, James Hamilton, Lisa Hamilton, Michael Kowbuz, Millicent Krouse, Tony Lazorko, Lisa B. Lentz, Lesa Chittenden Lim, Heather McMordie, Samantha Mitchell, Kaitlin Pomerantz, Rita Reisser, Lindsay Robbins, Dori Spector, Shirley Steele,and Julie Zahn.

Opening reception: Thursday, December 6, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

The Alumni Gallery presents Morris Blackburn: PAFA Modernist, Works 1939-1949.

The Alumni Gallery is pleased to present Morris Blackburn: PAFA Modernist, Works 1939-1949.

Morris Blackburn attended PAFA from 1925 to 1929, where he studied with Arthur Carles, Henry McCarter and Daniel Garber and won PAFA’s prestigious Cresson Traveling Scholarship. In 1936, he began taking private classes with Arthur Carles. At this time, Blackburn said: “It was Carles who impressed me with the deep sense of the importance of being a painter”. It was during this period that Blackburn’s paintings and prints evolved into abstraction.

The work on view in the Alumni Gallery represents his work starting in the 1930s through the 1940s. In addition to his work as a painter, he is well known for his accomplishments as an etcher, engraver and lithographer.

He is represented in public collections including Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Butler Institute of American Art, the Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, the Clearwater Museum, the United States State Department, Free Library of Philadelphia, Woodmere Art Museum, Pennsylvania State University, Library of Congress, Childe Hassam Fund-University of Montana, Fleisher Art Memorial, Friends Central School, and the New Jersey State Museum.

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Paintings from Bodu Yang's museum interior series, which focus on the relationship between art, space, and perception

The Alumni Gallery presents a selection of oil paintings by recent PAFA alumna Bodu Yang.

A native of China, Yang completed her MFA from PAFA in 2012. In 2011, Yang was the recipient of the Justine Cretella Memorial Scholarship. In 2012, she won the Fellowship Trust Prize for her outstanding presentation in PAFA’s Annual Student Exhibition.

Yang's work was featured in the inaugural exhibition at the Wanwan Lei Projects Gallery in New York. There, Yang's work was described as "depart[ing] from the 'art scene' mentality that renders contemporary art both exciting and problematic, and transports viewers to an isolated environment where viewing an artwork is a private activity in an entirely public space."

Of her work, Yang says: “I am a painter and I use appropriation for my main subject…My appropriation works expose how I understand art—not just for what it is, but through how it is transformed by different media. I revisit these moments and through my process rediscover the value of the relationship between artworks and exhibition places.”

An exhibition of work exploring the complexities and energies of human nature

The Alumni Gallery presents Euphoria: New Paintings by Carla Falb, an exhibition of work which explores the complexities and energies of human nature through paintings of roller coasters and night clubs.

Carla Falb (Cert. ’83) began her Roller Coaster Series in 2002, exploring the layers of metaphorical meanings based on the various coasters’ physical structures, sudden turns, extreme drops and cyclical ride.

“I was inspired by the legend of J.M.W. Turner tied to the mast of a ship to experience a storm at sea so he could infuse the memory of his physical and emotional sensations into his paintings,” says Falb. “Roller coasters are a distinctive product of our American culture, reflecting our desire for ecstatic experiences, as well as symbolizing the energy and complexity of our lives.” All of Falb’s work in the exhibition is based on the artist’s direct experience, riding in the front car of the coaster and taking photos or videos to use as source material.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy the Roller Coaster Series has taken on new significance. “I was well into this new series, working on All-American Girl, based on my video images from a burlesque club in Atlantic City, when Sandy hit the New Jersey coast,” Falb says. The home of Falb’s mother in Long Beach Island filled with water and for two weeks after the hurricane, her family lived in shelters. Upon learning that the Jet Star roller coaster was destroyed in the storm, along with much of the Seaside Heights boardwalk, Falb decided that she had one more roller coaster to paint.

Falb has had solo and group shows in numerous galleries such as Gallery Siano in Philadelphia,, the Noyes Museum in Oceanville, N.J., The Preston Contemporary Art Center in Las Cruces, N.M., and the Belanthi Gallery in New York. Her roller coaster paintings were published in New American Paintings in 2004 and 2009. In 2009, Falb received a Dodge Foundation Visual/Educator Fellowship to work on her roller coaster paintings in Los Angeles.

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A collection of new landscape paintings by PAFA alumnus David Brewster ranging from industrial scenes to rural subjects

The Alumni Gallery at PAFA presents a collection of new landscape paintings by PAFA alumnus David Brewster ranging from industrial scenes to rural subjects.

In Confluence: New Paintings by David Brewster, the artist features his theatrical interiors and landscapes in one swift pass, with the graphic urgency of improvisational responses informing the energy of the mark. Central to his visual literacy is an enlightened response to nature, emphasizing a maximum of imagination and a minimum of intrusion.

Reminiscent of De Kooning's Action Paintings, Brewster applies gestural color strokes using paint rollers, rags, brushes, and his hands, wiping out paintings repeatedly before finishing. "My paintings sit within a tradition the French call premier coup, meaning 'all at once.' They are most often executed in one swift stroke," Brewster says.

Of his artistic process, Brewster explains: "I used to be dependent on brushes, but I've all but abandoned them because I now prefer to paint with my hands-both bare-handed and with latex gloves-and with rollers. I can achieve enormous initial coverage with my paint rollers, without the distracting, horizontal, furrowed marks left by brushstrokes. Using every aspect of my hand and fingers as a tool, I can apply and direct paint with a great sense of purpose and control."

Brewster has been the recipient of many awards, including Pollack-Krasner and Taconic Berkshire Grants. He has been awarded fellowships at the Ballinglen Arts and the Klots Foundation, and has completed commissions for the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and Vermont State House. His work is represented in private and museum collections, including PAFA, the Berman Museum, The Orton Foundation, Princeton University Art Museum, the Pennsylvania State Museum, the Wharton School of Business, and the W.P. Carey School of Business at Johns Hopkins University.

The public opening reception will be held on Friday, September 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Alumni Gallery. Brewster will discuss his work during a slide lecture on November 1, 6-7:30 p.m. at PAFA.

In conjunction with the exhibit, PAFA's Continuing Education department will host a two-day Alla Prima Workshop with David Brewster on November 2-3.

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Recent work by PAFA alumni Read Lockhart, Mary McCann, and Tiffany Tate, recipients of the 2015 MFA Faculty Exhibition Award

feast famine is a collection of encounters. It examines accumulation and the pivotal relationship between a solitary experience and the collective, symbiotic whole. Fragments prompt desire and an endless hunt for balance, offering an immersive mirage. Cycles in nature, the oscillation between abundance and deprivation, and intuitive behavior prompt us to consider: At what point do two perimeters begin to encircle one another?

D. Read Lockhart was born in Lake Bluff, Illinois. He is the son of photographer, woodworker, and designer David L. Lockhart, and the grandson of the late American wildlife painter James Lockhart. After receiving a bachelor of arts degree in the classics from St. John's College in 2000, Read spent years traveling and living abroad before choosing to continue in the visual arts tradition of his father and grandfather before him and received his MFA from PAFA in 2014. Read studied drawing and painting through a series of apprenticeships in Florence, Italy and New York. He currently lives in Philadelphia and says his work "celebrates the rich tradition of narrative painting, reawakening iconic and nuanced devices from from the past, however, with a departure. Within each scene, a collaboration between the figures is implied, though they fail to truly interact and relate."

Mary McCann was born in Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, and lived throughout U.S. military bases in the south as well as in Seoul, Korea. Her works range in a variety of media from sculpture, drawing, and painting. She received her BFA from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an MFA from PAFA in 2014. She currently lives and works in the Philadelphia area. McCann states that "the moment of metamorphosis is paramount to my work, provoking a process of building and transformation. The work is framed with humor, lightness to a dark situation inviting the viewer to examine their own approach to cycles of highs and lows. There is a compulsion for balance from one terminus to another."

Tiffany Tate is from Springfield, Illinois. She received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Printmaking in 2010 and a Bachelor’s of Art in Art History in 2012, both from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. In 2014, she completed her Master of Fine Arts at PAFA. Tate has exhibited work in cities including New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. She currently lives and works in Philadelphia. Tate says she works with subjects that "present confrontations through their relationship to the viewer via scale and spatial orientation. Through this confrontation, I hope to reveal a mental space where physical landscapes become equated to internal ones and the desire to touch, look, discover, and relate reconfirms the symbiotic nature and desire for intimacy between the viewer and the work and consequently, the viewer and their worldly surroundings, both animate and inanimate."

Jenny Kanzler and Catherine Mulligan's work draws on memories of childhood fear and uncertainty The exhibition focuses on the work of Jenny Kanzler (MFA ’05) and Catherine Mulligan (Cert. ’09), who draw on real and unreal memories and the fears and uncertainties of childhood.

Jenny Kanzler's world can be seen through the lens of her childhood memories and her preoccupation with real and imagined experiences. Kanzler creates a dialogue through her depictions of conflicts between her characters. Often tragic and comic at the same time, Kanzler’s works are rife with anxious overtones but are painted with delicacy and sensitivity. Kanzler lives and works in Virginia.

Catherine Mulligan delves into the meaning of her intentions in each painting not by overanalyzing her subjects but by exploring through paint where her feelings lead her. Her work is visceral and highly charged with ambiguity, creating mystery around the most commonplace objects. Mulligan is the recipient of many awards and is featured in the Woodmere Art Museum’s permanent collection.

A juried exhibition of over 50 works in 12 x 12 inch format created by 34 PAFA alumni An annual juried exhibition of over 50 works in 12 x 12 inch format created by 34 PAFA undergraduate and graduate alumni from the 1950s through 2012.

Twelve X Twelve features a colorful range of representational and abstract works, including drawings, oils, acrylics, watercolors, and mixed media. Included are portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and photographs.

Featured artists include: Beth Clark; Patrick Crofton; Lisa Chittenden Lim; Polly Davis Chalfont; Paul DuSold; Mark Fields; John Formicolo; Susan Fox; Jim Hamilton; Hilarie Hawley; Susan Howard; Todd Keyser; Rita Klinger; Lisa Lentz; Emily Brett Lukens; Nicole Michaud; Anne Minich; Helen Mirkil; Mary Powers Holt; Doug Randall; Robert Sampson; Barbara Schaff; Lois Schlachter; Antoinette F. Seymour; David Shevlino; Peter Smyth; Michelle Soslau; Dori Spector; Shirley Steele; Margo Tassi; Elizabeth Wilson; Ruth Wolf; Julie Zahn; and Dganit Zauberman.

An exhibition of studio work by three distinguished PAFA alumni and mural artists

The PAFA Alumni Gallery presents an exhibition of studio work by three distinguished alumni and mural artists in A Question of Scale: Paintings by Three Muralists – Jon Laidacker, Charles Newman and Thomas Walton.

A Question of Scale, held in conjunction with PAFA’s special exhibition, Beyond the Paint: Philadelphia’s Mural Arts, highlights the significance of mural-making on the artists’ creative practices. Included are landscapes, portraits and still lifes, as well as digital paintings and video.

The three artists have collaborated on various murals throughout Philadelphia, including the 85,000-square foot How Philly Moves (2011) project at Philadelphia International Airport – the Mural Arts Program’s most ambitious project to date. The large-scale mural transforms the airport’s parking garage into a welcoming and vibrant gateway to the region for travelers. Jon Laidacker led the team of participating muralists, which included Tom Walton and Charles Newman, as well as volunteers from Germantown.

Of his work, Laidacker has said: “The technique and process are really important to me when I am working on a project because I try to think of these large-scale projects so much as a graphic design or a produced piece of art. Anytime I am working on the various aspects of a mural, I harken back to color theory and things that we learned in our seminar classes (at PAFA). So just trying to put that more intense conceptual thought into my work is probably how my PAFA experience influenced me the most.”

Opening reception: Friday, January 31, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Gallery talk: Sunday, February 23, 12 p.m.

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Ted Walsh's work explores elements of place, memory, environment and history

Ted Walsh (MFA '11) exhibited his newest paintings in Spaces Passed Through: New Paintings by Ted Walsh, in the Alumni Gallery of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA). Walsh’s landscapes and have a quiet presence that draws the viewer into his world of solitary buildings, and solitary figures in landscape. His depictions of everyday scenes are imbued with atmosphere and light. On looking at his work one is reminded of one’s own memories of places and experiences. Ted works primarily as a realist painter inspired by such American greats as Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper.

New work by alumni Stephanie Beck, Stanley Bielen, and Nicole Michaud

The PAFA Alumni Gallery presents new work by Stephanie Beck (MFA '07), Stanley Bielen (Cert. '80), and Nicole Michaud (Cert. '12).

Stephanie Beck’s work is inspired by structures in spaces, and the changes that take place over time as we move through them. She will be exhibiting several sculptural pieces made out of white paper that can be construed as buildings, or building blocks that she uses to illustrate human frailties.

Stanley Bielen’s contemplative still life and landscape paintings convey a subtle infusion of light and texture. Bielen's work is part of the collections of the Hirshorn Museum, CBS Television and Goldman Sachs. He was the recipient of the 2003 Fred and Naomi Hazell Faculty Fellowship at the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. His work has been exhibited at The Harrison Gallery; Great River Arts Institute, Brattleboro, Vermont; and the National Academy of Design, New York.

Nicole Michaud’s paintings and mixed media pieces are intimate landscapes imbued with color and energy. Michaud was the 2011 recipient of the Benjamin West Prize - Special Notice, and the Second Place recipient of the 2009 Susan Eakins McDowell Figure Painting Competition at PAFA. She also holds a master's degree in environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

A PAFA teacher and alumnus investigates the variations of light, texture and atmosphere found in New York, Philadelphia, Venice, and Bermuda

Toogood's work has been the subject of over 40 solo exhibitions with galleries including Rosenfeld Gallery in Philadelphia, and Windjammer Gallery and Desmond Fountain Gallery, both in Hamilton, Bermuda. His work has appeared in museum solo exhibitions at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art in Hamilton, Bermuda, and Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia. Other exhibitions include the National Academy of Design, the Butler Institute of American Art, the Bermuda National Gallery, the Coos Art Museum and the Taiwan International Watercolor Society.

The Alumni Gallery presents an exhibition of recent works on paper by Emily Brown and photographs by Will Brown  

Artists’ talk: Wednesday, March 16, 2016

6:00 - 7:30 p.m.: free by RSVP to the Continuing Education Office at 215-972-7632 or online

Will Brown and Emily (Scott) Brown met as students in PAFA's coordinated BFA program. Though they have shared many projects, they do not collaborate on their art work. This is the first time the Browns, who divide their time between Philadelphia and Montville, Maine, have shown together.

Will Brown has had a long career photographing art, artifacts and architectural spaces. The Picture that Remains, a book featuring his photographs from the 1970s and poems by Thomas Devaney, was published in 2014. He is represented by Laurence Miller Gallery, New York.

Schooled in painting at PAFA, Will Brown is a self-taught photographer. His early 1970s photography was rediscovered in 2009 and shown as part of an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A feature followed in 2014 in The New York Times. Most recently, his focus has been on photographing horse troughs, springs, bramble and other subjects.

Emily Brown has painted en plein air for decades and bases much of her art work on commonly experienced textures and surfaces in the natural world, using a variety of materials, formats, scales, sizes and papers. She discusses her work in a video interview here.

Ranging in height from 15 to 50 inches, most of her drawings in the exhibition are ink wash: a material which has fascinated the artist for 20 years. Several incorporate line etchings; one includes words by William Penn, while another features a horse and rider in motion as photographed by Eadweard Muybridge. A freestanding piece, a 6-foot Sonotube, celebrates the Schuykill Waterworks.

Emily Brown currently teaches in the Continuing Education department at PAFA. To take a class with her, click here.

An exploration in paint and mixed media of familiar foods through an unfamiliar lens

Carb Load features Jennifer Coates' (BFA '95) recent series of food paintings in which each item is presented in a centrally focused composition, whether hovering in abstract space, on a plate, or wrapped in foil. The foods include nachos, bagels, slices of bread, s'mores, pasta, and popsicles, among other things.

Coates says of her work, "Painting everyday American foods in all their processed, synthetic, gooey glory provides an opportunity to explore the material potential of paint, as well as an opportunity to comment on the over-abundance of choices in the capitalist consumer economy and a sense of nostalgia about many of these foods, as they are affiliated with childhood memories and perhaps a more innocent period in American culture when the strange architecture of processed foods represented joy more than complicity in the degradation of the biosphere (not to mention the gut)."

In her work, a slice of bread becomes a stand-in for the canvas as the condiments become paintings within paintings. Abstract Expressionist styles are explored within a Pop Art context.

"When one prepares bread for eating, smearing goo on it with a knife, it does not just satisfy hunger," Coates says. "The act is replete with aesthetic decisions: How much of the bread will show through? In what proportion will different spreads interact?"

Sharon Butler at Two Coats of Paint says that Coates “vivifies extreme close-ups of ordinary but unhealthy food like corned beef sandwiches, mac 'n' cheese, and candy bars with expressive, endearingly awkward paint handling. ... Her work evokes our often irrepressible embrace of bad food: we eat it because it tastes so good, and then hate ourselves for doing so. Why does food have so much power over us?”

Examining the variety of ways in which art can work as a catalyst for change, within individuals as well as institutions Ben Volta (Certificate '02) creates intricate public murals and sculptures, working at the intersection of education, restorative justice, and urban planning. His practice stands on the belief that art can be a catalyst for change, within individuals as well as the institutional structures that surround them.

His exhibition in the Alumni Gallery at PAFA will draw from multiple projects created with students and recently incarcerated youth throughout the city. These projects use a collaborative drawing process to generate complex wholes that are more than the sum of their parts.

Installations like “We Are All Neurons” and “Celestial Cascade” combine biological forms like neurons and plant life into visual ecosystems. “Amplify” takes human-created forms—architectural ornaments, wheels, chandeliers—and uses them to express music, exposing their inner harmonies; “Frequencies” takes a direct look at the abstract geometric patterns that fascinate and animate our brains. “Micro to Macro” explores the interplay of all these levels of pattern: from abstract geometry, through atoms and cells, to plants and planets.

The murals incorporate this layering process within their physical material on as many levels as possible: site, scale, line, color, and collage. These formal considerations are underwritten with conceptual concerns that explore layers of social, historical and political context. The interplay between intention and chance—pattern and improvisation—underlies all stages of the process.

Highlighting the influence PAFA's foundry has had on its alumni, and honoring those who have been stewards and promoters of the tradition

Opening reception: Wednesday, November 30, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

An exhibition highlighting the influence PAFA's foundry has had on its alumni, and honoring those who have been stewards and promoters of the tradition. Featuring work by 17 artists, from recent graduates to influential faculty member Gary Weisman, illustrating the breadth and depth of PAFA-trained sculptors' work as well as the tight-knit artistic community forged through the foundry.

Artists tied to PAFA's foundry have gone on to form their own businesses and collectives, collaborate on a wide variety of projects, and freely share their knowledge and skills with successive generations of PAFA sculptors. Artists whose work is on view in this exhibition are:

Kate Brockman

Zach Kainz

Sarah Peters

Stephen Donahue

Joshua Koffman

Katherine Stanek

Pavel Efremoff

Stephen Layne

Julia Stratton

Ward Tom Elicker

Julia Levitina

Shane Stratton

Chad Fischer

Elisabeth Nickles

Gary Weisman

John Greig Jr.

George Nista