When one thinks of the artwork displayed around the Elizabethtown College campus, what may automatically spring to mind is the work done by students. Be it the canvases in the Blue Bean, murals in the Bird Cage or those startling head sculptures burrowed in the ivy surrounding Steinman. The average student might envision the work of their peers in the places they see most frequently. There is, however, a wellspring of the visual arts at Etown by artists unknown found in unexpected places. In Leffler Chapel, the Lyet Gallery regularly holds pieces by students and local artists in all mediums. If that is too grueling of a trek, Zug Memorial Hall, universally known as the music building, regularly features local artwork in the Hess Gallery. This month, the galleries are working in tandem to present “Uncommon Bond,” a collaborative art collection. The show includes photography, paintings, drawings and ceramic and stone wall pieces, all created by five local artists. Although the mediums are mixed, a similar energy and passion unite the works into a cohesive, original display.
The five featured artists do indeed have an uncommon bond, and manage to stand out while maintaining a sense of unity within the spaces provided. “Most artists work primarily alone,” they wrote as an introduction to their Lyet Gallery show “…These five artists come together for monthly critiques. The opportunity for discussion… is an invaluable tool for growth and development… and is an inspiration to each artist.” The artists have a driving passion for their work and use this to motivate each other.
Donna Curanzy-Seltzer depicts an eerie, suburban dreamscape with her 3D photo-collage and captures intimate moments through film. Mary Hochendoner works with oil paint to create lush, botanical pieces and exotic landscapes. Beverlee Lehr’s large stone and ceramic works add a balancing tangibility to the otherwise two-dimensional exhibit. “I’m fascinated by the limitless possibilities of shape achievable in hollow clay,” she explained. Mary Lundeen’s paintings are abstract and vibrant, lending movement, and the ink drawings of Jo Margolis mesmerize with an incredible amount of intricacy and detail, seeking to “communicate simply on a visual level, without social commentary.” Visitors to the gallery are encouraged to explore and form their own opinions on the relation between the pieces and the narrative formed through them.
The exhibition was carefully crafted over the past four years between the colleagues in order to showcase a unified passion for the arts. It is refreshing to see an artistic collective create a cohesive show through an extended period of cooperation and collaboration—especially the fact that all the contributors are female does not hold the focus of the entire exhibit. “Artist” is subconsciously tied to “man,” as many gender-neutral occupations tend to be rendered by pervading societal influence.
“Uncommon Bond” is not so much a display of femininity as it is artistry, with nothing to suggest that is an exhibit solely promoting the woman artist. This is, perhaps, how it should be: the meaning and quality of the work at the forefront of attention rather than the gender of the creator. This is not to say that gender inequality is not something to be addressed—but to strive to make it a non-issue, consciously or not, is an important step.
The women have transformed Zug’s main lobby and Leffler’s upper gallery with their work. The exhibits will remain up until Oct. 22, and are worth a look for both the quality of the work as well as the variety. There will be a reception held for the artists on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 1 p.m. in the Lyet gallery as part of the homecoming weekend festivities. Come check out the exhibit and show your support for some talented local artists.