Undergraduate art students open exhibition in Johnstown

"Eternal Flame" by Deanna Ansaldo (senior, art studio and psychology)


IUP art students opened the exhibition “Gyotaku” Friday at the Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center in Johnstown.

The opening drew a large crowd to admire the work submitted by IUP students and hear the art show’s winner.

Gallery curator Madelyn Barrante (senior, art studio) announced the winner, but the artist was not present to receive the prize. The piece that won was “Xenophobic,” an oil painting by Kyle Foor (senior, art studio).

Second place was “Sleepwalking,” a digital illustration by Anthony Pippetti (senior, art studio).

Students hosted an art show Friday at the Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center in Johnstown.

Third place went to “Landscape of Home,” an oil painting by Valerie Wray (sophomore, art studio).

The honorable mentions were “Tangle of Fabric” by Emily Bensinger (senior, art studio) and “Copper Brooch” by Bethany Brenchak (senior, art studio).

Many of the paintings featured in the exhibition were oil paintings, but other mediums included digital media and 3-D work, including one belt buckle made by Morgan Scalese (senior, art studio).

Most students had one or two pieces featured in the gallery, but one student, Lauren Haig (senior, art studio), had six oil paintings hung in the gallery.

Much, but not all, of the student works were for sale.

“Many of the artists who submitted work were either juniors or seniors,” Barrante said, “so I have grown with them while here at IUP.

“The growth has been substantial from all of the artists.”

Barrante was very proud of the work that was submitted, but she favored Bensinger’s “Tangle of Fabric” and Angel Steinkirchner’s (seinor, art studio) “Possum Parade” series.

“[They] have a sense of charm and freshness to them. They are both unique and technically done very well,” Barrante said.

Overall, Barrante was happy with how the show turned out and praised exhibit coordinator Todd Stiffler’s assistance with hanging the show.

“Paths Left Traveled” (left) and “Melting Pot” (right) by Brennan Brougher (junior, art studio)

“He has been able to make all the pieces, no matter how different, flow together,” Barrante said.

The jurors of the show, Ramon Riley, Eric Brennan and Brian Dumm, were not present, but spoke highly of the show and Barrante’s hard work in putting it together.

“Madelyn Barrante is doing amazing work to generate energy around the IUP arts community,” Riley said. “As her former high school teacher, I am proud of her, but I also saw it coming.”

“Eternal Flame” by Deanna Ansaldo (senior, art studio and psychology)

Riley acquired his master’s at IUP in 2013 and currently teaches art privately and at Pine-Richland High School in Gibsonia.

“IUP was so important to my develepment as an artist. The place and people remain close to heart and ever present in my thoughts,” Riley said.

Riley is currently working on pieces for his show, LOVENEVERENDING, which opens Oct. 7 at BoxHeart Gallery in Bloomfield. LOVENEVERENDING is made possible by grant funding by The Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Program, a partnership with The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments.

Dumm was also glad to be a part of this show and enjoys the diversity in the work submitted.

“I think that as a collection of work, this exhibit references the evolving possibilities in contemporary visual arts careers,” Dumm said.

Dumm and Riley also have a show at Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center called “Connections,” which is available for viewing during open hours.

Executive director Laura Argenbright of the gallery was quite impressed by the work submitted and very happy to have been a part of the show. She is also looking forward to working with the IUP art department again.

The gallery will remain available to view at Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center until April 8. Admission is $10 for members of Bottle Works and $12 for non-members.