I Began with Painting: Sarah Van Keuren

Sol Mednick Gallery

Retiring Adjunct Professor Sarah Van Keuren moved from painting and drawing and all manner of printmaking into photography in search of tonal nuance that could convey lyric and sensuous ambience. Through layering in 19th century photographic processes, she found romantic expression in pinhole and digital photography. Of late, Van Keuren has returned to the directness of drawing combined with layers of casein and cyanotype. This exhibition is a mini-retrospective and survey of the various explorations her work has pursued as she pushed the envelope of alternative and legacy processes to reconsider the potential of these once mainstream processes that are now considered a return to the handmade, and one-of-kind alchemy that combines photography, printmaking, digital imaging and painting.

Sarah Van Keuren earned a BA in art history at Swarthmore College, studied printmaking for five years at the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) as a non-matriculated day student and received an MFA in Photography from the University of Delaware. A master of alternative process, she has been teaching non-silver processes at UArts since 1980 within the Fine Arts/Printmaking programs and the majority of her students have been Photography majors. Van Keuren received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching at UArts in 2003 and was Honored Educator at the Regional Society for Photographic Education conference in 2002. She's had four Venture Fund grants from UArts assisting her in the creation of A Non-Silver Manual, now in its 3rd edition, two Artist Fellowships from the Brandywine Workshop and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in Photography. She has taught workshops across the U.S. and in Finland.

Van Keuren’s exhibitions include Schmidt-Dean Gallery, Philadelphia; the Philadelphia International Airport; List Gallery, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa.; Rantagalleria, Oulu, Finland; Hollins University, Roanoke, Va.; the Philadelphia Art Alliance; Iisalmen Kamera summerfestival, Iisalmi, Finland; and a “Challenge Exhibition” at the Fleisher Arts Memorial in Philadelphia. Most recently, Van Keuren was part of a UArts exchange exhibition in Lorca, Spain. In 2009-2010, she was part of a travelling pinhole show in Poland called “American Metaphor,” had work shown in the Third Woodmere Triennial of Contemporary Photography and was included in an exhibit at the Free Library in Philadelphia titled “When Printmaking and Photography Collide. Recently she was invited to create an edition of 50 “donor prints” for the Print Center in Philadelphia. Her work was carried by John Stevenson Gallery in New York City and she has participated in numerous prestigious juried exhibitions over the years.

Van Keuren’s work has been reproduced and written about in various books and periodicals, most recently in The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes, 2nd edition by Christopher James, 2008; Pinhole Photography, 4th edition by Eric Renner, 2008; Le Sténopé de la Photographie sans Objectif by Jean Michel Galley, 2007; and the Chinese Photography magazine Photography 1, 2006. A monograph on her pinhole photography was published by the Pinhole Journal in 1997. Her work is in public collections including the Free Library of Philadelphia, the State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, the Bryn Mawr College Library, the National Museum of American Art (Smithsonian) and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has prints in the private collections of Hope Proper, Jerome Goodman and Graham Nash, among others. Schmidt-Dean Gallery in Philadelphia represents her work. Van Keuren resides and works in Yeadon, Pa.

Her printmaking work is on display in "Final Critique: Sarah Van Keuren" in the University's Printmaking Gallery from February 24 through March 22.

Reception: March 27, 4 p.m.

Above: "Flesh Is Grass."

Terra Hall
211 S Broad Street, 15th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
United States

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