‘(Un)familiar’: President’s Office Exhibition opens in Hamilton Hall

April 2, 2024

When UArts President Kerry Walk literally “took office” this past summer, she immediately saw the potential for an exhibition in the Office of the President. Raúl Romero, director of special projects, took it from there by curating a show of visual art by UArts community members with the theme of “(un)familiar,” which is also the name of the exhibition.

The exhibition’s opening reception will spearhead the springtime openings of other exhibitions on display in UArts’ Hamilton Hall, including the Performing Arts Photo Exhibition and the MFA Book Arts Thesis Exhibition, all to remain on display for the duration of the spring semester and beyond. (Details about the exhibitions are included below.)

(Un)familiar features 15 works by UArts students, faculty, and staff. The works on display include sculptures, printed typographic experiments, postcards, letters to the U.S. president, masks, and more.

“The theme of the exhibition—’(un)familiar’—is very personal for me, as a newcomer to UArts yet a longtime champion of the arts and arts education,” President Walk said. “Being surrounded by the work of students, faculty, and staff each day has given me a deep sense of belonging at the university, as well as an appreciation of the creativity of the UArts family."

The Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery’s Director of Exhibitions Management and Head Preparer, Michael Ciervo, installed the show, and Program Coordinator Mary Kay Kaminski contributed to the exhibition design. The works reflect the essence of UArts’ commitment to creativity, innovation, and artistic expression. “It’s a special opportunity to show the work of UArts community members together,“ Romero, who curated the exhibition, said. “It has a unique energy that reflects each artist’s creative practice and perspective.”

Associate Professor Anthony Guido’s work “Poly Glow” is about recontextualization and uses reflected light and glowing paint to transform the otherwise familiar, unassuming, mass-manufactured textures of polystyrene foam.

Art BFA student Anh Ly ’27 built a coffin-like sculpture in Associate Professor of Sculpture Michael Grothusen’s Fabrication/Mixed Media class. The coffin is filled with multicolored origami paper cranes that represent casualties in Gaza. The paper cranes were folded by Ly and fellow students, family, friends, and community members.

Grothusen also contributed work to the exhibit, in the form of two sculptures of shields with symbolic, pseudo-heraldic imagery representing the heart and resistance to fascism.

Two artists use postcards as their “(un)familiar” objects: Adjunct Professor of Photography Jaime Alvarez sees a unique relationship between the idealized image of something on the front of a postcard and personal space for self-expression on its flipside. The title of Alvarez’s work is taken from a note written on a postcard of Stonehenge. School of Art Dean Sheryl Oring’s project I Wish To Say has been active since 2004. In performances held across the country, Oring sets up an office—complete with a manual typewriter—and invites the public to dictate notes to the U.S. president, which she transcribes verbatim. In 2018, Oring made a series of 50 monoprints based on quotes from messages people dictated during the Trump campaign and presidency. A print from that series is on display for (Un)familiar.

Other works include paintings, photographic self-portraiture, textile collage, and sculptural masks.

The works featured in (Un)familiar are

Angela Riechers, program director, Graphic Design
“Printer’s Devil”

Anh Ly ’27 (Art BFA)
“The Court”

Anthony Guido, associate professor, School of Design
“Poly Glow”

Diane Pepe, associate professor, School of Art
“Memory as a Construction”

Ekaterini Arsenlis ’24 (Photography)
“Cry, Baby”

Erin Elman, dean, Graduate and Professional Studies
“Lost and Found”

Jaime Alvarez, adjunct professor, School of Art
“A Throng of Fire Worshippers”

Jon Appel, adjunct professor, School of Film
“Family Portrait”

Julie Woodard, career development advisor, Career Services
“Lost Twin Lake”

Lisbeth Bucci, adjunct professor, Graduate and Professional Studies

Michael Grothusen, associate professor, School of Art
“Right Arm Raised, Severed;” “Shield with Heart”

De León ’24 (Fine Arts)

Sergio Natal ’24 (Photography)

Sheryl Oring, dean, School of Art
“I Wish to Say”

Tamara Tarvin ’26 (Art - Interdisciplinary)
“Nobis Duo”

To celebrate the collective springtime openings of the three exhibitions, UArts will host a joint reception May 3 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Hamilton Hall, CBS Auditorium
320 S. Broad Street

Through Oct. 11


Building hours
Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Hamilton Hall, President's Office
320 S. Broad Street

MFA Books Arts Thesis Showcase

Opens April 20
Through May 16


Building hours
Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Hamilton Hall, Arronson Gallery
320 S. Broad Street

Performing Arts Photo Exhibition

Opens April 18
Through June 30


Building hours
Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Hamilton Hall, Hamilton Hall Lobby
320 S. Broad Street