An innovative crowd of Tyler School of Art alumni gathered for the opening reception of its “Works on paper” collection – the third installment of the Victory for Tyler exhibition. The event was held at the Crane Arts Ice Box Project Space in Northern Liberties, April 9 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“Works on paper” hung wall-to-wall and covered most of the two rooms arranged to showcase the artwork. The collection was divided into two categories: works on paper and posters. Projects ranged in every concept from a colossal brown paper bag to the first-prize winning credit card mosaic, “World Map.’ The exhibition series began in 2007 and focused on painting.
A second exhibition focused on sculpture in 2009. Tyler alumni reminisced about their time at Temple and discussed their involvements since. Nancy Citrino, a Tyler 1985 alumna, has been involved with Victory for Tyler since its early days.
“I have been part of the Victory for Tyler Alumni Exhibitions since we first started the shows in 2007,” Citrino said. “I love the energy and commitment the people have who work on this exceptional event.” Citrino focused many of her post-graduate credits in printmaking at Tyler and helped with student exhibitions. She also studied abroad at Temple’s Rome Campus, where she pulled more than 250 monotype prints. “It was an experience I try to relive every day,” Citrino said.
After graduation, she taught art classes at schools in Philadelphia, mentored pre-service teachers from art programs around the city and has continued to create artworks of her own out of her home in South Philadelphia.
Citrino’s most recent work has been reflective of her time in Rome. She has one piece in the “Works on paper” exhibition called “A Man of Reason.” “He is a faceless wonder,” Citrino said. In the center of the second room, a colossal brown paper bag was showcased with its creator drawing inside from on top of a stepladder throughout the course of the exhibition. Barefooted and hard at work, Chris Golas, a Tyler 2006 alumnus, focused on drawing his way out of a paper bag. “Someone once told me I couldn’t draw my way out of a paper bag – this is me responding,” Golas said.
Covered in charcoal, when asked why he was working barefoot, Golas responded, “I didn’t want to get my socks dirty.”
After graduating from Tyler with a degree in jewelry, Golas decided he wanted to expand his art to other forms. He, like Citrino, also studied at TU Rome and traveled throughout Europe during his time in school. In 2007, he showcased paintings in the first Victory for Tyler exhibition, as well as a group project in the sculpture exhibition in 2009. Golas now has a fulltime day job but continues to create artwork on the side.
Bringing up the rear was first-prize winning artist Amy Orr, a Tyler 1989 alumna. Orr received a Masters of Fine Arts in fibers at Tyler, after pursuing her undergraduate studies in Jerusalem, Israel, where she studied fine arts.
“I would have to say my favorite memory from Temple was a class road trip my instructor took us on up to Lake George,” Orr said. “Our trip was about two days long, and we stopped and saw different fibers all along the way.” Her “World Map” exhibit featured a map of the world created out of what she called “credit card mosaics.”
The map didn’t lack a single detail, and she was sure to include every country, no matter how tiny, in different small colored fragments of cutup credit cards. Orr won first prize for her piece at the opening of the exhibition.
“Eventually, I would like to do commissions for banks with my credit card mosaics,” Orr said. “Next, I am going to create another mosaic map of just the United States.”
Orr is currently a full-time artist working out her in-home studio in West Philly. She is also working on a project called FiberPhiladelphia, which will be presented around this time of next year. As the clock stuck 9 p.m. and the exhibition drew to a close, all in attendance were left with smiles on their faces. Victory for Tyler’s “Works on paper” exhibition will run from now until April 24.
Sarah Scarpa can be reached at email@example.com.