Department of Art Alumni

MFA Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Spring 2013

Lectures will take place at 11:00 a.m. in Viewing Room 1
in the basement of White Hall, midtown campus.

Nancy Stahl, Illustrator
Tuesday, January 22

Nancy Stahl is a highly recognized illustrator who was recently inducted into the 2012 Hall of Fame of the Society of Illustrators.  She studied at the Art Center College of Design in California, and then moved to New York City, where she still resides, to begin her freelance career in 1971.  She continued her studies at The School of Visual Arts and Parsons School of Design, and over the past decades, her work has become woven into our culture. 

In describing her creative process, Stahl spoke about a stamp design for the USPS.  “For the 2007 Christmas stamps, I was told only to do something non-religious that would be warm and cozy.  I began drawing angels, elves, ribbons, and kept sketching various holiday items.  At one point, I thought of mittens and then cropped in closer and closer until it became just the knitted motifs.  Knitting is a passion so I was excited to knit my final art in that case.”  Stahl’s assignments have ranged from editorial to packaging, to corporate identity, postage stamps and television commercials; they have brought her work into the mainstream of our everyday visuals.


James Grashow, Sculptor, Mixed Media, Graphics
Tuesday, February 5

James Grashow was born in Brooklyn and received his BFA and MFA from Pratt Institute.  After his BFA, he was awarded a Fulbright Travel Grant to Florence, Italy, for painting and graphics.  Creating works that address themes of man, nature and mortality, he has been represented by the Alan Stone Gallery since 1966.

Grashow is a renowned artist who creates in multiple forms.  The scale of his work ranges from large environmental installations to delicate, small constructions.  He is also well known for his powerful woodcuts.  His prints have appeared regularly in The New York Times and virtually every periodical throughout the country.

Last spring, his “Corrugated Fountain” was exhibited at the Aldrich Museum.   Built from cardboard and spanning 17 x 25 x 30 feet, it was inspired by the    Trevi Fountain in Rome.  It had traveled since 2007 for exhibitions in this country before coming to the Aldrich, where it was placed outdoors to deteriorate by nature’s design.  From start to finish, this sculptural project was documented by Olympia Stone in her film The Cardboard Bernini. “Making a fountain out of cardboard is absurd, an oxymoron”, says Grashow.  “It is a perfect poetic message.  All things have a lifetime.”    


Jennifer Samet, Art Historian, Critic, Curator
Tuesday, February 19

Jennifer Samet is an art historian, curator and writer, based in New York City.  She received a BA from Barnard and a PhD from The Graduate Center, CUNY, with her dissertation entitled “Painterly Representation in New York, 1945-1975”.  She has curated major exhibitions on the history of the New York Studio School and the Jane Street Group.  Previously she was the director of the Center for Figurative Painting in NYC, and also an associate at Hirschl and Adler Modern.

Samet is currently a professor of art history at the City University of New York.  She also co-directs a gallery on the lower east side, Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects.  Her writings have been published in Hyperallergic, Master Drawings, ArtNet Magazine, the New York Sun, and numerous exhibition catalogues.  Especially interested in the voice of the artist, she has lectured at universities on the subject of “The Role of Empathy in Art”.  She has published in-depth interviews with many artists, recently with Rackstraw Downes last October during his solo exhibition at the Betty Cuningham Gallery.    


Hugh O’Donnell, Painter, Mixed-media
Thursday, March 21

Hugh O’Donnell was born in London in 1950.  After receiving his graduate degree, he was awarded the Japanese Monbusho Scholarship and studied monumental screen painting in Kyoto.  In 1980 at the age of 30, he was included in an exhibition “British Art Now” at the Guggenheim Museum.  By 1983 he was represented at Marlborough Gallery.  He moved to the U.S. in 1987. 

O’Donnell’s work is in numerous collections, notably the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, MOMA, the National Gallery, Albright Knox, Walker Arts Center, the Aldrich, and the Victoria and Albert in London.  He has received many awards and commissions for paintings, digital art and book designs.  “Speaking to the Earth” is a site-specific digital print mural, commissioned by Deloitte & Touche for their NYC global office.  “Circle of Life” is a ten mural digital artwork commissioned by NYU Medical Center for their cardiovascular unit.        

He is Professor of Painting at Boston University since 1996, where he was former Chair of Undergraduate Painting.  He has also taught at the NY Studio School, University of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.  He was one of the founding advisory board members of the MFA program at WCSU. 


Don Kimes, Painter
Friday, April 5

Don Kimes divides his time between Washington, DC, Chautauqua, NY, and Italy.  Since 1993 he has worked extensively in Umbria.  In a 1996 catalogue essay, Kimes wrote that Italy affords the opportunity “to think about culture, nature and the passage of time.”  Nearly ten years ago, a flood destroyed his home, studio and much of his work. “It was like the record of my existence had been erased”, he said. “Nature took everything back, but my work is now based on those destroyed images. Through them, color, form and structure combine with nature, time, memory and rebirth. But that’s what my work always sought. It’s just more clear now."

Kimes’ work has been exhibited in galleries and museums that include Denise Bibro, Kouros Gallery, NY Studio School, National Academy of Design, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of American Art, National Academy of Sciences, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. 

Since 1986, Kimes has been Artistic Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution.  He has been Professor of Art at American University since 1988, where he was department chair for eleven years.  He was the founder and director of the American University MFA program in Italy, and in 2004, received the AU award for “Outstanding Contributions to Academic Development”.  He is a member of the Advisory Board of the MFA program at WCSU. 


Susan Jane Walp, Painter
Tuesday, April 23

Susan Jane Walp received a BA with distinction and honors in painting from Mount Holyoke College.  She also studied at the New York Studio School, Skowhegan, and Brooklyn College.  She is a recipient of numerous awards, among them the Benjamin Altman Prize from the National Academy of Design in NY, the American Academy of Arts and Letter award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Her luminous, exquisitely balanced still-lifes reflect a contemplative serenity.  They move beyond their humble objects to implications of transcendence.  In an interview with Larry Groff, Walp said "the concentration of working from observation can be similar to a meditation practice. And perhaps with still life, even more so than working from the figure or landscape, the distractions are reduced to a minimum; the objects are still, can’t engage you in conversation, don’t need to take breaks, aren’t subject to changing weather."

Represented by Tibor de Nagy Gallery in NYC, Walp has had extensive exhibitions in the U.S. since 1974.  She has been a visiting artist and lecturer at numerous art schools, including the Vermont Studio Center, the New York Studio School, Dartmouth, Swarthmore, Haverford, and Brooklyn College.

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