reviews, features & interviews



September 4, 2010   ·   11 Comments

Austin Lee and Katrina Mortorff, who organized the team that put on the show

Every once in a while there’s a teacher who is more than a teacher, someone who influences students in unpredictable and fantastic ways.

Frank Bramblett, photo by Roberta

Frank Bramblett, who recently retired from Tyler, is just such a person. And so, in honor of him, some of his students got together to do what they do best thanks to him. They threw him an art show.

Austin Lee and Katrina Mortorff, who organized the team that put on the show

Thanks.Frank organizers Austin Lee and Katrina Mortorff, corralled work by 33 artists (themselves included), all Frank alums, including art luminaries Trenton Doyle Hancock and Anthony Campuzano. The Lee-Mortorff production got help from their Tyler friends, too many to mention individually, but you can see the list of other participating artists at the end.

Anthony Campuzano, Double Frank, resting on a pediment at the Elkins Estate

The object of everyone’s affection, Frank, himself, was blown away, touched beyond belief. He said he was nervous when he arrived. He still looked nervous a couple of hours later. Wherever he stood on the night of the opening, Aug. 27, a receiving line of well wishers and admirers formed to hug him, shake his hand, and let them know how much he matters to them.

The opulent Elkins Estate where the show hung, on the balcony.

The show is at the barococco Elkins Estate, which is worth a visit in and of itself. The ladies who volunteer there stood watch at the drive and the door, being helpful. They told us Tuesday night was a good one for docent-led tours.

Lineup of Frank's soda cans

I liked that the tables of nibblies included Frank’s sodas–of course. Megan Bartley Matthews, who had a piece in the show, said the soda brand, which used to be a Philadelphia supermarket staple, was not so easy to track down.

Megan Bartley Matthews, who told us about the Frank's sodas

Megan was one of our students when we taught a class at Tyler with Frank. Well, really Frank taught the class, and graciously carried us when we were unsure of ourselves, which was most of the time. He never let on that we might need some help. The mix of learning from him and just being around him and seeing how his mind worked was an incomparable experience. What comes out of his mouth is elegant, complex and straight to the core of things. He could speak calmly about the encoded sex or race or violence implied in a student’s work without raising the young artist’s hackles.

Austin Lee, Face, one of the pieces in the show

So sure enough, just in case you thought he was retiring quietly, he popped one of his classic post-length comments¬† August 31(on Andrea’s post about art fakes at the National Gallery in London), just a four days after the Thanks.Frank opening reception. Now we know at least one of the things Frank will do in his retirement.

Katrina Mortorff, Phranks

The show runs to Sept. 21
1750 Ashbourne Road, (input 750 Ashbourne Road when using a GPS or online mapping service), Elkins Park, PA
Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Tuesdays 5-8 p.m.

Here’s who else was in the show:

3axap Bakc, Amy Lincoln,Alngela Washko, Arden Bendler Browning, Bridget Purcell, Christopher Ulivo, Colleen McCubbbin Stepanic Dorian Dean, Dustin Metz, Esmeralda Montes Joe Piconi, Jonathan Allmaier, Joy Payton, Julia Schwadron, Kelly McRaven, Lauren Whearty, Liz Markus, Maanik Singh, Maggie Van Scoyk, Maria Walker, Michael Ambron, Rebecca Saylor Sack, Robert Goodman, Sarah MD Kohn, Sean McBride, Stephen Pentak, Thomas Vance, and Tony Lopez. UPDATE: A couple more artists joined in last minute. They are Ryan McCartney and Liz Atzberger (per comment from Austin Lee below).

Tags: , , , , , , ,

11 Responses to “Thanks.Frank”

  1. austin lee says:

    Hi Libby! I just wanted to mention that there are two artists that weren’t on the original list but have work in the show. Ryan McCartney and Liz Atzberger.

    Also, I have photos of all of the work on my flickr account if anyone would like to take a look.


  2. This was a really special night. Frank really deserves it! Austin and Katrina (and all the participating artists) really did a great job. <3

  3. libby says:

    Thanks for sending in the added info, Austin. I’ll enter that there’s an update below!

  4. Thanks to Austin and Katrina for putting this together. Frank is simply the best teacher I’ve ever had- its really rare to meet someone so wise but also someone so generous and humble.

  5. Many thanks Libby, and to any of you that had anything to do with the event. I intend to be in contact with all of those involved. frank

    As my address book is limited, please forward your e-mail if you would like to be “invited” to my upcoming Facebook page. To do so, visit my website listed below (very dated), and send me your e-mail address.

  6. Jan Bramblett says:

    So very proud of you!!!

    We love you, Jan & Phil

  7. Mike Bramblett says:

    I am PROUD of you man!!!!!!
    Enjoy this… You earned it..
    I loved the Frank’s soda…..

  8. elise, grace, susan says:

    Congratulations on your retirement! The wonderful comments
    in the article are tributes to your love of teaching and your
    devotion to your students over the years. You make a difference
    in the lives of everyone you touch. We love you, dear cousin!

    Elise, Grace and Susan Bramblett

  9. D.C. Rhoden says:

    The exhibit looked great. Looks like it was a great party. One that you well deserved. I am glad that the students responded in such an appreciative manner. You really deserve all the accolades you received and many many more. You are appreciated by others of us who still live “down south”. Congratulations on your retirement and all the other good things. I am certain that you don’t really know the meaning of the word: Retirement; but make the best of it and enjoy your family and do lots of fun things you want to do. We all love you. Best wishes and many Blessings!!

  10. janice bramblett hea says:

    Congratulations! How proud I am to be your cousin. Hope you find time for a visit to Georgia. Your dad, uncle Frank, would be so happy. As I know aunt Sybil is. Hope you will enjoy your retirement. You must all come to visit. God Bless You. We love you all. Hugh and Janice

  11. I loved the exhibit! As a student of Franks years back I could see and remember the subtle vibe of what it is to be in a class or in a studio just talking about art with Frank. His work, and the art in this exhibit made me feel that each act of art making is one done as a beginning to a new day. Thanks to the alums for inspiring me with your work and Thank you Frank for being such a great teacher and friend.

Leave a Reply