Students look at Old City art


These posts were submitted by Collette Copeland‘s students at the University of Pennsylvania. They were done after February First Friday and one of the shows (Muse) has already closed. But we think it’s worth getting up for the record.

Posted by Jamie Rosen

Installation shot of teapots at the Clay Studio

Making tea in anything less than a genuine Yixing [yee-shing] teapot is
like drinking pinot noir out of a burger king soda cup. Tea is the
distillation of Mother Nature’s love for us; hot water is the medium
and a Yixing teapot is the vessel in which you mix tealeaves and hot

Yixing Teapot

Yixing Teapots: Beyond Tradition, curated by Xioping Luo and Junya
Shao, offers a terrific show of contemporary teapots, which reference
ancient traditions dating back to the Sung Dynasty. The exhibit
displays the work of many Chinese contemporary artists, such as Meiping
Jiang, Junya Shao, Liping Jiang, Lifang Ding, Hongiie Cao, Xiaoping
Luo, Xiaozhong Luo and Chunqiang Qiao, whose work includes figurative
sculpture, relief sculpture and modern expressions of Yixing teapots.
The artists not only produce replicas of old pots, but also continually
create new and innovative designs inspired by many aspects of Chinese

Hongiie Cao little hatchet teapot

Many of the artists featured serve long apprenticeships under
the masters of the trade. Due to the magnesium, silica and iron
content in the zisha clay, this delicate art form naturally takes on
lustrous hues of cinnabar red, light buff and purple. The clay needs no
glaze allowing the color to shine through as well as making for a
better cup of tea. The special clay from which the teapots are made
retains both flavor and heat. It is said that if you use a Yixing
teapot for many years, you can brew tea by simply boiling how water in
the pot. Many of the Yixing teapots reflect the contemporary themes of
Chinese culture by fashioning them into millions of different shapes.
Some seem to have sprung from a rock or a tree; some mimic the shapes
of animals; and some are even nonfigurative and quirky. But best of
all, next to a flat panel LCD TV, a Yixing teapot manages to appear
timeless and even complimentary.
The Clay Studio
To Mar. 2

Posted by Catherine Coogan
The exhibit at the Artists’ House Gallery this Friday featured the work of Gregory Watson, Ben Johnson, Abby Heller-Burnham, and Jennifer Maghan White. Divided into four rooms featuring each of the artists, the exhibit differed drastically in style, from Watson’s oil paintings of ghostly figures, to Johnson’s precise, photographic oil portraits of birds, Heller-Burnham’s somber oil paintings of 19th century bystanders, to White’s patterned prints of objects and birds.

Watson’s portraits are striking, portraying ghostly white figures against an indefinite, dreary background. His portraits of small children are particularly creepy, suggestive of some dreadful fate that awaits his subjects.

Gregory Watson “The Governess”

Abby Heller-Burnham features late 19th century subjects, almost always staring directly at the viewer. The eye contact is unnerving, as if the audience is witnessing a secret discourse between the subjects.

Abby Heller-Burnham “The Lost Twins”

Ben Johnson’s work is remarkable for the photographic quality in his oil paintings. It is possible to see the detail in every feather close up, closer than you could ever hope to witness in real life.

ben johnson.jpg
Ben Johnson “Tern”

Jennifer Maghan White’s prints seem to be cheerful until closer inspection, the bright blues and reds of her work camouflage the conflict in her prints. Pieces such as “War” and “Torn Apart” featuring birds surrounded by arrows, or birds pulling a worm apart.

Jennifer Maghan White “Drowning”
Jennifer Maghan White “Drowning”

The overarching theme of this exhibit was the ethereal. All of the pieces seemed to possess an unstable quality, as if the birds of Johnson and White might flit away out of their frames, the pale, enigmatic figures of Watson and Heller-Burnham might drift away.
Artist’s House
To Mar. 2

Posted by Paloma Saez

On exhibit at the Muse Gallery is a two person exhibition featuring Eric Fausnacht and Keith Sharp. The front gallery contains Sharp’s two part photographs of real and constructed scenes placed side by side. He is interested in stimulated the viewer’s idea of perception. He doesn’t try to disguise the constructed scene as something in real life, but allows the viewer to think about the materials used, and how this second image can be related to the first photograph.

The back gallery features Fausnacht’s paintings of roosters placed in front of different background. His paintings are all of the domesticated fowl, each fowl having a slightly
different texture, and placed in from of a different background design. The backgrounds do not have any indication of depth, and the fowl seems to always be placed on a flat surface.

These two artists use two very different mediums, and also focus on very different subject matter. They seem to have no apparent connection, except for their interests in juxtapositions. In Sharp’s color print “All Wet”, he is juxtaposing the real swimmer with a constructed fake swimming scene. Fausnacht’s painting of a rooster, Dutch Light Brown, juxtaposes a rooster that would be seen outdoors against a domestic wallpaper. Both artists contrast the natural with the unnatural to question reality and illlusion.
Muse Gallery
52 N. 2nd Street
Gallery hours: 12 – 5 PM, Wednesday – Sunday
Phone: 215-627-5310

–These students are in multi-media artist Colette Copeland’s critical writing class at the University of Pennsylvania.


abby heller-burnham, ben johnson, catherine coogan, colette copeland, eric fausnacht, gregory watson, jamie rosen, jennifer maghan white, keith sharp, paloma saez, yixing teapots



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