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Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 109th Student Exhibition


As the first art college in the United States as well as a popular art school today, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts produces artists whose work bears the mark of that duality — formal, traditional techniques blended with contemporary currents. Viewers to the 109th student exhibition (certificate students and BFA and MFA graduates) can anticipate seeing a dynamic variety of artworks.

View of pieces from the Foyer Gallery
At PAFA’s student exhibition – A view of the Foyer Gallery welcomes guests

A detailed look into Doron Langberg's interior scenes
A detailed look into Langberg’s interior scenes

Doron Langberg’s massive mixed-media pieces on paper greet audiences towards the main entrance of the show. While the dynamism in these 2-D pieces resides in Langberg’s play of black-and-white textural patterns, these hypnotic details disguise erotic scenes, which reveal themselves within the negative spaces. The subject matter can deliver an almost-embarrassing, subtle surprise to innocent eyes.

Winston Sordoni's illuminated landscapes
A view of Sordoni’s neon landscapes
Detail of a car in the hillside
A detail of a car buried in brushstrokes

Through the doors of the School Gallery that faces Cherry Street, visitors can come across Winston Sordoni’s fluorescent-hued, surreal landscapes.  Sordoni creates movement across each canvas by contrasting the physicality of his paint: The mountain terrains are articulated through gritty smears of a palette knife, as a razor-sharp, toothpick-thin infrastructure pierces through the atmospheric haze. The scene that unfolds provides observers with a mountaintop view into a fantastical world.

View of Samantha Simmon's pieces
Samantha Simmons black and whites

Certain pieces scattered throughout the Fisher Brooks Gallery were memorable blends of contemporary and classic currents. Samantha Simmons references the shadows cast underneath cars to create poetic, tonal compositions of light and dark shapes. Nearby, Yuxuan Zhao merges mediums to create interactive art: The spotlight that lights up his rendering of a shadowy dance hall projects the viewer’s shadow among the other figures in the scene.

The spotlit drawing of Yuxuan Zhao
The spotlit drawing of Yuxuan Zhao

On the second level, the MFA students represent themselves in the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Gallery.

The surface of Justin Baldwin’s ethereal abstract paintings have been sanded down and carved into after being sealed under layers of resin. The paintings are successful because rather than seeming forced, they emerge almost as natural as breath, yet traces of the struggle for a final image resonate under the shiny surfaces.

A closeup of Justin Baldwin's glossy paintings
A closer look of Justin Baldwin’s distressed canvases

To see more of the PAFA show, stop by 128 North Broad Street before the closing on June 6th.

Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays and legal holidays