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Exhibit: Concerning the Spiritual in Art?

The Centennial Art Exhibition curated by Pat Nugent and Michael Willse

Using punctuation to deconstruct the title of Wassily Kandinsky’s famous treatise of 1910, “Concerning the Spiritual in Art” as a thematic basis for the exhibition, “Concerning the Spiritual in Art?” proposes the following: What does the spiritual have to do with the work of art, if at all, how does it impact artistic practice or impulse, if at all, what spiritual effect does it have on the viewer, if at all? In the context of the exhibition’s theme, the spiritual is broadly defined and in a most secular way. Ultimately, the exhibition asks the question, where and how does the spiritual fit in contemporary art?

The Opening Reception for the Exhibition will be held during the Oktoberfest and Campus CelebrationSaturday, October 23, 2021, from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. in the Patricia M Nugent Gallery, located in Lawrence Hall. Complimentary light fare and wine will be served.  All are welcome to attend. The exhibition will remain in the Gallery through December.

In selecting the artists for the Centennial Exhibition, Pat Nugent and Michael Willse formulated a diverse list of contemporary artists who have exhibited in the former Lawrence Gallery, now the Patricia M. Nugent Gallery, and/or have taught at Rosemont or have a community-based connection to the gallery.

Get to know the exhibiting artists:

Edwina Brennan was a Rosemont alumna and has exhibited in many Rosemont Alumnae Exhibitions. She has also exhibited her work in regional and national venues.

Artist Statement:

“The works that I create are ”drawings”- but they are not sketches, nor are they renderings of objects or experiences. The drawing itself is the experience.  I invite the viewer to share in the ‘conversation’, looking at and responding to each mark and layering of markings as they move over the page.”

Moe Brooker has exhibited in the Rosemont gallery on several occasions, including group and most recently a solo exhibition. His work is included in many museum collections as well as other permanent public collections.

Artist Statement:

“Making visible, for me is about the asking of questions. Questions prompt search, leading to invention, resulting in discovery. This is a process the sparks new ways of realizing my sensibility and voice. The kind of information I need as an artist is the result of a constant search.”

A longtime Rosemont Studio Art & Design adjunct professor, John Formicola most recently exhibited his digital prints in Rosemont’s gallery. In addition to teaching at Rosemont, he has been a long-time member of the faculty at Drexel University.   Formicola’s work is included in a number of museum collections such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Artist Statement:

“Slowly I realized that the memorable paintings did not depend on scale, on image, or on organization of energies, but rather an elusive element. I now know that I have known of that element for a long time. The problem was that I was trying to see it, but the elusive element was not to be seen, but felt. ”

Barbara Bullock most recently exhibited her figurative wall collages in the Rosemont’s gallery in 2017. Her work is informed by jazz and her African heritage. Barbara’s works have been exhibited both locally and nationally.

Artist Statement:

“The act of and the process of creativity is like a ritual for me. According to Sobonfu Somé, there is a african wisdom that says--the ritual requires us to speak though the heart. the logic of the mind is an obstacle to its success” 

Both an artist and teacher, Fred has taught at Rosemont as an adjunct professor and also had two solos exhibits of his work. He has exhibited regionally and nationally. His current project, 101 Works of Art, represents work he has collected. This exhibition has traveled to several venues and is now on view at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art.

Artist Statement:

The ineffable nature of both art and “the spiritual,” puts them both in the same realm, very much linked. I know that my earliest impulses to “do art” were stimulated by being in nature, and being overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of what I was seeing. 

Pam McLean-Parker is a graduate of Rosemont and has exhibited her photo-based works extensively throughout the region. She is Exhibition Coordinator at Wayne Art Center and serves as Exhibition Director for the Montgomery County Guild of Professional Artists and as Art Editor of Philadelphia Stories magazine.

Artist Statement:

“In its own way, a connection to Kandinsky’s notion of “ inner value” is found within my work and its potential impact on audience is undeniably tied to aspects of his theories on emotional response. I hold as a core belief that Art and Creativity are an inseparable presence to the everyday life of a life well lived and believe that all creative pursuits aspire to affect the viewer.”

James Caplan is an artist who has exhibited both locally and internationally. In 2018, he had a solo exhibition in the Patricia M. Nugent gallery at Rosemont College.

Artist Statement:

“As I enter my studio I rise above the complication of the market place and the often difficult challenges I must overcome or rise above. That “rising above” is due to the positive spirit that has always been there for me in my studio! And, that I paint abstractly further distances me from the rigor of reality. That is what for me is the spiritual in ART!”

Brian Wagner was an adjunct faculty member of the Art & Design Department at Rosemont for a number of years as well as being a faculty member at Drexel University. Wagner had exhibited extensively, regionally as well as nationally, and was known for his use of utilitarian found objects, most notably, his installation of 5000 broomsticks.

Artist Statement:

My recent paintings explore possibilities resulting from the division of the surface of the canvas into painted shapes and unpainted raw fabric shapes.  The dynamic of the void in juxtaposition to the lushly colored surface creates a counterplay, giving these works a curious jigsaw puzzle quality. 

Janice Merendino has had a long association with Rosemont, as both an artist and faculty member. She is also one of the founding members of the Clay Studio in Philadelphia. In 1998, she founded the Branch Out Project which incorporated drawing and problem-solving workshops for major corporations, government agencies, community groups and schools.

Artist Statement:

“My work has always been a way for me to find out more about myself. It has helped me to understand how my inner life connects with everything I experience in the outside world. I paint and sculpt to see what motivates me, to identify my preferences and to think about why I respond the way I do. ”

Melissa Maani is a graduate of Rosemont College. She is the Graphic Design manager for the Philadelphia Phillies. Melissa previously had a one-person exhibition of her graphic design work for the Phillies in the Nugent Gallery.

Artist Statement:

“Spirituality… culminates in the walls of my heart and the core of my belief system. It exudes from every aspect of who I am and what I do day to day. Spirituality cannot be contained therefore it surfaces in my work as well. As an artist, my intentions are for the greater good, to inspire, to repay, to empower, to rebuild and then pass that goodness along. ”

An artist and teacher, as well as a fixture in Rosemont’s painting classes, Bernice Paul exhibited widely throughout the Philadelphia region. At the age of 100, she had a retrospective exhibition of her paintings in the Nugent Gallery.

Artist Statement:

Bernice Paul was a free and fearless artist who painted vibrant work in a bold, impressionistic, abstract style. Even after her passing, her paintings still give joy. “My mind can do what my body will no longer. In my imagination I can soar once more. With my brushes paints and chalk I create an ageless world.”


A full-time member of the Studio Art & Design faculty, Maggie Hobson-Baker is a graphic designer, web designer and visual artist, with a significant following on You tube and other platforms and is interested in the intersection of traditional and digital platforms. Her recent work reflects a variety of social concerns.

Artist Statement:

“My work has served as a means to process and interpret experience, be these experiences personal or part of the cultural happenings around me. The creative process has served as a way of entering into the present moment and interpreting experience through line, shape and color. I find my best work happens when I start with an idea for a piece and then let the image emerge on its own terms.”