Robert McNellis

Robert McNellis

Anonymous Images / Specific Objects

New Work By:

Robert McNellis

Exhibit: 1/9-1/30/17

Reception: Wednesday 1/25/17 12:50-2:50

anonymous-landscape-11-1 Robert McNellis studied film at the University of South Florida and holds a degree in art from Troy University with a concentration in film and digital photography. Since moving his studio practice to Philadelphia, his work has been exhibited at ARTSPACE 1241 in downtown Philadelphia. Robert is also an adjunct instructor in our School of Arts and Sciences.

Artist Statement

My work attempts to combine the pictorial, material, and structural elements of my practice into a balanced unity. Using modern materials, I strive to create structures and discover imagery that can achieve this unity. As the pictorial aspects of this work have come more and more to suggest visual similarity to the natural world–albeit obscure and scarcely defined–I have recently turned to incorporating photographs taken in chance ways into my work. In these anonymous photographs, I find images that are evocative and yet whose subject is largely unknowable. When successful, this interplay between the evocative and unknowable within the image, together with the clarity of the material structure, creates a strong resonance between image and object.

From the Exhibit


John Chang


Exhibit: 12/2-12/20 

Holy Family University will exhibit a collection of mixed media paintings created by
John Chang.

Born and raised in Shanghai, China. John Chang is an artist based in Southern California. John’s works have been widely exhibited,

Artistic Statement:
“I was born and raised in Shanghai. By the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping initiated a more open door policy, but I still had a deep desire to experience America and Western culture. Immigrating to Boston to study art in graduate school, I discovered a more complex society than I had imagined. Longing for a democratic system, I wasn’t prepared for the magnitude of consumption, both promoted and practiced. The great chasm between Communist China and capitalist America was quite a shock and heightened my awareness of self. Belonging to both worlds and to neither, I recognized the social construction of cultural codes and their impact on identity. Calligraphy expresses the shared space of the personal and the political. Chinese students must devote many years to memorizing several thousand characters. Each character must be written flawlessly and must be both neat and pleasing to the eye, and such rote exercises condition one to submit to authority. In the public square and all walls everywhere, big calligraphic characters were a constant reminder of a collective voice, and so people discounted the empty rhetoric of the official media. Yet in classical Chinese, the script, or shu, is so sacred that it is believed to be capable of affecting change in the natural order of things. By invoking calligraphic forms, I am commenting on the distortion of language, but I am also reclaiming the energy of the written word. Tapping into my ancestral roots, I also use pigments for their symbolic power. For example, black and white are the colors of most ink painting but also represent yin and yang; red and yellow represent happiness, wealth, and health. I consider myself a “spiritual escapist.” I am especially interested in making and unmaking meaning with the combination of word and image — particularly in this age of digital communication. Incorporating contemporary events and pop culture, I collect daily newspapers in English and Chinese, cut specific text, graphics and articles, and put them in categories. I also gather postproduction material from local ad agencies. Influenced by artists like MARCEL DUCHAMP, and ANDY WARHOL, my calligraphic strokes commingle with expressive brushwork and drips, and the freedom of such abstract artists allows me to explore Chinese characters in a personal, reinvigorated way — connecting to and balancing vital energy. The cross-cultural exchange mediated in my creative process continues to unfold and push beyond duality. In merging the beauty of traditional painting technique, modernist performance-like gestures, as well as typography and imagery, I am forging an art that both creates and expresses myself. Embracing the chaos, or ran, I stand hopefully poised between ambivalent remembrance and undetermined tomorrow.”

The Art of Forgiveness: Understanding Hurt, Hope and the Healing Journey

The Art of Forgiveness:

Understanding Hurt, Hope and the Healing Journey

A two-part multi-disciplinary program inspired by Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Panel Discussion on Forgiveness

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm ETC Lobby

Fr. Mark Hunt …. Spiritual Perspectives

Dr. Michele Muni …Restorative Justice

Dr. Jim Huber ….Marriage & Family Therapy

National Juried Art Exhibit on Forgiveness and Artist Reception

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Holy Family University Art Gallery

Selected artists

Robert Thurlow, Charlesey Charlton-McCallister, Lisa DeLoria Weinblatt, John Wood, Aaron T Stephens, Ed Smith, Dorothea Osborn, Colleen Sweeney Gahrmann, Marilyn Rodriguez Michael Wartgow,  Leila Hernandez


Aaron T Stephens

aaronstephensA life of Sin series was created to express my problems as a Christian. I commit acts that are against my Religion and my own beliefs. This image expresses how I feel every time I pray for forgiveness of those acts.

Charlesey Charlton-McCallistercharleseymccallisterThis piece of work is about the ability to forgive a spouse or significant other after the act of infidelity. Forgiveness is a process like the journey a baby makes from crawling to walking. According to a study from 2010, the most common type of unforgivable offense is betrayal, including affairs, deceit, broken promises, and broken secrets (see source below). This  art work asks the viewer to ponder the meaning of a past betrayal and to ask the hard question of “how does one begin to forgive, when the betrayal itself is/was so personal?”

Colleen Sweeney GahrmanncolleengahrmannWe All Fall Down, part of a larger installment titled Restorative Justice, hints at the responsibility of a society that has a stake in its youth, even those of incarcerated parents. It brings an awareness of the feelings and issues surrounding the children affected by the crimes and punishments of their guardians.  Statements by children of incarcerated parents are often filled with incriminations, confusion and conflicts.  When forgiveness becomes an ongoing process it helps to restore family relationships.

Dorothea OsborndorotheaosburnThe art of forgiveness is a road. An intimate road of change and it’s a process, sometimes lengthy, sometimes surprisingly expedient.  It is a change within ourselves, on more than a cellular level. It is an acknowledgment and acceptance in its finality. Forgiveness does not suppress or ignore the pain. It deals with it on a spiritual and cellular level. These pieces are from a series of graphite and colored pencil that deal with the human condition and change on a cellular level. The progression of Forgiveness takes time and creates change. It means letting go, albeit, keeping others in our heart. As each of these pieces was produced, a daily personal and spiritual time was given to each segment of the individual pieces. Time and change is evident in all three pieces.

Ed SmithedsmithThe work submitted are images in metaphorical form depicting the act of forgiving, specifically with regard to the events of 9/11. And while the hope is that the understanding and internalization of these events can bring peace it also suggests we not bow to forces along the journey of healing. The etchings are intimate and demand a close attention focusing on the personal nature of the tragedy and forcing the viewer to be open within the reading of the images.

John WoodjohnwoodThe works in this series respond to a common theme: the journey from doubt to faith.   I have explored the theme by responding to the story of St. Thomas from John 20: 19-31, and a contemporary poem by Francine j. Harris entitled “another finger for the wound.”   Through the ekphrastic process of reflecting upon text through visual art, I invite confrontations to my interpretations of ancient themes and modern interpretations. Another Finger for the Wound explores the moment, from the Gospel of John 20: 27-29, in which Christ exposes his wound by lifting his robe for Thomas.  The human qualities of flesh and hair seen on the hand of Christ in the sculpture are contrasted with abstracted images on the opposite side of his hand.  The palm contains patterns of human figures and text from the poem by Francine J. Harris.

Leila HernandezleilahernandezSquaring the Circle talks about change. It is transformation- a square that is composed of circles which are interconnected through threads; like our brain cells, our body, our friends, the world, the universe; each one influencing the other. The red symbolizes life that can be full of passion, good or bad, and it can be lived in an intense manner, which of course is best if we change the negative into a positive. The blue flowers bring tranquility; the green leaves symbolize growth in a sparking manner which relates to the gold which is scattered through our lifetime making our total experience golden during our lifetime. Mandalas have engaged the artist during the production as to absorb the mind in such a way that distracting thoughts produced by anger and sorrow from damages that have affected the stability of her life in many areas are slowly replaced by a feeling of well being. The artist has experienced many hardships that invoke the need for forgiveness since it is well known that it is imperative to forgive people in your life, even those who are not sorry for their actions.

Lisa DeLoria WeinblattlisadeloriaweinblattI use the vocabulary of daily life and historical reference to inform the content of the MAN/WOMAN painting series.  The image in this painting investigates the interactions of interpersonal relationships within a time- frame.

The myriad pressures of modern life often impact the relationships that we hold close to our being.  The ability to forgive and ‘open the door’ to another solution/ way of thinking, is vital to forgiveness.

In Man/Woman 3, portraying part of a series of life events, I incorporated the biblical symbol of the snake, literally her vanity, in which she is in front of, the salvation of the bird, flying to new territory/heights and the pear on the dresser, the fruit of both good and of the fallen.

Marilyn RodriguezmarilynrodriguezMy name is Marilyn Rodriguez; I am a Latina (mixed medium) community artist.

My art comes from my environment and my community (North Philadelphia), it is where I take my inspiration. Much of my paintings and drawings manifest through unconventional materials like paper bags and other found objects. The materials are often chosen to fit within the context of the subjects.

My works reference lost souls that walk amongst us and the constant flux of their mental health illness, drug addictions, and social handicaps. These individuals roam the streets with uncertain futures and become the forgotten people unable to assimilate to their environment and society. They seek a window to find forgiveness for themselves and for the people they have wounded. The work(s) I create are to show awareness of what happens in the journey for peace and a sign of forgiveness.

Michael WartgowmichaelwartgowPresented as both a psychological concept and a virtue, my work discusses forgiveness through various states of transition. It is about looking for forgiveness in yourself and the need to find some sort of divine forgiveness in order to understand purpose. Through the use of symbols and dreamlike imagery, my work places emphasis on an individual’s path to forgiveness yet speaks to a larger universal idea about reconciliation.

Robert ThurlowrobertthurlowHoly Suffering Saints

This image speaks to the redemptive quality of suffering and the healing power of forgiveness. Although the action and process of forgiveness is difficult it is this difficulty that gives us strength, humility, and transforms us into saints. The chaotic handwritten script is taken from a 1930’s journal my grandmother kept and is meant to echo the struggle and effort required to forgive.

From the Exhibit Opening:


Lisa Bigalke

Mixed Media Prints

Exhibit: 10/4-10/27/16

 Holy Family University will exhibit mixed media prints created by
Lisa Bigalke.

Lisa Bigalke graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Parkside with a BA in art in 1996. She received her MFA in Studio Art, with a concentration in printmaking, from Louisiana State University in 2000. Currently she teaches Art at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Her artwork has been exhibited in many regional and national exhibitions. Since 2000, she has exhibited her work in over 15 solo exhibitions. In 2016, she was awarded a Racine Art Museum Fellowship Grant.
Artistic Statement:

Most people have a place that makes them feel alive. For me this is being outside with my feet in the grass. Farm, park, garden–it doesn’t matter, as long as plants are growing. The bulk of my imagery has come from places explored with friends — the Chequamegon National Forest, Grant Park in Milwaukee, or even my garden.

For me this body of work began on a trip with my sister and mother exploring places found in my father’s notebooks. He died when we were children on a hunting expedition and this was a way to feel close to him.

Traveling through these places, being able to document through photos, drawings, and notes, gives me the opportunity to reinterpret and organize. I include in my final works maps, statistical information, and personal letters to indicate reality, the actuality of these places and my relationship to them.

The spirit of the place comes through in the color and texture. The intensity of the color often reflects time of day exaggerated, such as, a mid-morning golden yellow light shimmering through the leaves at Buckhorn State Park. Abstracting from nature allows me to create decorative patterns and visual texture in both the macro and micro of the landscape. I include a readable landscape with an enlarged abstracted fossil, flower or water pattern. This layering of surface texture requires the viewer to interact with the rich surfaces. They are forced to peel back the layers and read it at my pace.

The overlapping and concentrated use of the pattern puts the viewer into the realm of my journey- for they travel on my journey through the image. Those who look once may just find a pretty landscape; those who get lost in the color and pattern find the meaning.



From the Exhibit:

Zachary Pritchard

Zachary Pritchard


Mixed Media Works

Exhibit: September 2-28, 2016

Artist’s talk and reception: Wednesday 9/28 12:50-2:50


Holy Family University will exhibit a collection of artwork created by
Zachary Pritchard from Friday, September 2nd through Wednesday,
September 28th. Made from paper-mâché, plaster, fired clay, pigmented
wax, cast iron and aluminum, the exhibition features sculptures on
pedestals, free standing pieces and wall sculptures.

Pritchard earned his BFA in sculpture from Buffalo State College in
2011. As part of his studies, he participated in an international artist
residency, creating art in Finland and Latvia. He went on to earn an
MFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. His work has been
exhibited across the United States, recently in Massachusetts, New
York City, and Philadelphia galleries. His most recent body of work
has been included in group and solo shows, earning high praise.
Described as, “forms that play with a sense of expectation and
balance, Pritchard’s sculptures have a familiar, yet uneasy presence
about them, as if they are each their own characters with their own
distinct personalities.”  He currently lives and works in
Artistic Statement:

My work explores themes and personal experiences of humor, loss,
death, loneliness, and attraction. Working with materials that lend
themselves to manipulation, such as paper-mâché, plaster, pigmented
wax, paints, and metals, my work plays with structural balance and
expectations of materials in primarily anthropomorphic forms.

I consistently work in an intuitive process that seeks to translate an
unspeakable subconscious language through objects. Engaging the viewer
in a familiar, yet uneasy presence, my aim is to elicit raw and
visceral emotional reactions through my sculptures, drawings and

Artist talk:

Pictures from Exhibit:


William Goebig

Holy Family University Art Gallery Presents

Seriously Hilarious

Senior Student Art Exhibition


William Goebig

Please come and support this achievement

Exhibition dates: April 6- May 2, 2016

Artists Reception: Tuesday, April 12, 2016   5:00 – 7:00 PM


Three Eyes

This body of work is entitled Seriously Hilarious because there is a sense of duality to my art making. In one aspect of my art I am very serious and strict in my technique so to create balanced aesthetically pleasing designs. In the other aspect of my art making I am looser and more spontaneous like in my paintings and drawings of exaggerated features and abnormal situations. It is through these two styles of art making that I have found my personal balance in art and in life.

Throughout my time as a student and during the course of my life I have always, quite literally, drawn on any piece of paper that was in front of me. These drawings usually turned out to be nothing but partially finished sketches of faces or letters. Although different, they always had one thing in common, they all ended up in the trash and I never paid them any mind. Recently I decided to use these sketches, give them life and break away from the guidelines and rules from which I thought art had to follow. My art today is a result of sketches that were either on a blank piece of paper, the back of a syllabus, or in a sketchbook. This work is a break away from the seriousness of life and art and is fun because life is hard and everyone needs a chance to escape; this is mine.

As a Graphic Designer, art plays a different role, which can be viewed as more strict and serious. The majority of my graphic art focuses on the guidelines of design. I enjoy making balanced designs because it allows a different approach to creation. It allows me to create a piece of art that I can look at and know that it can make sense by itself. My graphic design work is serious while my paintings and sculptures are hilarious.


Please join the Art Department at the Artist Reception

There will be refreshments and an artist talk.


Holy Family University Gallery is on the Lower Level of the Education and Technology Center, 9801 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19114.
Contact: Pamela Flynn

A Unified Thread

Laura Dobrota

A Unified Thread

Mixed Media Works

Exhibit: March 4 – April 3, 2016

Artist’s talk and reception: Tuesday, March 22, 3-5 p.m.


1_Dobrota_Nest of Aquired Material_Pen, marker, paper mache, textiles, on paper. 9.5x11

Nest of Aquired Materials 



Artist Statement

My work is an idiosyncratic testimony that calls attention to the value of nature’s presence through unexpected representations. The vision of my work is to blend the congruent lines of artistic and scientific research. In my process as a maker, my goal is to seek a sense of interconnection and understanding of the workings of the natural world. Through merging fact and fiction, the emphasis is away from the imitation of nature. While instead towards the imaginative recombination, of things remembered to the illustration of concepts formed from within.   Through this approach to understanding analogies of thinking, progressive ways of invention can take place.

This current series of work embodies the physical as well as metaphysical associations of birds’ nests. There is much value in this ordinary familiar object, yet wonderment of nature. A nest is a nurtured structure for a new beginning or if no longer occupied it can be an entombment. It begins with just an idea, or piece of material, and can endlessly grow.  Through the study of many types of nests created from all around the world, I personalize and recreate them into a synthetic archive that uses the nest as a subject within a representational sense, but in my own poetic language.


Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, I received my BFA at the University of Cincinnati with a minor in Art Education. Having multiple shows upon graduating, I was also passionate about teaching art to a wide range of age groups, but primarily within inner city youth. In 2015 I received my MFA at Ohio University, while teaching as instructor of record for the undergraduate drawing and painting classes. I also gave several lectures there about my work as the keynote speaker for the contemporary art history course, Seeing and Knowing the Visual Arts. Within my artistic career I have shown work in many group, solo, invitational, commissioned, and juried exhibitions. I have shown nationally, internationally, and have multiple awards and grants. I am represented by the Starbrick Gallery in Athens, Ohio where I currently live and regularly exhibit my work.