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Present Tense: Drexel Art Now

Present Tense: Drexel Art Now will open January 11

January 11, 2023

The Pearlstein Gallery is pleased to announce its first ever open-call Faculty and Staff exhibition; Present Tense: Drexel Art Now


Artwork by

Leah Appleton, Theo A. Artz, Greyory Blake, Jen Blazina, Nick Cassway, Lewis Colburn, Meghan Cox, Michael DeLuca, Jody Graff, Peter Allen Hoffmann, Jacob Lunderby, Bruce Pollock, Sarah Steinwachs, Mark Stockton, Rosalind Sutkowski, Lisa Sylvester, Ekaterina Vanovskaya, Ricardo Zapata

The Drexel University artist community represented in this exhibition was juried from an open call of faculty and staff in the Antoinette Westphal Collegeof Media Arts and Design. The exhibition not only reflects the concerns of Drexel-affiliated artists, but serves as a snapshot of what it means to make art in the 21st  century, where creativity is not dominated by any one media, expressive method, or worldview. Looking at this diverse and formal strategies: art as a vehicle ro explore family histories and representation - and conversely, abstract painting that also appears representational;  the fragility of nature in crisis brought on by climate change; vernacular materials altered and juxtaposed to create hybrid objects that offer new interpretive possibilities; our global situation in which polarization and autocracy threatens democracy; and finally, not easily categorized approaches to art making in which artists devis their own systems in the creative process.


Of the over 180 submissions by 40 Drexel faculty and staff that I considered for inclusion, I was familiar with only about five or so artists - what a gratifying experience to learn about such a large group of Philadelphia artists I had no previous knowledge of. Working within the parameters of the online jurying process - relying on digital submissions and artwork descriptions constrained by software word limits - I am still certain that my decisions will offer a meaningful experience for both participating artists and viewing audiences as new dialogues unfold across works presented in the gallery context for the very first time.

Alex Baker,


About the curator:

Alex Baker was appointed Director, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, in

June 2012, where he has organized over thirty exhibitions including Outsiderism;

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein: Time Produced Non Better; Department of

Neighborhood Services: Isaac Tin Wei Lin, Barry McGee, and Dan Murphy, and

Mending and Repair in Response: Jesse Harrod and Lisi Raskin. Before that, he

was Senior Curator, Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV),

Melbourne, Australia, 2008-2012. Formerly Curator of Contemporary Art at the

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and associate curator at the Institute of

Contemporary Art, he has organized exhibitions at those venues with artists

including Robert Ryman, Ellen Harvey, Eamon Ore-Giron, Barry McGee, Steve

Powers, Todd James, Chris Johanson, Margaret Kilgallen, and Laylah Ali, among

others. At the NGV, he curated Ranjani Shettar: Dewdrops and Sunshine (2011),

Harrell Fletcher: The Sound We Make Together (Melbourne) (2010), and Ricky

Swallow: The Bricoleur (2009). Baker has a Ph.D. in visual anthropology from

Temple University, Philadelphia.