NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — For Samuel Andrew, returning to showcase his art at Penn State New Kensington this October is a homecoming of sorts.
“To return to the place of my very first one-man show as a young artist in the world of art after nearly a half century is ironic to say the very least,” said Andrew. “There have been a lot of galleries, exhibits and classrooms in between, and not to be too melodramatic, but it kind of puts an end cap on things.”
Andrew, originally from south central Pennsylvania before settling in the western region of the Commonwealth, has been an artist all his life, being born into a family of musicians and artists.
“I was always encouraged to be creative,” he said. “The art room was my go-to place in high school, and it has stayed that way throughout my career.”
The artist has worked in a variety of media throughout the years, but settled into two focus areas: welded steel and digital prints. Incorporating technology into his work was something that seemed natural.
“Digital prints have been around for a while, and I have always been a sucker for ‘new and different,’” said the award-winning sculptor and educator. “Computers as a fine arts tool or media has been and still is somewhat controversial, but I view it as no different than a brush, crayon or torch; it's just new. So was acrylic paint back in the sixties!”
He also enjoys working within the digital space to make art more accessible.
“One of my mentors told me that he believed, “Art should be democratic,” he remembered through his artist statement. “The print is the most “democratic” form of art. A printmaker’s multiples and artist proofs can be had by many. I believe that art should be affordable and available to as many people as want to experience it. I also believe that the measure of the validity of a work of art is its degree of communication with the viewer.”
Since his first show at the then “New Gallery” at the New Kensington campus more than 30 years ago, Andrew has been an active artist, graphic designer and educator, with works included in juried an invitational exhibitions and public, private and corporate collections. He completed his undergraduate education in art education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His graduate work in social psychology at Ohio University was followed by post-graduate work in art history at New York University (NYU). He currently resides in Fawn Township with his wife, Becky, and their two horses, Maria and Emmy.
Beginning Oct. 1, Andrew returns to the campus for one of the final solo exhibitions of his career. Titled, “circa 1970: What if the impressionist had computers?,” the month-long show encapsulates his history with the campus and his creation of digital prints.
“I chose circa 1970 because that’s about when I had my first show at the campus,” explained Andrew. “The ‘what if’ part is related to my fascination with the idea of what the fine art masters would have done with technology.”
Viewers of the exhibition will see about 20 new digital print pieces, also known as giclée prints, from Andrew, with some equine themed.
“I hope they [viewers] walk away having had an enjoyable experience of colors and shapes and images for their imaginations to play with for a while,” said Andrew.
The exhibit, which opens Oct. 1 and runs through Oct. 30, can be viewed in the campus Art Gallery, Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.
Due to the gallery also serving as an educational space for academic classes and events, it is suggested that members of the public contact Tina Booth, gallery coordinator, at 724-334-6056 before visiting. As with all shows in the gallery, there is no admission charge to view the exhibit.
Penn State New Kensington’s gallery features monthly multimedia works of local, regional, national and international artists. For more information about the gallery and how to become a future exhibitor, contact Booth by phone or email or [email protected]. More information can also be viewed at www.newkensington.psu.edu/art-gallery.