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Area Artists 2011

April 11, 2011 - August 26, 2011

Greta Brubaker, Michael Burmeister, Sandra Martin Ripa, Anthony Rodale

Area Artists is a biennial exhibition presenting the works of established artists and art educators of the Eastern Pennsylvania region.



The Off Road series consists of 30-35 black and white photographs taken with a 4” x 5” view camera printed on silver gelatin fiber paper as 11” x 14” prints.  The images are set in central Pennsylvania and are an exploration of the current state of the landscape and its relationship to its past and our future.  Much of the land was at one time heavily used for anthracite coal mining but has been out of use since the 1960s.  The landscape has been left in a state of upheaval with its surface torn, scarred and left as barren boulder fields and massive craters. The land has been drastically altered and given a new topography that has remained frozen in this state long after the industry left.  These images represent the view of the landscape that exists just beyond the road.  It is often hidden from view, but surrounds us.  Despite the generally depressive nature of this man-altered space, the photographs themselves have an inherent beauty.  There is a stillness and reflective quality to the rocks and vegetation that becomes jewel-like when captured on film.  The purpose of this work is to draw attention to our surroundings, especially as we now look for new sources of fuels and contemplate reopening the earth.  This landscape holds a message for us all. 

Greta Brubaker holds an M.F.A in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design, a  B.A. in studio art, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA; and a Teaching & Learning certificate from Brown University, Providence, RI.   She is an instructor and lecturer at Penn State Lehigh Valley, and The Wescoe School at Muhlenberg College, as well as at The Baum School of Art, Allentown PA and  Lafayette College, Easton, PA  Her work has been exhibited regionally at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, Reading, PA, and the Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh.  National exhibitions include the Texas Photographic Society, San Antonio; The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado; and the Viewpoint Photographic Art Center, Sacramento, California.



It’s all about SHAKE—first you read, then you feel.  SHAKE—Modernist ideas: black is unknowable, white is transcendent.  And gray? Grey is difficult.  SHAKE—the visual playground of street signs and graffiti are a field.  SHAKE—a skin to reinforce a figurative content to text.  SHAKE—the size of the paintings, the size of the body.  SHAKE—text has always been figurative.  Mr. Fantastic never snaps.   SHAKE—anything to reinforce responses welcoming a loss of control.  SHAKE—repeat.  It takes more than once to get the point. SHAKE —the point: openness to the Sublime, to the Political, to Boredom, to a touch of Comic Book in the Blood, to the Possibility in Structure. SHAKE—?

Michael Coombs Burmeister holds a M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, and B.A.A. in Fine Arts with major in Photography and minor in Art History and Outdoor Education from Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant.  Presently an adjunct professor at Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA, he has also served as Artist-in-Residence at Lafayette College, Easton, and Visiting Artist/Critic at Muhlenberg College, Allentown.  His work has been exhibited regionally at colleges and galleries that include The Creative Alliance, Baltimore; Decker Gallery of The Maryland Institute College of Art; the ISE Cultural Foundation, New York, and Towson University.  In 2009 Burmeister was awarded the Vermont Studio Center Residency, and nominated for the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA grant in 2008.


I think of my current series of paintings as color poems – an homage to the power of color.  I am inspired by its extreme beauty, luminosity and intensity.  It draws me to imagine places I would like to see or might have seen.  Worlds far away or close at hand.  Complex sites in a state of energetic interaction as seen through windows of intricate geometry.

My pictures are conceived through improvisation.  One mark informs the next.  Layered transparencies accumulate and build density.  Each day presents the possibility of discovery.  An unforeseen hue, an unexpected shape.  I search for a rich language of color harmonies, detailed abstract images, and organic paint surfaces to conjure tactile, magical world.  A secret place, perhaps unfamiliar, for joy and reflection.


Sandra Martin Ripa holds a MFA in painting from Queens College in New York City and a BFA from the Tyler School of Art.  Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries and universities in the Midwest and Northeast, and are held in both private and corporate collections.  She apprenticed to painter Hans Staude in Florence for one year, and was awarded scholarships to the McDowell Colony and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.  Sandra has taught at Illinois Wesleyan University, Lehigh University and Queens College.  Her studio is in Bethlehem, PA.


 I began taking photographs at an early age on themes of health, fitness and the environment for my family’s publishing business.  In 1988, just out of college, I was invited by friends to participate in a conference called “Food for the Future” in Kenya, East Africa.  I was so inspired and motivated by the event that I have been involved ever since in promoting organic farming world wide.  In working with farmers, agricultural organizations and governments over the course of many years, I was able to travel to all four corners of the world to document photographically communities and individuals livin
g and working from the land.  My recent work is based on Perpetual Movement within the body and among nature, inspired by my competitive racing in triathlons, swimming, bicycling and running.   They are from a participant’s point of view

Anthony Rodale lives in the Lehigh Valley.  He graduated with a B.A. from Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, California, in 1987.  He has exhibited his photographs in Japan, France and various locations in the USA.  The photographs in the series “Land and Body” were taken at a nightly workout session on a beach in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa.





April 11, 2011
August 26, 2011
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Mountaintop campus
Bethlehem, PA 18015 United States
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