By Kaeley Wosczyna
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Pandemic restrictions have temporarily halted the exhibits at the Marlin Art Gallery on Camden County College’s Blackwood campus but a professor and an artist associated with the gallery say they are looking forward to the day the gallery will reopen.
Many people enjoyed the shows at the Marlin Art Gallery before the gallery closed around the time the college shut down because of COVID-19 early this year. The Marlin Art Gallery is named for William Marlin, the late professor who established the gallery soon after the college opened. The gallery normally hosts seven exhibitions a year: four shows dedicated to regional artists, a faculty show in the fall, a student show in the spring and a high school show in the summer.
“The gallery does more than just show artists,” stated Professor Gregory Brellochs. He said the gallery connects to a lecture workshop series, where an artist gives a lecture and shows techniques on their work for members of the community.
The campus collection of artwork is both two dimensional and three dimensional and is on display in various buildings and offices. Artists either donated or loaned the pieces to the college.
Although the gallery is closed because of the pandemic, artists who displayed their work there remain popular. Brellochs said among the works that stood out in previous exhibits were those of Susan Hagen, an artist from Philadelphia.
“Her works on display at the gallery were very realistic wood carved figures of people,” Brellochs stated.
Hagen has been making sculptures for decades. She has a master of fine arts degree in sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a bachelor of fine arts degree in drawing from Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
“My sculptures have themes that I work on for several years,” Hagen said.
Hagen includes citizens and public figures that she sees in Philadelphia in her wooden carvings. She explained her art “shows a cross-section of society.”
Her sculptures range from Mayor Jim Kenney, which was not done in time for the Marlin Art Gallery exhibit in 2017, to random people from the streets of Philadelphia, which were included in the Marlin Art Gallery exhibit.
“Random people are the bulk of my participants,” Hagen said.
Hagen explained her wood carvings can take several months or longer to create, she takes her time and she does not rush them. Because of the amount of time the wood carvings take, Hagen takes a break and produces small 2-inch-by-3-inch watercolor paintings of birds in between working on the wooden sculptures. She can finish these watercolors in a day or even three days or longer depending on the amount of detail.
Hagen said the Marlin Art Gallery interested her to display her artwork because it is part of an educational community. Although the pandemic has stopped her from displaying her artwork at galleries at the moment, she has a positive outlook and takes advantage of her free time to focus on creative works.
As to when the Marlin Art Gallery may reopen and artists may return to it, Brellochs said, “I’m looking forward to reopening the gallery program in the fall of 2021.”