Martin Art Gallery

Natural Philosophy
Curated by Paul Nicholson

November 2 - January 7, 2017

Allentown, PA – Martin Art Gallery at Muhlenberg College presents the exhibition Natural Philosophy, featuring ten artists whose work explores various approaches commonly associated with scientific inquiry. Natural Philosophy will be on view Wednesday November 2, 2016 through Saturday January 7, 2017. The exhibition will open with a public reception from 5 to 6:30pm on November 2, 2016, and will include a curator’s talk in the gallery on Wednesday November 16 at 5pm.

Empirical science is based on the idea that we can isolate “things”, measure them, and replicate the results under strict controls. Philosophy of nature was an earlier mode of inquiry that preceded modern natural sciences, and attempted to explain our physical universe based on observation. Like artists, natural philosophers’ inquiries were aimed at articulating ephemeral and invisible “things” beyond the grasp of our senses by applying deductive reasoning to qualitative observation. While any research method can be organized, natural philosophy is distinct from the modern scientific method in that it employed observation to make conclusions largely through logic.

Natural Philosophy explores ways in which artists hope to gain an understanding of natural processes by exploring the nature of truth through aesthetic, methodological and philosophical approaches more commonly associated with scientific inquiry. Recognizing the fertile overlapping of empirical truth and subjective artistic inquiry, Natural Philosophy presents a chorus of creative researchers whose personal investigations explore sex, death, and the environment. The end product is a unique body of evidence that lays bare our intimate relationship to the natural world.

The artists in Natural Philosophy interrogate our relationships and responsibilities to the natural world. They pose alternative realities and solutions, as often as they ask new questions in their creative research. Works by the artists Judy Chicago, eric fleischauer and Barbara Kendrick experiment with the practical and iconographical application of cultural-anthropological research, focusing special attention on reproduction and mate selection. Ali Kazma, Mariele Neudecker and Paul Vanouse show works that pose basic existential questions in the anthropocentric framework. Works by Andrea Hornick, David Mann, Alberto Rey and Julie Tremblay consider our interconnectedness to our physical and biological world.

Artist and writer Eugène Fromentin believed that “art is the expression of the invisible by means of the visible.” Artists measure, observe and isolate “things” in pursuit of new knowledge. The artists’ studio is in fact a laboratory where they complete experiments through creative research; the end product is presented as creative work. Art employs a host of methodologies inspired by emotional, intellectual and purely imaginary influences. If there is any realm of discourse that artists dominate, it is likely that of the subjective. If empirical science seeks to identify demonstrable facts, artists, much like yesterdays’ natural philosophers, are perhaps in search for something even greater than fact, they seek truth.

About the Curator: Paul Nicholson is the Director of Martin Art Gallery at Muhlenberg College.



October 3 - November 13

‌Allentown - PA —Martin Art Gallery at Muhlenberg College is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition Ghosts: French Holocaust Children, an installation of sculptural and photographic work by Hirsch Projects. The exhibition takes place October 2 -  November 13, 2016 in the Baker Galleria, with an opening reception scheduled for Wednesday, October 5th  from 5-6:30pm.  A public talk with the artist will be Wednesday October 19 at 5:00pm, in the Recital Hall in the Baker Center for the Arts at Muhlenberg College.

Ghosts: French Holocaust Children is a three-dimensional installation that acts as an ethereal commemoration to these children’s abbreviated lives. This project is based on documents and photographs collected by author, lawyer, and Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld that have been reinterpreted and presented in the form of three 1/5-scale boxcars containing over 600 expressionistic portraits of these deported children plus a series of mural sized individual portraits.

During World War II, over 11,000 Jewish children were deported from France to Nazi death camps. These children were among more than 75,000 French Jews deported under the Nazi plan for the “Final Solution to the Jewish question.” Of those French Jews transported, only 2,564 survived the Shoah. At most 300 of these Jewish children survived.

Ghosts’ post-documentary approach transforms archival material by blending outer and inner realities to construct a historic media narrative that examines the extreme boundaries of human behavior regarding anti-Semitism, identity, loss, and memory, and racism, conveying a haunting sense of lost human possibilities.

Talk featuring the artist October 19th 5 - 6pm in the Recital Hall, Baker Center for the Arts‌


In Baker Center for the Arts Atrium:

Chicago based artist Jesse Mclean's Climbing 2009, is now on view in the Baker Center for the Arts. This time based work will remain on loan July through December 2016. Mclean will visit Muhlenberg in fall to give a public talk on her work November 9th, at 5 - 6:00pm, in the Recital Hall, Baker Center for the Arts.‌

Upcoming events and exhibitions:

Florence Foerderer Tonner: A life of Art and Ideas; Rare Book Exhibit Room, Trexler Library
Curated by Susan Falciani and Paul Nicholson
November – March 2017

Senior Thesis: Pivot Point in the Galleria Space
Thesis Faculty Joe Elliott
11/30/2016 – 12/15/2016
Opening Reception Wednesday November 30, 5:00 - 6:30pm

Roger Loos: Stone Koans
November 2017 – November 2018
An exhibition of stone works by Roger Loos. Four works will be on display in the garden walk [between Trexler library and Baker Center for the Arts] for one year starting November 2017

Works on loan by Jen Huh and Dan Golden will remain on extended loan and are on view in the Baker Center for the Arts through the end of 2016. Jen Huh is showing five of her God's eyes sculptures as an installation adjacent to the pitched glass atrium ceiling. Additionally Jennifer and Dan Golden collaborated on a new mural work, which is situated near the Paul C. Empie Theater.‌

The Martin Art Gallery is open Tuesday - Saturday 12 - 8pm, and The Martin Art Gallery's Galleria Space is open Monday - Sunday, 9:00am - 11:00pm*.  All of our exhibitions and programming are free and open to the public.  For further information, please visit, or call us at 484 664 3467

Artists may submit an exhibition packet or proposal for consideration to the gallery. Packets should include contact information and web portfolio link. Our gallery mailing address is: Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown, PA 18104. Proposals will be accepted on an ongoing/rolling basis, and prospective artists will be contacted by the gallery. Please do not submit original art work as the gallery cannot be responsible for caring for or returning unsolicited submissions. Promotional materials submitted for consideration will not be returned.

All art images are the property of Martin Art Gallery, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania. Any reproduction or distribution of this material without the expressed, written consent of the Martin Art Gallery is prohibited and a violation of federal law. All rights reserved.