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‘Gathering the Names’ exhibit features intricate cut-fiber panels


Gathering the Names” is the first exhibit of 2020 at The Gallery at Penn College, located on the third floor of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Madigan Library.

Showcasing works by multimedia artist Sarah Nguyen, who uses folklore as a source of artistic inspiration, the exhibit runs Jan. 14 through Feb. 28. A reception is set for Thursday, Jan. 23, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., with an artist’s talk at 5:30 p.m. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

“Ginkgo Message” is a hand-cut fiber panel measuring 144 inches by 33 inches.
“Ginkgo Message” is a hand-cut fiber panel measuring 144 inches by 33 inches.

Storytelling is central to Nguyen’s series of cut-fiber panels. The blade-cut, intricate compositions are mostly landscape-based and feature symbolic motifs – flora, fauna and an ever-changing moon – to elicit childhood memories of myths, fables and folklore. The large sheets are hung from the ceiling and away from the wall so that directed light casts strong shadows behind them, a nod to the flickering, fire-lit rituals of our paleo ancestors. Fiber cutting is a means of making drawing three-dimensional, with lacy panels enticing viewers with their complexity and content.

Nguyen's "Barbara - Foreign," 85 inches by 49 inches; hand-cut Tyvek and wooden rod, spray-painted paper
Nguyen’s “Barbara – Foreign,” 85 inches by 49 inches; hand-cut Tyvek and wooden rod, spray-painted paper

In addition to folklore, Nguyen uses reverence, refinement of nature and observance of daily life as concepts behind her artwork. She attempts to temporarily return viewers to a state of childhood: dwelling in the senses, immersed in the images of stories, experiencing the primacy of the physical. The artist is less interested in directing viewers’ conclusions as she is in revealing them. The desired effect of this body of work upon the viewer is self-investigation.

Nguyen received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Fine Arts in painting from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She resides in Columbia, Missouri, with her husband and three sons.

The Gallery at Penn College, an educational resource for Penn College students and a cultural asset to the college and community, is dedicated to promoting art appreciation through exhibitions of contemporary art.

The gallery is open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 to 7 p.m.; Wednesdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. It is closed on Mondays and Saturdays and will also be closed on Sunday, Jan. 19.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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