Press Release

PAFA Alumni Gallery Presents A Question of Scale: Paintings by Three Muralists Jon Laidacker, Charles Newman and Thomas Walton

PAFA Alumni Gallery Presents

A Question of Scale: Paintings by Three Muralists

Jon Laidacker, Charles Newman and Thomas Walton

On view through April 20, 2014

Gallery Talk: February 23, 12 p.m.

Philadelphia, PA (February 10, 2014) – The PAFA Alumni Gallery presents an exhibition of studio work by three distinguished PAFA alumni and mural artists in A Question of Scale: Paintings by Three Muralists – Jon Laidacker, Charles Newman and Thomas Walton, on view through April 20, 2014. The gallery is located inside PAFA’s Historic Landmark Building at 118 North Broad Street, Philadelphia.

Held in conjunction with PAFA’s special exhibition, Beyond the Paint: Philadelphia’s Mural Arts (through April 6), A Question of Scale highlights the significance of mural-making on the artists’ creative practices. Included are landscapes, portraits and still lifes, as well as digital paintings and video.

The three artists have collaborated on various murals throughout Philadelphia, including the 85,000-square foot How Philly Moves (2011) project at the Philadelphia International Airport—the Mural Arts Program’s most ambitious project to date. The large-scale mural transforms the airport’s parking garage into a welcoming and vibrant gateway to the region for travelers. Jon Laidacker led the team of participating muralists, which included Tom Walton and Charles Newman, as well as volunteers from Germantown.

Of his work, Laidacker has said: “The technique and process are really important to me when I am working on a project because I try to think of these large-scale projects so much as a graphic design or a produced piece of art. Anytime I am working on the various aspects of a mural, I harken back to color theory and things that we learned in our seminar classes [at PAFA]. So just trying to put that more intense conceptual thought into my work is probably how my PAFA experience influenced me the most.”

A free gallery talk with Laidacker, Newman and Walton will be held on Sunday, February 23 at 12 p.m.


MFA Picks: Matthew Colaizzo, Kristin Grey Apple & Samantha Mitchell

April 25 – July 13, 2014

The Alumni Gallery will feature a selection of over 20 prints, paintings, drawings, and video work by recent PAFA MFA graduates Matthew Colaizzo (’11), Kristin Grey Apple (‘11), and Samantha Mitchell (’12) in MFA Picks, on view beginning April 25.

Matthew Colaizzo’s woodblock prints are inspired by the landscape of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, where the mining industry has devastated much of the natural world. Colaizzo describes his studio practice as “an investigation of the mood, air, atmosphere, aura, light, and spirit of the landscape through woodblock printing, [which] enables me to explore different color and printing schemes relating to ambience of a vista, which is ever changing.”

As a video artist, Kristin Grey Apple creates abstract and narrative imagery as she changes perspectives and timing to show a deeper meaning through the slow unveiling of people in motion, or the sounds of nature. “The lens of my camera and the lens of my eye are the media for my visual work, one rigid and one flexible, both in pursuit, and both protective.  Video allows me to re-present the tension between my eyes' receptivity and my eye's desire to close,” Apple explains.

Samantha Mitchell’s complex paintings, prints and drawings focus on the patterns and chaos that play against each other in nature. Of her work, Mitchell says: “The consistent tension between order and chaos is inherent in anything formed through an organic process. It creates a kind of stability that is ceaselessly in motion, a fabric that weaves the two together into an imperfect pattern that is simultaneously volatile and pensive… I hope to engage this phenomenon in my work by both witnessing and interacting with it.”

An Opening Reception will be held Thursday, April 24, 5:30-7:30 p.m.


Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is America's first School of Fine Arts and Museum. A recipient of the 2005 National Medal of Arts presented by the President of the United States, PAFA is a recognized leader in Fine Arts education. Nearly every major American artist has taught, studied, or exhibited at PAFA. The institution's world-class collection of American art continues to grow and provides what only a few other art institutions in the world offer: the rare combination of an outstanding Museum and an extraordinary faculty known for its commitment to students and for the stature and quality of its artistic work.
Last Updated
April 11, 2017 - 4:26 PM

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is the United States’ first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers a world-class collection of American art, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and educational opportunities in the fine arts. The PAFA Museum aims to tell America's diverse story through art, expanding who has been included in the canon of art history through its collections, exhibitions, and public programs, while classes educate artists and appreciators with a deep understanding of traditions and the ability to challenge conventions. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.