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Art exhibition celebrates Wilson College's sesquicentennial works by Jim Condron
Installation view of You never wash it off completely at Wilson College, 2019.

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.- Wilson College’s Cooley Gallery presents ‘You never wash it off completely,’ an exhibition of installations and recent works by artist Jim Condron. The show will run from September 4th to December 15, 2019. To mark Wilson College’s sesquicentennial, Condron worked with the college’s archivists, professors, and students to construct compelling art installations from campus relics and artifacts. The works of art engage with Wilson College’s rich and unique history.

Condron will discuss the show as part of Wilson College’s Common Hour series on Monday, September 16th at 12:00 Noon in the John Stewart Memorial Library. Attendees will be invited to view the instillations, and then participate in a conversation with the artist moderated by Wilson’s MFA Program Director, Joshua Legg.

“A typical archives exhibit has a literal feeling with traditional objects arranged with descriptive labels. But in this art installation, Condron magnificently captures both the feeling of belongingness as well as the fleeting nature of each individual’s experience. This is about shared memories across time and the celebration of a community that endures.” - Amy Ensley, Director of the Hankey Center for the History of Women’s Education

Condron’s sculptures and assemblage constructions are pieces where nostalgia, stamina, repression, chance, expression, and vitality are in visual dialogue with the ephemeral materials of life that people and institutions choose to preserve or collect to create a legacy. Each work in the show is engaged with the history of Wilson College, art, and literature and examines shared and personal histories.

Among the objects included in the installations are a selection of dorm bedframes and two antique bedframes, one that once belonged to the original landowner of Wilson College, Colonel Alexander McClure and another that belonged to the College’s namesake and benefactor, Sarah Wilson. The exhibition also incorporates a Wilson canoe and vintage bowling pins, as well as early school uniforms, blazers, and banners from the College’s beginnings.

Each work of art is titled with a textual fragment from literature that intends to add to the piece’s rhetoric rather than naming or defining it. Titles are applied to the works the same way Condron assembles materials and are appropriated from literature by an array of great authors such as Toni Morrison, Ray Bradbury, Don DeLillo, and others.

In addition to the art installations, the show also includes sculptures the artist made over the past three summers while Condron taught in Wilson’s MFA program.

Jim Condron, originally from Long Island, NY and Connecticut, earned his MFA at the Leroy E. Hofffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art and holds a BA in Art and English from Colby College, Waterville, ME. He also studied at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. Since 1993, Condron has studied with Rohini Ralby, the artist's mentor. His work appears nationally and internationally in galleries and museums as well as in corporate, university, public and private collections. Condron has been awarded artist residencies at The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Edward F. Albee Foundation, and the Heliker Lahotan Foundation. He is a 2017 recipient of a Pollock Krasner Foundation grant, an Adolf and Esther Gottlieb Foundation grant and a Maryland State Arts Council grant for sculpture.

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