Mercyhurst Magazine Fall 2017

SISTER ANGELICA EXHIBIT PLANNED FOR SUMMER 2018 In the summer of 2018, works by Sister Angelica will fll the Mercyhurst art gallery that was dedicated in her honor just 12 days before she died in 1984. The gallery, originally on the third foor of Old Main, was then located in Hammermill Library. In 1995, when the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center was developed, a larger Cummings Gallery was created in the new building’s lobby. About a dozen Sister Angelica paintings from Mercyhurst’s permanent art collection now fll an alcove on the frst foor of Old Main. They’ll be included in next summer’s show, but we’d like to include as many of her works as possible. If you’re the lucky owner of an Angelica original that you’d be willing to loan for the duration of the show (May 21-Aug. 10, 2018), please contact Cummings Gallery Director Heather Dana (814-824-2092, ) to make arrangements.

REMEMBERING HIS MENTOR Dan Burke was Mercyhurst’s frst male graduate and he’s now been on the Hurst art faculty for just about as long as Sister Angelica was. He started taking art classes at Mercyhurst in 1966 through a Gannon University co-op program, and graduated soon after coeducation was approved in 1969.

Sister Angelica studied art all her life, refning her techniques at workshops around the country and on trips to Europe. She worked primarily in oils, applied with a palette knife, though she used watercolors to depict New England coastal scenes during a workshop at the Starr School of Painting in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Her subject matter was traditional, a mix of fgures, landscapes and still lifes. Fittingly, she also painted religious works, from a set of 15 paintings illustrating the Mysteries of the Rosary to a depiction of the Last Supper that still hangs in Egan Hall. In the late ‘60s, she began to explore abstract expressionism. Sister Angelica was never educated in abstracts, and she taught only realism to her students, Burke says. “She simply came to the style on her own.” Burke’s favorite Sister Angelica work comes from this period: an oil titled “Storm Clouds.” It perfectly captures the essence of thunderclouds over Lake Erie in a somber palette of ochres, browns, blacks and whites. Burke says Sister Angelica continued painting in a “garret” on Egan’s fourth foor—with its wonderful lake views— through the late ‘70s, before worsening health forced her to move up the hill to the Mercy Motherhouse.

“Sister Angelica was the frst person I met here,” he recalls. She was his teacher, his faculty colleague, and his friend and confdante from his senior year until her death in 1984. “In a selfsh way, I like to think she looked at me as someone who could carry out her legacy,” he says. “She ofered me a job here as soon as I graduated.” Hers are big shoes to fll. What set Sister Angelica apart, Burke believes, is that she was professionally trained, not just in college classrooms but also in art studios around the country. Burke owns several of his mentor’s works, including more than a dozen charcoal fgure drawings from her days at the Art Students League in New York City, one of the best-known art studios in the country. One is dated March 1931. “Can you picture it?” he asks. “This little fve-foot nun in full habit sketching live models?”

Bruce and Rochelle Bavol recently donated a pair of Sister Angelica paintings to Mercyhurst in memory of Bruce’s parents, Doris M. and Michael J. Bavol. Doris Bavol was the niece of Sister Loretta McHale, a former president and professor at Mercyhurst, who received the works from her friend Sister Angelica.


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