RUNS DEC 4 – JAN 7, 2021

Observations & Experiences Exhibit to Open at Art Association of Harrisburg

Featuring PA native Peg Belcastro, Carden Holland, Maureen Joyce, and Julie Riker


After a long hiatus from invitational exhibitions, The Art Association of Harrisburg is pleased to announce Observations & Experiences, a four- artist show featuring the work of Pennsylvania native Peg Belcastro, Carden Holland, Maureen Joyce, and Julie Riker, on view beginning December 4th, 2020 through January 7th, 2021.

Unfortunately, there will be no opening reception due to COVID-19 restrictions and precautions. Despite this, there will be a video of the installed exhibition on all AAH social media platforms. We also encourage visitors to come view the show in person during standard operating hours at the gallery at 21 N. Front St., Harrisburg.

Peg Belcastro, a Pennsylvania native, knew as a young girl that she would follow a path in the arts. She studied ceramics at Bloomsburg University and enjoyed creating pottery and sculpture for a number of years. From 2002 to 2012 she lived in Alaska, and it was during her time there that she once again returned to her love of color and painting.

In her own words: “Color is everything! I love how the palette of a painting sets the mood for the narrative within. Creating the figures in my paintings using many layers of vivid and somber colors, collage elements, mark-making tools and whole body movements is a joyful experience for me, and I like to think that the viewer feels that joy when observing my work. I keep this quote by Mark Rothko always in mind: ‘A painting is not a picture of an experience, it IS an experience.’ What do I want to say with my art? Celebrate our humanness: acceptance of ourselves and others is my main objective.”

Carden Holland taught art for 23 years at Ledyard High School in Connecticut. She now lives in Lewisburg where she continues her artistic practice. Holland’s work is based on personal experiences: art students she taught, family, friends, pets, and places she has visited.

Unpredictability is an integral part of the technique she uses when creating her mixed media paintings. The layers in Holland’s work bring a visual depth that matches the personal meaning. Holland begins her process with a pencil line drawing that is then painted in thick tempera.

She explains in her own words: “The lines of the drawing are left unpainted with the space between the shapes varying in width. Once the paint has dried thoroughly, I coat the whole paper with India ink, completely obliterating the painting. After the ink has dried, I place the painting in the shower and hose it down. When saturated with water, the ink begins to lift off the paint and even the paint begins to lift off the paper. I allow this to happen in some places and not in other parts of the painting. Stains of color and some more opaque paint and ink on unpainted lines remain on the paper, creating a more graphic look to the painting… It is at this point that I get excited! This is the beginning of the final stage of painting for me. It has altered color and new textures (black ink on top of the paint), a flatter graphic look and black lines of varying width surrounding the shapes. I begin to work back into the composition using tempera paint and occasionally pastels until I determine the painting to be finished.”

Maureen Joyce’s ceramic pieces are undeniably recognizable with a simplified, cherub like, joyful face dawning much of her work. However, other pieces by Joyce, equally recognizable with her signature style, hold a heavier meaning than one may assume based on Joyce’s chosen aesthetic. In her words: “In making my art, I seek character not perfection. It is life experiences that provoke the representations I make. The human form translates my voice and communicates memories, emotions, and images I want to share. Growing up I was visually nourished with the beautiful sculptures in church, and in my studies I am driven to examine all that the human figure projects. My hope is to push the viewer to explore their interpretation of my thought provoking work.”

Julie Riker is an award- winning plein air painter. Her work has been featured in Plein Air Magazine and Fine Art Connoisseur, and she was recognized as an “Artist to Watch” by Southwest Art Magazine. Members of the AAH will recognize Riker’s striking landscapes and interiors. However, for Observations & Experiences Riker is focusing heavily on the human figure.

She says of her work: “I consider myself primarily an observational painter, painting mostly from life, and often outside ‘en plein air’. Painting in one session, ‘alla prima’ keeps the surface fresh. I like to look for interesting compositions and often it is a light effectual draws me to a particular idea, not the subject matter. With our current situation it has been difficult to find opportunities to paint live figures, so I am exploring the idea of working from photos while keeping the paint loose and fresh as if I were painting on location.” Riker currently maintains a studio space above the Cornerstone Coffeehouse in Camp Hill, PA.

Call The Art Association at 717-236-1432 or visit for more information.


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