Art Alliance’s Abstraction Show invites imagination

Artist Gloria Scaltz will display “Begetter,” a 3-D collage, in the Art Alliance’s Abstraction Show.
Artist Gloria Scaltz will display “Begetter,” a 3-D collage, in the Art Alliance’s Abstraction Show. Photo provided

Abstract art can be difficult to understand because it’s not straightforward, but that’s the idea. Instead of a literal representation, abstraction allows people to explore their imagination and form a meaning for themselves.

Simply put, there’s more than one interpretation.

The Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania opens its Abstraction Show Nov. 11 at its Lemont location with 47 pieces.

The nonprofit organization offers the community access to art education workshops and opportunities to showcase artwork in gallery shows seven times each year.

Gloria Scaltz, of State College, is an active member of the Art Alliance and frequents classes and submits her artwork to the gallery shows throughout the year.

Although she taught art in the State College Area School District for 39 years, she has picked up various techniques from the workshops. In fact, after each class she takes the techniques she learns and applies them in her latest work.

Her piece for the Abstraction Show, “Begetter,” was inspired by her mother and her initiative. Though abstract art can be very fluid, Scaltz has created a formula for each three-dimensional collage she creates — a box, a bug and rust.

The box symbolizes saving precious things, as her mother did with her old cedar chest. The bug represents “life gone awry or not a good turn.” And Scaltz just likes the look of rust and the history of it.

“I hope people find a story in it that’s relevant to them,” Scaltz said.

Like Scaltz, many artists choose to use found objects as elements in their pieces.

Isabel Kumerz, of State College, had some leftover joint compound, which is used on drywall, so she decided to experiment with it. Kumerz’s piece explores the idea of recycling and the motif of the wheel of life.

Other materials she used in her piece include egg shells, soil and cat litter.

“Discovering, creativity — the more you experiment, the more you learn to apply to other things,” Kumerz said. “Everything informs your art.”

This particular Art Alliance show was open entry, meaning anyone 18 and older and living within a 100 mile radius could submit their artwork, according to chair of the show Bob Placky.

The pieces will be judged by professor of art at Penn State Rudy Shepherd, and monetary prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place.

Placky described abstract art as starting with a concept and then taking elements away.

“You’re getting to the essence of what it is,” he said. “It exists for itself, and you don’t think of it as an object.”

For Placky’s piece in the show, he chose to utilize something he’s familiar with growing in his backyard garden.

Garlic scapes are typically cut off from the bulb and discarded, but Placky was fascinated by the different curls and shapes they formed. He placed the scapes on his canvas and layer by layer misted the paint over his natural stencils.

Placky enjoys the open-endedness of abstract art and the endless exploration.

The show reception at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 will be an opportunity for artists and the public to engage and further explore the concepts showcased — maybe even seeing something differently than they did before.

“With abstract art there’s more space for imagination and you can interpret more,” Kumerz said. “I like that they imagine — people like it, people don’t.”


  • What: Abstraction Show
  • When: through Nov. 20; reception at 7 p.m. Nov. 11
  • Where: Art Alliance of Central Pa., 818 Pike St., Lemont
  • Info: http://www.artalliancepa.org