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UD artists help arrange international sister city exhibit

Helen Mason, AS ‘84M, of Hockessin, works in a variety of media to create her sculptures, which have been exhibited and are held in private collections in the U.S., Japan, Korea and Germany.

11:08 a.m., May 26, 2006--Three UD alumni, members of a professional artists cooperative called SYNE, were instrumental in arranging an international art exhibition, “Parallel Visions,” the combined works of Delaware artists and their peers in Wilmington's five international sister cities.

The exhibition opened at five locations in Wilmington in November and is now traveling to several of the sister cities.

Deborah Stelling, AS ‘78, ‘84M, of Newark, creates artworks using many media, including silk screening, sculpture, drawing and painting.
“Parallel Visions” features the work of artists in Kalmar, Sweden; Watford, England; Fulda, Germany; Osogbo, Nigeria; Olevano sul Tusciano, Italy; and Delaware. Included in the exhibit are paintings, sculpture, batik, beadwork and performance art.

The touring show is the culmination of a 15-year dream of Delaware artist Valetta, who with the help of SYNE, planned and implemented the tour.

Among the seven artists who make up SYNE, three graduated from UD: Helen Mason, AS '84M, a sculptor; Deborah Stelling, AS '78, '84M, a founding member of SYNE who works in mixed media painting and sculpture; and Rick Rothrock, AS '78M, a sculptor and founding member of SYNE. Rothrock helped write the proposal creating “Parallel Visions” and is the official artist liaison with the Sister Cities of Wilmington board of directors for the exhibition.

“Syne members are very excited about a project that brings all these cultures together. It really is a wonderful thing,” Rothrock says.

“Art reflects the unique quality of a culture, and through it, one can gain an appreciation of the rich, multi-faceted qualities of that culture and its humanity,” he says. “For example, a Nigerian chief once described his culture as a 'gathering of chiefs organized by a king,' and you can see those relationships depicted in their art.”

Rick Rothrock, AS ‘78M, of Wilmington, has been a sculptor and art advocate in the Wilmington arts community for 27 years. He has exhibited all over the world and helped found the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts and SYNE, a regional group of exhibiting artists.
The exhibit displays more than 120 pieces, the works of 66 artists, including alumni Rothrock, Mason, Stelling, Charles Allmond AG '53, '57M and Roberta Tucci AS '99/M.

Each of the SYNE artists concentrated on one foreign city. Mason was paired with Nigeria's artists. “The Nigerian artists did mostly two-dimensional work,” she says. “Some worked in metal, but there were no three-dimensional pieces. They mostly did bead and string paintings, batik on rice paper rather than cloth. I am a sculptor and it was a very rewarding experience for me being paired with artists whose work was so different from mine.”

Mason says getting an exhibition of this magnitude together took four years of very hard work, but “it turned out to be a great cultural event for the city.”

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