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Instructor Profile: Alexis Granwell

Alexis Granwell is teaching Drawing and Studio Painting for CE this fall. She also teaches Drawing for the Pre-College Saturday School and Summer Institute.

As a young girl, Granwell loved making things and would spend a lot of time drawing or building dioramas. Her grandmother was a painter, and she credits studying her grandmother's mark-making and brushstrokes in the pieces her parents had around the house as one of her earliest influences. Having grown up outside Washington, D.C., Granwell said she was also lucky enough to have visited the National Gallery over and over again. "Seeing artwork has always been an inspiration for me," she said.

Graduating with a BFA in Painting from Boston University, Granwell then earned an MFA in Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. Recently, Granwell has been most interested in working somewhere between painting and sculpture. She is inspired by urban decay and intrigued by the cyclical aspect of structures falling apart and being rebuilt. "I study and collect arrangements of trash and weathered objects that fill the surrounding neighborhood by my studio," she said. "These eroded items fit together to create their own language of strength and fragility."

In her 3-D work, Granwell often incorporates found objects with objects she has constructed or cast out of paper. She is interested in the boundaries between the beautiful and the abject. "The forms themselves are made from materials that can be easily broken during construction and they will degrade over time." She sees these sculptures and installations as events still occurring.

Granwell has exhibited work in group shows locally and regionally as well as nationally and internationally. Shows slated for 2010 include The Print Center in Ontario, Canada, and BMW Headquarters International Group Exhibition in Beijing, China, among others. Granwell has also had solo exhibitions in Philadelphia, Arlington, Va., and Vilnius, Lithuania. In 2009 Granwell was awarded a Professional Development Grant
from the University of the Arts Division of Continuing Studies and a Keyholder's Residency Fellowship at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring, Md.

In addition to her studio practice and teaching, Granwell has spent the past year curating shows and performing studio visits for the Philadelphia collective gallery, Tiger Strikes Asteroid. She first became interested in curating after exposure to visiting critics and artist panels while in graduate school. As a curator and member of this Philadelphia art gallery, Granwell has become more attuned to the contemporary art scenes in New York and Philadelphia. She believes this knowledge enriches her curriculum. "The concept of artist as curator is another way to prepare and educate students about the diverse global art market," she said.

Granwell is teaching Drawing on Tuesday nights beginning September 28. The course runs from 7:00 - 10:00 pm for 10 weeks and ends on November 30. She is also teaching a 10-week Studio Painting course on Thursday nights from 7:00 - 10:00 pm. Studio Painting is September 30 - December 9. Visit her website at alexisgranwell.com.

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