Dan Mader, professor emerita at Mount St. Joseph University, presented his art exhibit A Retrospective in the Studio San Giuseppe Art Gallery from March 1 to March 29.

Mount St. Joseph News


Dan Mader, professor emerita at Mount St. Joseph University, presented his art exhibit A Retrospective in the Studio San Giuseppe Art Gallery from March 1 to March 29. Several art students submitted glowing reviews of his work. 


“Mader’s exhibit A Retrospective truly does not disappoint the lit flame of intrigue created by the unusual lighting inside the gallery. A desire for investigation is quite simply what Mader strives so avidly to procure from his collection of a variety of sculptures composed of neon light tubes surrounding everyday objects and stunning photography. Mader states that he greatly wishes for those who take interest in his work to allow the art to inspire them to ponder ‘the big questions of life that no one ever answers’. Yet, Mader will also be the first to tell you that he creates his light displays simply because he finds joy in building them. He finds inspiration in the whimsy, silly elements of life. One can take away from Mader’s exhibition that he develops each of his pieces with the awareness that artists of all crafts possess-that everyone has been gifted with time to find purpose for themselves and for their lives.”


-- Molly Mckee


“Currently in the gallery is a whimsical modge podge of neon sculptures and photographs cataloguing the extensive travel and inner thoughts of Mader. These compositions stand alongside artifacts and sketches from previous projects, enhancing the tangibility of the exhibition. The buzzing emanating from the neon lights paired with their ethereal glow transports you into a whole other dimension. Certain pieces seem to jump off the walls, such as Ballin’ Bawlin’ Bowlin’ and Siracusa. Ballin’. Bawlin’ Bowlin’ is a neon composition featuring the words from the title arranged in a triangle. It displays a minimalistic style with repetition in the font and pronunciation of the words, something rare in many fields of art. There is also harmony and unity present in the value of the colors and font chosen. Siracusa is one of many photographs displayed on the wall and features curved archways that end in a patio. The matte surrounding the black and white photo mirrors the archways and gives the illusion of depth, and the repetition emphasizes the structural quality of the photograph and simulates movement. This exhibit is truly magical and a must-see.”


-- Carissa Palazzolo


“Mader’s collection of photography from his travels causes a sense of calm to wash over you. In the back of the gallery you will find seven photographs that seem very cryptic at first glance. They are labeled with little yellow arrows that point at rocks and boulders, which are actually the remnants of ancient burial sites where the people of the culture would sit at graveyards and mourn their lost loved ones. By including other cultures, Mader expands our worldview, one of the main missions of the Mount. We understand our existence through the experiences that we allow ourselves to partake in. Mader displays this through his experimenting with neon and a collection of scraps to make something beautiful again.”


-- Koryn Thomas


“What Mader is trying to say in these works is that everything is connected, the good and the bad. Everything has a role to play in this world and nothing can escape. Mader says, ‘Different humanity seeks the same.’ Everyone in society has a different view about the world, but all of us seek for the same basic needs regardless of our cultures. Everyone wants to have a sense of belonging. Everything links together, exhibited by the neon bars all wrapped around each other and hanging by that one chain. There is no movement because everything is being held together tightly, showing that there are some things in this world that are bound together and cannot be moved or freed. In Mader’s pieces, everything fits together and belongs.”


--Ruth Dadosky


“Mader’s work sheds light on the ugliness of today’s world. He plays on the dark things such as discrimination, gun violence, war, and natural disaster. At the same time, he makes his art whimsical. He shows how easy it is to take all of the dark things going around and ignore it because it doesn’t affect you, and that it’s important to care about other people and be conscious of what happens to this world by using the quote from Mark Twain, ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice and bigotry.’ Mader’s art makes you work and participate to understand the deeper meaning.”


--Sophia Squeri


A Retrospective by Dan Mader is a testament to the human experience. Extended Blended Religion, for example, is a neon multimedia work featuring a sculpture of a putto in the center of a quasi-arachnid form from a form of paganism. It combines two opposing religious symbols together creating a great contrast. This perfectly summates the contents of the gallery -- a calamity of contrasting elements to create a beautiful chaos. The blended, extended art-mixed media, installations, travels, research, recollections, and souvenirs of Mader’s neon exhibition have no cemented meaning, but that is not to say the gallery is without meaning. This show of contrast and memory gives an opportunity for you, the viewer, to be retrospective as well.”


--Alfonso Huckleberry