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02 October 2007

Electrostatic Images at HACC’s Rose Lehrman Gallery

Images by Charles A. Arnold Jr., an early pioneer in Xerography, will be on display Oct. 15-Nov. 15 at the Rose Lehrman Arts Center Gallery on the Harrisburg Campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s College.

The 35 images in “Charlie Arnold: Love of the Visual” are made from found objects often from nature, though photographic and drawn elements also occur. His use of rich values and crisp details alongside ethereal passages of light and dark make the work stunning. Arnold, professor emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology, will talk about his work at 6 p.m. Nov. 6 in the theater of the Rose Lehrman Arts Center. A reception in the gallery will follow.

Arnold began his career when photography was just beginning to gain recognition as a fine art and was starting to be included in college art programs. In 1959 he began experimenting with the electrostatic process. The system was much more complex than the one-touch copying we know today; it used a camera without film, a processor, a toning tray and fuser compiled into a six-foot machine.

“Whereas the technology enabled Arnold to capture his images in rich detail and lushness of tone, it was his creative mind that achieved the final results. Arnold’s prints (electrostatic images), with their contrasting muted pastels, soft browns, and warm blue-blacks, reveal a complex, imagined world,” said Richard Peek, Director of the Rare Books and Special Collections Library, University of Rochester.

One of Arnold’s favorite characters, Wile E. Coyote, the prankster himself, appears in Arnold’s imagery and evokes the artist’s playfulness. His introduction to students during his 31-year teaching career at RIT included an admonition: “You have two choices in this life; you can be miserable or you can be happy. I choose to be happy and if you prefer to be miserable, I don’t want you in my class.”

Arnold received a BFA in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design, where he became the photographer at the Museum of Art and taught the first photography course. He received a MFA in Communication Design at RIT, working with Minor White and Beaumont Newhall at the George Eastman House. He also taught at the London Polytechnic, School of Photography as an exchange teacher and was a consultant to the Editora Abril, South America’s largest publisher.

He received a Fulbright-Hayes Senior Lectureship to exhibit and lecture in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in 1977. Upon his retirement 10 years later, RIT established the Charles Arnold Lecture Series to honor his contributions to the school.

Arnold has exhibited widely across the United States and abroad. Among his awards are “Regional Teacher of Distinction” from the Society of Photographic Education and “The Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching” at RIT In 1989 Arnold was the guest of honor at the First Studio Internacional de Electorgrafia at the 20th Bienal Internacional de Sao Paolo. In 1995 he received an Artist Fellowship at the Canon Workshop of Electrographic Technology at the International Museum of Electrography, Universidad de Castilla-La-Mancha, Cuenca, Spain. In 2006, the University of Rochester Rush-Rhees Library, Rare Books and Special Collections exhibited a major body of his Xerographs and purchased a body of work for its archive.

Gallery programs are free and open to the public. Hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 5-7 p.m. Tuesday and. For more information call 780-2435 or email kebanist@hacc.edu.

This exhibit is supported in part by the HACC Student Government Association. Gallery exhibits are made possible, in part, through Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, a local decision-making program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state created to encourage and promote the arts. Funding comes from the citizens of Pennsylvania through an annual state appropriation by the Legislature and from a federal grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. PPA is administered locally by Jump Street.

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