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Berman Museum Unveils Immersive Drawing Installation

An immersive drawing installation inspired by Collegeville, Phoenixville, and the Route 29 corridor between them now greets visitors to the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art. 

Especially commissioned for the museum, In the Weeds by Baltimore artist Amanda Burnham is the first in a yearly series that will be displayed on a 70-foot-long wall along the newly renovated Baldeck/Hollis Gallery on the ground floor of the Berman Museum.

“This piece enlivens the space and adds a texture to the overall Berman programming,” says Charles Stainback, director of the Berman Museum. “This is a bold, powerful, and colorful installation and we’re proud to have Amanda’s work inaugurate the new Baldeck/Hollis Gallery in the museum.” 

Burnham captured the welcoming stoops and wrought iron fences, and the vibrant signage and storefronts that give each borough its distinctive character. Narrative details abound in all of Burnham’s works, which, she says, “ambiguously straddle the observed and the invented as a way of achieving greater emotional nuance.”

The 1,500 square-foot Baldeck/Hollis Gallery was renovated over the summer. Burnham spent five days installing the piece with the help of Ursinus students, and she began her newly commissioned work by exploring the Ursinus College campus and its neighboring towns, taking hundreds of photographs to serve as source material for her drawings.

In the Weeds includes sketches of buildings, roads, and vistas painted directly on the walls of the gallery, collaged with cut-out drawings made on paper. The multilayered, densely-packed imagery unfolds before the viewers’ eyes, mimicking the construction sites and renovation projects that can transform neighborhoods overnight.

The artwork will remain on display until summer 2017, when a different artist will be asked to create a new piece for the gallery. –by Ed Moorhouse