Mercyhurst University alumnus, Will Ursprung ’76, is the featured guest in this year’s Mercyhurst University Art Faculty show. Ursprung earned his degree in Art Education from Mercyhurst University in 1976 where he had the opportunity to study with Ernest Mauthe, Daniel Burke, and Sister Angelica Cummings. He also studied at the University of Arts in Philadelphia and at the Barnes Foundation.
Ursprung then spent his thirty-five year career as an Art Therapist. He worked twenty of those years at the Graterford Prison, Pennsylvania’s largest maximum security penitentiary. There he used his skills as an art therapist,” to help others rehabilitate their lives and survive the prison experience.” It was at Graterford that his work in collage progressed. “There was a symbolic transformation where the recycling, repurposing, and reclaiming of discarded objects demonstrated the link between material salvage and personal salvation.
The exhibit has his small mixed media collages using found objects, steel, and wood. His interest in the found object and collage is influenced by primitive art, and Celtic, Norse, and Native American myth. In this group of works there are references to the eye. Ursprung is legally blind due to a retinal detachment. “I am not able to see well enough to have a driver’s license but I do see the world from a very different perspective.”
In 2013 Ursprung had a one man show entitled, “Tangible Spirits” at the Indigo Sky Community Gallery in Savannah, GA. Also in 2013 his works were selected for the national juried exhibition, “The Eye of the Beholder, The Fine Art of the Found Object” at the Maryland Federation of Art in Annapolis, MD. He completed an artist residency at the Cill Rialaig Project, Ballinskelligs, County Kerry Ireland which was funded by the Arts Council of Ireland. His artwork is included in the following collections: The Gallery at the Seligman Center for Surrealism, the James A. Michener Gallery at Kent State University, the Taller Galeria Fort in Barcelona, Spain, and the Musee Du Artcolle in Sergines, France.
As always, it is good to see a fellow alumnus of the University return to share their successes with current students, faculty, and alumni. The collection will be in the Mercyhurst Cummings Art Gallery from October 10th – November 16th! It also features Mercyhurst University Art Faculty including, Daniel Burke, Tom Hubert, Gary Cardot, Jodi Staniunas-Hopper, Robert Tavani, Mary Elizabeth Meier, Jamie Borowicz, and Patricia Tomczak-Czulewicz. Stop in to see all the incredible work.