Seton Hill University Associate Professor of Art Phil Rostek and recent Seton Hill graduate Todd Murray (SHU ’07) have collaborated on the exhibit “Moby Dick and Todd,” which will be presented from January 10 – February 6, 2008 at the Science Hall Art Gallery on Westmoreland County Community College’s Youngwood, Pa. campus. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and the exhibit is free and open to the public. A reception and gallery talk will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. on January 30.

“Moby Dick and Todd” incorporates Murray’s “photographically naturalistic dot drawings” of street musicians and popular recording artists with Rostek’s blind contour drawings. Rostek, like many drawing teachers, uses the technique of blind contour drawing – viewing or imagining an object then drawing it without referencing the paper– to teach drawing skills to new art students. After visiting a whaling museum, Rostek was inspired to put together an exhibit juxtaposing blind contour drawings of characters from the novel and movie of “Moby Dick” with realistic drawings of both well-known and obscure personalities. The exhibit is set to music, selected by Murray, called “Sea of Dreams.” The origins of the exhibit, according to Rostek, “reside in the conjecture that there might be more information in the juxtaposition or contrasting of styles than in homogenizing or unifying them.”

Todd Murray is a Pittsburgh native who won several awards for his art work in high school. He left his studies in a local college when his family moved to Iran. After returning to the United States, Todd joined the Air Force Reserves where he received a certificate for airframe drafting and structure. While in the service Todd traveled widely: Panama, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Bahrain, and Columbia. During his travels Todd made the acquaintance of a man who had survived a concentration camp during World War II. He befriended Todd and persuaded Todd to pursue his artwork. He forcefully held the conviction that the creation of art was a “precious gift.” After suffering a traumatic motorcycle accident, Todd not only recovered from a coma, he learned how to walk again. His doctors considered the extent to which he recovered to be a miracle. Todd earned a Bachelor of Art in Studio Art from Seton Hill University in May 2007. It was at Seton Hill that Todd developed the drawing methodology that is presented in this exhibition. Presently Todd lives with his wife, Dawn, who was on the medical team that transported him to Mercy Hospital at the time of his accident. Todd and Dawn live and work in Holiday Park, Pa.

Philip Rostek is an artist from Pittsburgh, Pa. and an associate professor of art at Seton Hill University. He has shown his work regionally, especially at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, at the Wood Street Galleries and Space in the Pittsburgh Cultural District, and with Group A and Art Up. Rostek is also a stable artist at the Fusion Arts Museum in New York City and has shown his combine pieces and collaborative work internationally.