Abbey Ryan ’03, assistant professor of Art and Design, is the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Norman Johnston Faculty Fellowship in the Humanities and Social Sciences, beginning June 1, 2016 and ending May 31, 2018. Ryan was selected for her project “the light, the shade," which examines light/dark on form and Jeremy Bentham's panopticon as a visual metaphor. Her research involves Robert Lax's minimalist poetry, his ascetic/contemplative life on Patmos, Greece (one of the oldest known penal colonies in history), and Norman Johnston’s writings on “monastic imprisonment.”
Ryan is a recognized leader in the global “Painting a Day” movement in contemporary realist painting. Her work has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine; Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by best-selling author Seth Godin; Making It In the Art World and New Markets for Artists by Brainard Carey; and on FOX29’s Good Day Philadelphia. She was also ranked fifth on the list of 49 Creative Geniuses by Boost Blog Traffic. Ryan’s paintings are in more than 900 private, public, and museum collections around the world, including the John F. Peto Museum in New Jersey, Pratt Institute in Ithaca, N.Y., Mason Murer Fine Art in Atlanta, and Blutenweiss Gallery in Berlin.
Ryan joined Arcadia’s faculty in 2007. Each year since 2011, as part of her “Painting a Day” project, she hosts a live painting demonstration at Grey Towers Castle, and the auction of the piece contributes to the Jami Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship.
During Ryan’s undergraduate studies in Fine Art and Scientific Illustration at Arcadia, she studied painting at the Art Students League of New York and worked as a scientific illustrator at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the Department of Plant Biology at Stanford University. She has completed postgraduate work at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and earned her MFA from Hunter College/CUNY.
The Dr. Norman Johnston Faculty Fellowship was endowed by the estate of Dr. Norman Johnston to encourage talented and dedicated faculty members to excel in research and scholarship in the humanities and social sciences and to share their knowledge with the University community. The fellowship promotes the values of Professor Emeritus Norman Johnston, who understood the central role of faculty in the education process, the open exchange of ideas, and the engagement of the entire University community.
Dr. Johnston joined Arcadia in 1962 and was an international expert on the history of prison architecture. He taught at the University for 30 years, retiring in 1992. Dr. Johnston passed away in October 2012 at the age of 91.