Magical! The Artwork at Cerulean Collective Galleries

October 26, 2018 | Carol Taylor-Kearney

The first artwork that hits your eye, right from the very front door, is Fran Gallun’s “Golden Artifacts”.  Partly because of its position—it is on the wall down the middle hallway of the

 gallery spaces, partly because of the size, but mostly because of its glow.  Warm and golden colors hold shapes like vessels, plants, and boxes—some blurred to the

 ground, others that stand out.  This is a floating world where some objects line up as on a surface and some dissipate into the field of color.  The arrangement seems to form a dance both around and back and forth—kind of like lived experience and the past or wakefulness and dream. There is a playfulness with materials but these materials, and there are many, are traditional art materials used beautifully.  In a piece like “In Harmony” or “Pink Leaves”, I could easily accept that collage was used even though it wasn’t, especially when compared to “Illuminated Still Life” or even “Fallen Fruit” where collage was used.  If looking for a title to Gallun’s exhibition here, you need go no further than “Language

of Shapes” which seems to give us her unending vocabulary.  Strangely, I don’t know why, but standing in the hall looking from “Golden Artifacts” to “Language of Shapes”, I think of Paul Klee.  But I will let Gallun speak for herself when it comes to art inspiration.  She does this with her “A Visit with Bonnard”.  Truly a showpiece.

“Seven Days of Creation” donated to Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

FranGallun-hangnig-artworkSpotlight: The Art of Giving

Noted painter, sculptor, curator and mixed-media artist Fran Gallun began her “Seven Days of Creation” series in the midst of a 1996 winter blizzard. Getting to her studio was out of the question, but she had a vision that just couldn’t wait to be expressed. So she started working in her New Jersey home, using her young son’s art supplies.

“I started with the Third Day,” says Gallun of the mixed media series, which utilizes the Hebrew and English texts of the creation story. “If you look at it, you’ll see the leaves I pinched off from a house plant.”

Read the entire article

Haddonfield artist converts clutter into creations

Original article appeared in the Courier Post on October 19, 2014

Haddonfield artist converts clutter into creationschl1019frangallun

Fran Gallun can look at the clutter on the top of her workbench — things like recycled yogurt cups holding water and paint brushes, tiny caps of watercolor paints, scraps of foil, faded photographs — and whip them into art.

Sometimes she’ll use watercolors and pencils, and more often in her current favorite method, scissor-snipped strips of paper and doodle-like vertical sketches. The stuff that makes it stick together can be Elmer’s water-based glue.

A mixed-media artist, Gallun relies heavily on found items and recycled bits. When she pulls it together, in cylindrical columns or in 2-D work, she invites an onlooker to use imagination mixed with memories.

Gallun’s art ranges from landscapes speckled with images of sandy desert mounds in Israel, tabletops crammed with household items and flowers both living and dying.

The canvases and paper pull a viewer with a feeling of comfort and whimsy. If one thing doesn’t call out to your soul, move on a few feet.

The work can be gift card-sized or massive.

“Just so it fits into the station wagon,” she says.

Most are hung and balanced on shelving in a nearly 500-square-foot studio in Haddon Township’s SoHa building on White Horse Pike. More than one “shelf” that supports a bit of art is the top edge of a cardboard shipping box. She’s filled almost every space in the gallery with completed art work and has brightened some hallways of the two-story building dedicated to traditional artist space and to creative tenants including make-up artists, chocolatiers and bakers.

“You’re looking at 35 years of work,” says Gallun, who lives in Haddonfield.

Some of her favorite pieces are on view at the Cosmopolitan Club on Latimer Street in Philadelphia, a block from Rittenhouse Square. The show ends today.

Gallun, who previously worked in studios in Camden and Merchantville, grew up in West Philadelphia, and perfected her skill at the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts), the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and later as both a student and teacher for 25 years at The Fleisher Art Memorial in South Philadelphia.

She also taught for five years at Rowan University and had been an artist in residence at Haddonfield Memorial High School. She curated shows at the Katz Community Center in Cherry Hill and had her work on display at Philadelphia’s Rosenfeld Gallery.

At this point, says Gallun, who chats continually as she walks a visitor through her gallery, she’s into a horizontal phase, with collages of thin strips of her own recycled work along with cut-outs from photographs from the 1980s, which are fading into sepia-like tones.

Some works include snips from her print-making days. They generate hints of archeology.

“I love this studio,” says Gallun, who was one of the first tenants in the SoHa space when it was re-created as a home for artists three years ago. She previously had used space in an area shared with potters, where there often was no heat and definitely no air conditioning. She told the SoHa landlord what kind of shelving she would need for her work, and insisted they not refinish the old wooden flooring.

“I used to do oils on canvas. Now, I’m working more on paper, creating collages. It’s about alchemy and hidden items and what’s underneath it all,” she said.

Recently Libby Rosof , who writes for, said Gallun’s work, while on display at The Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art, showed “spiritual quests for connection to ancestors and the land.” The works, wrote Rosof, “capture the ripple of oasis mirages in the desert in breathtaking technicolors.”

The SoHa gallery space is a haven for many artists and professionals tied to the arts, so popular that there is a waiting list for spaces, said Lavon Phillips, who coordinates workspace and special needs with business partner Dominic Flamini.

“We started with 10 studios. Fran was working in the back of the space with broken windows and no heat. We had a plan for her. It was a mishmash, but she knew what she wanted and we built her studio around her. She’s a mentor for a lot of younger artists,” said Phillips.

The building on White Horse Pike has been through a variety of forms and uses since it was built in the early 1960s, said Flamini. It was home to uses as varied as batting cages and, recently, an upscale salon and spa.

Rent is based on square footage and includes most utility costs, security via 24-hour video, a strong Wi-Fi signal, parking and the option for tenants to involve themselves in community outreach programs like Art Within Reach.

To involve the neighborhood and show off the potential of Haddon Township as a magnet for artists, the gallery will sponsor a free outdoor screening of the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas” at 6 p.m. on Oct. 24. Attendees under 18 are encouraged to go in costume. Gourmet concessions will provide food and adult attendees can bring their own beverages. Everyone should bring a chair.

This Christmas, artists will work together to create a Christmas village, opening Dec. 13 in the showroom that faces Haddon Avenue. Children enrolled in art and puppet-making classes will help with the design and creation.

Phillips said tenants include not just artists, photographers and interior designers, but party-planners and poets, bakers, cheese-makers, chocolatiers, a physical trainer and, most recently, a coffee roaster. A filmmaker has signed on as the next tenant, and studio space is available for hourly rental for photographers.

“We wanted to create a space for makers without pigeon-holing them. We give them the opportunity to make something with both their hands and their minds,” said Phillips.

Work stations include power and hand tools, a professional photo printer, exhaust fans, and a sewing machine — as well as two 3-D printers, are available to the tenants. The building is handicap-accessible and open for use by tenants 24/7, said Phillips.

It’s a location where children and adults can take classes on robotics and drones, candy making and art in every form. It’s been dubbed SoHa Smart because it welcomes “makers, artisans, revolutionists, and techies,” Phillips said.

If you go

Fran Gallun’s mixed media work will be on exhibit at The Cosmopolitan Club, 1616 Latimer Street, Philadelpha through Oct. 16. The building is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. To 4 p.m., and evening hours by appointment. The phone for the club is (215)735-1057.

SoHa Arts Building is located on White Horse Pike in Haddon Township. For information about individual artists and crafters, class schedules and field trips, go to


20140323_100527In March 2014, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Israel once again with the intention of spending part of the time doing artwork.

Friends there had encouraged me to visit the Negev, the southern part of the country, which is considered dry, rocky and arid. Especially, they said, the Ramon crater, which is a very large (25 miles long) area of beautiful rock formations, trails, colors of the desert. Just what I see and portray in my work.

Len and I spent three days in Mitzpe Ramon, the small town near the crater, and it was everything they described and more. I felt at home there, and completely happy to be “in the earth”.

Returning to Jerusalem, Len departed after a few days of sightseeing, and I got to work for the next short week.

20140327_093232It’s always a difficult to begin, but the importance of uprooting oneself from familiar places, people and routines, and spending time with one’s art, cannot be overstated. Each time I have been “in residence” my art has moved more quickly than it would at home. Time c
anges and becomes elongated, and being free from home bound events and affairs leaves you alone with your work- no way out!

But as Len told me long ago, when away, your art becomes your friend, and you have a different relationship with it.

Take a look at some of the work I did there, and how it has changed since. You can also see why the crater was a good choice for a visit, as well as the ancient, history-laden rocks and hills of Jerusalem. Slide show below.


20140324_113936 20140324_113948 20140324_112419 20140324_111931 20140323_100527 20140323_100455 20140313_114347 20140313_093803 20140312_052409 20140312_052210

Thoughts on Depth and Flickering Depth

It was 2012 and I was very involved and engaged with using the old photos of Israel, as well as making more monotypes to see how they would fit into the mix.Depth I was working on a large piece, which later came to be called “Many Worlds”, and as I often do when blocked; I start another one (or two).

I took a large piece of paper, 30×44, and painted it green, not having any idea of what would come next. Somehow I had the notion of painting squares about 3×3, and adding some kind of painted symbols into the squares. I saw pretty quickly that the symbol idea didn’t work inside the squares, so I tried using the thin strips of photos.

I didn’t plan any of the colors of the photos, just went along obsessively cutting and pasting, trusting my instinct for the right combinations.

I could see that the pattern I was creating was an optical play that made a satisfying surface. I call this one “Depth”.

Flickering Depth

When one works, you must go onto a second!

So I painted the next paper purple, added the painted boxes, and began cutting the strips, but this time some leaves I had cut from monoprints and used on “Many Worlds” found their way onto this paper, and I loved the effect. Flickering leaves falling across the surface felt good to me. I glued them down and then adapted the strips around them. I call it “Flickering Depth.”

Somehow both these large pieces seem magical to me.

Recently I started another large piece and began with squares on painted paper. This time I have filled in the boxes with lines of colored pencil, creating a beautiful soft pattern. But, beauty is not enough! Action is needed!


This one has turned into a different kind of imaginary landscape, a close-up of lush plants in the foreground, desert mountains in the background.

the_other_Side_of _the_MountainIt’s so new that I haven’t named it yet.


Update: June 20, 2014

So now it has a name: The Other Side of the Mountain.  I am quite pleased with it, although it is still a bit unfamiliar. I think it heralds a slight shift. We’ll see.

This summer it will be on view at the Fleisher Faculty show, which opens July 18, 2014.

See  for more information.