Emily Brett Lukens

Emily Brett Lukens

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    1943 – 2020

    In Remembrance of Our Friend Emily Brett Lukens

    – by Lily Horner


    Archived Works


    Large Black Paintings


    Artist's Biography

    In Memoriam

    September 13, 1943 - May 16, 2020

    The Following is an article from Legacy.com:

    Well known printmaker, artist and teacher, 76, died suddenly from cardiac arrest Saturday, May 16, 2020 at her Philadelphia home. A beloved teacher at the Samuel F. Fleisher Art Memorial for fifteen years, she taught advanced lithography, drawing composition and painting fundamentals to an often-returning cast of enthusiastic students of all ages. "Her students loved her classes," Joan Rainer wrote to the family. "We had a number of regulars who wouldn't take anyone else's classes."

    Ms. Brett Lukens, who studied under famed printmaker Hitoshi Nakazato and earned a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania (1981) and subsequently taught print-making there, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Moore College of Art and Design. She was a well-known artist in the mid-Atlantic states and on Deer Isle, Maine, where she and her husband, architect and artist William Lukens, have a summer home.

    After raising her two children, she went back to school and focused on establishing an art career, financing it at first with retail jobs at Burberry and Thomas Moser Cabinet Makers. She was one of the pioneering artists to stake out loft space in Old City factories in 1985. Her friends recall a great cook who loved Country Western dancing, refused to tip less than 20%, had an infectious laugh, and no end of love for cats which she adopted from Maine's The Ark Animal Shelter, which she had supported for years.

    "My work is about texture," she once explained in an artist's statement. "I use these images to collage and paint mixed-media works that represent close-up and far away views of the earth." Her nonrepresentational images often combined oil paint stick, acrylics, graphite and sand. She enjoyed collecting found objects -- various shaped stones, small rocks, shells and rusted metal remnants. Scattered in her studio located near the Italian Market, the small piles of these items gave her inspiration and ideas for her art. She often took students there to show them how artists set up their working spaces. When the pandemic hit earlier this year, she continued to meet with her class via Zoom.

    Student Julie Levitt marveled how Ms. Brett Lukens did not "pressure students to follow her,", but would "observe and inquire and mostly listen, intently and well… She told us to be courageous and confident enough to 'dare to be ugly.'"

    Her art was acclaimed. In Maine Art Now, 1991, author Edgar Allen Beem, wrote "Emily Brett's three mixed-media 'Rock Form' drawings stand out as strong, simple masses, handily drawn and nicely differentiated by surface texture. They work both as representation and act." The Philadelphia Inquirer published her work in two 1995 articles, "Meet the Neighbors" and "A Pairing of Peers," by art critic Edward Sozanski.

    Her many awards include the 1983 Corporate Purchase Award from the Charlotte North Carolina Prints and Drawing Society, the 1983 Purchase Award, West Chester (PA) University Print Exhibition, and 1991 Best of Show, Abington Art Center in Abington Township.
    Ms. Brett Lukens exhibited her work in many solo and group exhibitions. Among solo exhibitions: "Artists on Paper II" Dolan/Maxwell Gallery - Philadelphia, "Recent Works" Lawrence Hall Gallery - Rosemont, "Beyond Geometry - Maine Coast Artists" Rockport, ME, "Moore on 2nd" Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, "15 Year Survey: Paintings, Drawings and Prints" Dreyfus & Associates, and "Double Take" The George School- Newtown, PA. Emily Brett Lukens was born on September, 13, 1943 in Grosse Pointe, Michigan to Edward H. and Eleanor Wallace.

    In addition to her husband she is survived by son Peter Brett and his wife Amy Prozan, sister Carol Ohr, grandchild Molly Brett Silverman, nieces Jennifer Farragher and Catherine Finnegan; great nieces and nephews Patrick, Jenna and Connor Farragher, and Luke and Kyle Finnegan. Her step-daughters include Helina McClatchy, Annie Kirkpatrick, Molly Dompe and Ellie Lukens. Her step grandchildren, Samuel and Gus Wright, Wren and Russell Kirkpatrick, Henry and Sylvie Dompe, and Orrie and Alexandra Carroccia. Emily was predeceased by her daughter Dr. Alison Brett and nephew Dr. Joseph Ohr.

    ("EMILY LUKENS obituary", Legacy, 2020) 

    Artist's Statement

    My work is about texture. I use resources from nature to create rubbings on thin papers. I use these images to collage and paint mixed media works that represent close-up and far away views of the earth. In my work, time is an element, and I am interested in reconfiguring the ancient, bringing it into a contemporary context. The non-representational images are made by combining oil paint stick, acrylic, graphite and sand. I generally produce a series of 4 or 5 images related to one subject. When hung together, the assemblages reinforce a common theme.

    Selected Exhibitions

    Visiting Guest Artist: Emily Brett Lukens, Isalos Gallery, Stonington, ME

    Chosen Places, Deer Isle Artists Associates, Deer Isle, ME

    Prints from Tamarind, Deer Isle Artists Associates, Deer Isle, ME

    Recent Works, Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA

    15 Year Survey Paintings, Drawings And Prints, Dreyfus and Associates, Philadelphia, PA

    The Tropics, Katharine Butler Gallery, Sarasota, FL, Brooksville, ME

    Mixed Media Paintings, Rosenfeld Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

    Recent Paintings and Drawings, Main Street Studio and Gallery, Deer Isle, ME

    Moore on 2nd, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA

    New Works, Deer Isle Artist Association, Deer Isle, ME

    Beyond Geometry, Maine Coast Artist, Rockport, ME

    Works on Paper, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA

    Recent Works, Lawrence Hall Gallery, Rosemont, PA

    Artists on Paper II, Dolan/Maxwell Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

    Print Annual, Associated American Artists, New York City, NY

    Philagrafika Invitational, bahdeebahdu Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

    Prince Street Invitational, The Prince Street Gallery, New York, NY

    Surface TENSION, The Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA

    Philagrafika Exhibition at William Penn Foundation, Philadelphia, PA

    National Juried Show, Katharine Butler Gallery, Sarasota, FL

    The Maine Print Project, Maine Printmakers:1980-2005, CMCA, Rockport, ME

    Crossovers: Crafts, Art, Design, Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE

    Consignment Exhibition, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE

    A Pairing of Peers, Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA

    Gallery Artists: Old and New, The Turtle Gallery, Deer Isle, ME

    Art of the State, The State Museum, Harrisburg, PA

    30 Years of Printmaking, University of Pennsylvania, Arthur Ross Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

    29th Open Juried Exhibition, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA

    93rd Annual Members Exhibition of PAFA, James A. Michener Museum, Doylestown, PA

    Maine Coast Artists 10th Annual Exhibition, The Barn Gallery, Ogunquit, ME

    Philadelphia Eye, Peter Singesten Gallery, at Pace University, New York City, NY

    63rd Annual International Competition of Prints & Photographs, The Print Club, Philadelphia, PA

    Artist's Bibliography

    Grant, Amy "Neighborhood Artists" QVNA, November 2015, pg 18

    Professional Experience

    2003 - present
    Faculty, Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA
    Drawing, Painting, Printmaking

    1999 - 2000
    Lecturer/Instructor, Graduate School of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

    1997 - present
    Adjunct Faculty, Bucks County Community College, Newtown, PA
    Design, Drawing

    1989 - 1991
    Visiting Artist, Rosemont College, Rosemont, PA

    1989 - 1990
    Assistant Professor, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA

    1980 - 1984
    Visiting Artist, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

    Selected awards

    2005 - 2006
    Dene M. Loucheim Faculty Fellowship recipient Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA

    Merit Award, printmaking, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA

    2nd prize, Fifth Annual Heart Show, juried competition, Need in Deed charity at Krisheim, Chestnut Hill, PA

    Professional Development Grant: James Madison University, Workshop at Orkney Springs, VA

    Best of Show, Works on Paper, Abington Art Center, Jenkintown, PA

    Wheeler H. Page Memorial Award, 29th Open Juried Exhibition, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA

    The Leon Bunkin Prize, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

    Charles Toppan Award, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

    New Jersey Endowment for the Arts Award, NJ

    Selected Collections

    Martha Stewart Personal Collection, Gift of Jens Jensen Foundation, Seal Harbor, ME
    Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
    The Kellogg Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
    Kresge Art Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
    West Chester State College, West Chester, PA
    The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA

    Coopers and Lybrand, NY
    The Philadelphia Bulletin, PA
    Pechiney Metals International, NY
    PSFS Bank, PA
    Jens Jensen Foundation, Chicago IL


    University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
    MFA, Printmaking/Painting

    Moore College of Art and Design
    Teacher Certification