Artists in the Gallery

Each month of the school year, Tower Hill School is fortunate to have talented artists display their works in the Founders’ Gallery, the school's art gallery dedicated to the eleven founding fathers of the school. Opening receptions are generally held on the first Friday evening of the month, coinciding with the Wilmington Art Loop. Students benefit from the opportunity to meet artists and ask questions about their craft, perspectives and careers.
Susan Benarcik
Opens Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 with a reception from 6-8 p.m. in the Founders' Gallery

Artist Statement: Fashioned out of natural and found materials and almost never representational, my works are based on observations of natural forms and patterns created by living organisms. It is the unusual, unfettered, random, organic beauty that is in some cases transformed by time, the elements, or even human interaction that inspire me to design and craft two and three dimensional work on paper and sculptural forms.
 
Gardens, meadows, greenhouses, forests, and beaches offer an abundance of organic material in differing modes of evolution or de-evolution. It may be the chance observation of a starling murmuration that drives me to create an orchestration of obsessively crafted, small components that mimic this fluid phenomenon. Alternately, inspired by the irregular path that a busy insect creates, I might use an abundance of harvested vines to craft my own irregular, suspended sculpture. My works on paper are layered or collaged with organic mediums, papers, pigments, partial images, stitches and wax. Much like the protective strata of tree bark, or the human psyche, some areas lay bare, others remain concealed.
 
In many cases, my work has been referred to as unconventional. In all cases my work alludes to that which is not made with a formula, it is curious, temporal and impermanent, it reflects the random and organic variations and transformations that appear in the natural world, and are in-part influenced by human kind. 
 
Elise du Pont Zoller '76
Opens Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 with a reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Founders' Gallery

Artist Statement: Painting is a complete joy. I enjoy looking at the fall of light and the reflection of color as light bounces from a surface upwards or sideways. The interiors of porches are a marvelous example of color and light in motion, which is why I paint so many. Many New England houses are painted white, providing planes on which light has free rein to change color. It moves with its own life, a deep and silent well.

I attended Tower Hill for ten years and graduated from Princeton University in architecture. I’ve studied drawing and painting at the Academy of Realist Art in Boston and Masters Academy in Springville, UT and have been painting and selling oils for twenty years.     
       
My work has appeared in Arthur Little’s Paintings of Maine, Down East Books, 2006, and my pen and ink illustrations are featured in Ron Strickland’s biography, Pathfinder: Blazing America’s Finest Trails, Oregon State University Press, 2011. I have recently branched out to write and illustrate a book for middle grade readers titled The Tale of Oramus and Jane.

Rich Feldmann
Opens Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 with a reception from 6-8 p.m. in the Founders' Gallery

Rich Feldmann's cartoons have been published in The New Yorker and by the Princeton University Press, The History Press, Le Figaro and in other magazines and journals. He and his family live in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. To purchase or publish any of Rich’s drawings, please email richfeldmann1121@gmail.com.

 

Bob Biddle, George Strunk and J.P. Hand
Opens Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 with a reception from 6-8 p.m. in the Founders' Gallery

George Strunk: New Jersey’s Premier Decoy Maker
Every generation of every region where decoys are hand-carved has their top guy. A carver that others imitate, emulate or down right copy! Collectors of waterfowl decoys think of names like Shourds, Laing, Cobb, and Hudson from a century ago. In recent times, carvers like Hurley Conklin from the Jersey Shore, Bob White of the Delaware River and Pete Peterson of the eastern shore of Virginia fit that bill. Today, in New Jersey and some would say in the country, George Strunk is that top guy.

George is a lifelong resident of Glendora, Camden County N. J. He grew up hunting and fishing with his father and brother near his home and at the family’s cabin down in Cape May County. His woodcarving career began over 35 years ago, and early on he was considered one of the best around. George has been described as a “natural born artist”; the way he puts it all together, the form, the paint, the incredibly fine craftsmanship. There are many very talented decoymaker/folk artists working today throughout the United States. What makes George Strunk stand apart? In my opinion it is his natural ability, (in both carving and painting), coupled with an almost photographic memory. Perhaps his greatest asset is his imagination that allows him to come up with new ideas and create new designs year after year. For collectors, there is always something new to marvel at.

George Strunk is one of the very few decoy makers who has been able to carve full time for most of his working life. Fortunately for him, his strong work ethic enables him to do a pretty good job of meeting the strong demand for his carvings. His work is in private collections throughout the United States and overseas. In fact, it’s safe to say that a visit to most any decoy show across the country would yield a few Strunks. George’s work can also be seen at Artemis Outfitters Greenville, Delaware.

J. P. Hand: Cape May County Decoy Maker
J. P. Hand began hunting waterfowl 50 years ago and started guiding part time about 35 years ago around the same time that he last had a “real job”. The Hand family left East Hampton, Long Island and arrived at Cape May about 325 years ago and they’ve been gunning in the county for over 10 generations.

For Jamie, being out on the “salt meadow” and carving his own decoys seemed to come naturally. Forty-six years ago, while still in his teens, he began making his own wooden decoys, as he “didn’t have the money to buy them”. Prior to that, Jamie and his friends either walked the meadows “jump shooting,” or lay in wait along the fresh-water ponds adjoining the saltmarsh.

After carving on his own for a few years, he met two of South Jersey’s master carvers, Hurley Conklin of Manahawkin, N. J. and H. V. Shourds III of Seaville, N. J. Between the two of them, they taught him the “tricks of the trade” and how to make a proper hollow, cedar gunning decoy. Both of those great carvers are gone now, but their influence survives through Jamie’s work and that of the younger carvers he has taught over the years.

 J. P. Hand is known as one of the more traditional carvers working today, as he puts it, “I am, and have always been, happy just making an honest gunning decoy that works.” While his decoys are in collections throughout the United States and Europe, Jamie is most proud of the ones that get thrown in the water come hunting season.

Bob Biddle
Bob Biddle grew up at Port Herman on the Elk River at the head of the Chesapeake Bay and began carving decoys when he was 13 years old. In those days a boy could get his hunting license at age 14 and Bob wanted to have some of his own decoys in his father’s rig when they hunted that Fall. His early decoys were mostly canvasbacks, broadbills, and a few geese. Bob has continued to carve decoys for 67 years (he is now 80 years old) and has participated in in decoy shows for the last 40 years—Long Island Decoy Collectors Show, Tuckerton, N.J.Decoy Show,  Easton Waterfowl Festival (1974 thru 1998) and several smaller shows. He makes all species of waterfowl and shorebirds but his personal favorites are mergansers and eiders.

After graduating from high school Bob worked for 14 months for the Corp of Engineers at Town Point, MD before entering the University of Delaware where he earned his degree in Electrical Engineering, Class of 1961. After graduation he began his career with Philadelphia Electric as an electrical engineer. He is now retired from Philadelphia Electric Co. and lives in Landenberg, Pennsylvania, with his wife Jeanette. Bob & Jeanette have four children (all grown) and eight grandchildren.

Cooper Rossner
Cooper Rossner learned the craft of decoy carving from J.P. Hand, master decoy maker from Goshen, New Jersey. Since high school and through college he has progressed his carving career to supplement a part-time income, mainly paying for textbooks and kibble for his talented young German Shorthair Pointer with whom he enjoys hunting all varieties of wildfowl, mainly grouse and woodcock. At 23, his work is as you see it now, progressing still but enjoyable all the while. All of his birds are carved from White Cedar and painted with artists’ oils. They are made for use but are enjoyed in private collections and galleries as folk-art reminiscent of the days of old.

Founded in 1919, Tower Hill School is a private, college prep school in Wilmington, Delaware, serving students in preschool through Grade 12.
Tower Hill is regarded as one of the best private schools in the U.S. Many of Tower Hill's students attend top universities and colleges.


  • Tower Hill School
  • 2813 W. 17th Street
  • Wilmington, DE 19806
  • 302-575-0550