Terrill Warrenburg Expanded Art and Career Interests Through Her Penn Education

Terrill Warrenburg, a multi-media artist and May University of Pennsylvania graduate, describes her interest in art as “a lifelong passion.”

From the time she was a young child, she and her family traveled from their home in the Central New Jersey town of Little Silver to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Frick Museum and Whitney Museum of American Art. When the family vacationed in other cities, there would always be a stop at a local art museum. Her mother, a painter, also inspired Warrenburg to create her own work.

While Warrenburg’s interest in art began long before she came to Penn, she credits the University with helping to broaden and deepen her art and career interests and with exposing her to different facets of the contemporary art world.

“A general liberal arts education was essential in fostering my artistic direction, talent and practice, coaxing me to consider and utilize different perspectives, ideas and subjects into my pieces,” says Warrenburg, who majored in fine arts and minored in history of art and French.

Her work includes digital paintings, oil paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures using materials such as textiles and shards of mirrors.

“I enjoy mixing it up and working with different mediums, having them interact and cross over,” says Warrenburg. “As well as implementing non-traditional art materials and digital technology into my practice.”

Warrenburg says digital technology allows artists to remove undesirable features of a piece by manipulating images and erasing something that’s less than perfect. When something goes wrong in the studio, she embraces it. Accidental paint spills and markings are incorporated into her compositions.

Her piece “Monument to the Accident” was created after she spilled ink on the floor while she was working on it.

“Wiping up the mess, I found the spilled ink more exciting and beautiful than my originally conceived design,” says Warrenburg.

So, she photographed the spill and the ink-soaked paper towels. She compiled the images in Photoshop, creating a digital painting which she drew on top of to complete the piece.

“I try to balance my instincts and whims with regulation and self-imposed restrictions,” says Warrenburg. “My mediums, execution and practice are fluid and evolving but retain a sense of continuity.”

While a student at Penn, Warrenburg had the opportunity to intern at two local galleries, giving her hands-on experience that complemented what she was learning in class and also creating in the studio.

In the summer of 2015, Warrenburg began a yearlong internship in the curatorial department of Penn’s Institute of Contemporary Art, performing a variety of tasks including conducting research and cataloging exhibition items.

An internship at the Locks Gallery in Philadelphia gave her an opportunity to experience many aspects of running a gallery. Warrenburg worked on the gallery’s new website, created invitations for exhibition openings and had a chance to meet artists Polly Apfelbaum and Virgil Marti.

The internship at Locks led Warrenburg to a full-time position at the Gallery where, since early June, she has been assisting with preparations for an upcoming Louise Nevelson exhibition. She’s been working on marketing, communications and event planning for the exhibit, which opens in November. 

For now, Warrenburg is enjoying applying what she learned at Penn and doing a little bit of everything at Locks while continuing to create multi-media work. Her future plans are to further her education and go on to graduate school to study art, art history, French and marketing.  

“I am using my experiences to consider these fields and narrow down which direction I would like to take,” says Warrenburg. “Dual degree programs are of a particular interest to me, but I am not going to make any definitive plans as far as secondary degrees until I am 100 percent sure.”

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