Skip to Top NavigationSkip to Utility NavigationSkip to SearchSkip to Left NavigationSkip to Content
Mobile Menu
Bookmark and Share

Exhibit Spans More Than 45 Years of Friendship by Former HAS Classmates


Posted 10/12/2015
Posted by Barbara Steinberger


(L-R) Former HAS classmates and longtime friends Randy Gilman and Paul Selwyn, who are exhibiting their work at the Silpe Gallery, and Mike Scricco, who is curating the exhibition, pose in front of the introductory graphic for the show, which was created by Scricco's students. Missing from the photo is HAS classmate and fellow exhibitor David T. Wenzel. The exhibit also features work by classmate Philip Pieper, who died in 2002.

(L-R) Former HAS classmates and longtime friends Randy Gilman and Paul Selwyn, who are exhibiting their work at the Silpe Gallery, and Mike Scricco, who is curating the exhibition, pose in front of the introductory graphic for the show, which was created by Scricco's students. Missing from the photo is HAS classmate and fellow exhibitor David T. Wenzel. The exhibit also features work by classmate Philip Pieper, who died in 2002.

The friends are pictured during their days as Hartford Art School students in 1969. (L-R) Paul Selwyn, Mike Scricco, Philip Pieper, David Wenzel, and Randy Gilman.

The friends are pictured during their days as Hartford Art School students in 1969. (L-R) Paul Selwyn, Mike Scricco, Philip Pieper, David Wenzel, and Randy Gilman.

Randy Gilman puts the finishing touches on a dragon he created as a prop for author Walter Wick, co-creator/photographer of the popular "I Spy" books. Photo by Karen LaFleur.

Randy Gilman puts the finishing touches on a dragon he created as a prop for author Walter Wick, co-creator/photographer of the popular "I Spy" books. Photo by Karen LaFleur.

Between 1968 and 1972, four classmates at the University of Hartford’s Hartford Art School (HAS) forged a lifelong friendship.

In the more than four decades since they met as young art students, all have had successful and wide-ranging careers as artists — illustrating children’s books, working at advertising agencies, creating innovative sculptures and paintings, opening a gallery, and more. At the same time, they have remained exceptionally close and have had numerous professional collaborations.

Now they are exhibiting their work together in the Silpe Gallery at HAS — the same gallery space where they showcased their student work decades ago.

The exhibit — Gilman. Pieper. Selwyn. Wenzel. 1968–2015 — features a lifetime of work by  Randy Gilman, Philip Pieper (who died in 2002), Paul Selwyn, and David T. Wenzel, all members of the HAS Class of '72, and it is curated by their friend and former classmate, Mike Scricco.

The show, which is free and open to the public, is at the Silpe Gallery through Oct. 25. Silpe Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.

It will be open on Hawktober Weekend (Oct. 16–18), the University’s annual Homecoming and Parents Weekend.

The exhibition begins with work that Gilman, Pieper, Selwyn, and Wenzel did as HAS students, then displays work from their early careers, and ultimately showcases some of their most high-profile and impressive art works, continuing right up to the present day.

HAS students, in particular, have responded very positively to the show, said Scricco, who is an art school adjunct faculty member. The exhibit gives current students an opportunity to see the work of HAS alumni who have made good livings as artists, and it shows students the arc of their careers, from early work to more sophisticated projects.

“This isn't something you see very often — five people (including Scricco, the exhibit curator), friends from teenage years to grandparents, and we've all remained artists and made a living at it,” Gilman said.

The works on display include paintings, drawings, sculptures, digital illustrations, and book illustrations from the artists’ widely varied careers. For example, there are illustrations that Wenzel created for The Hobbit books by J.R.R. Tolkien, and props that Gilman created for Walter Wick’s popular Can You See What I See? book series.

Also on display are unique sculptures that Pieper made from “found objects.” For example, he created “Flying Machine” from an old maple bureau while he was recovering from a kidney transplant.

Selwyn's works include traditional paintings as well as eye-catching, fantastical digital illustrations. Selwyn began creating illustrations on his computer in recent years, as his eyesight has deteriorated. He said he has enjoyed moving to digital illustration because it allows him to work in an unrestrained, stream-of-consciousness style.

The friends met during their freshman year, and since their earliest days together, they've always had tremendous respect for each other’s work, Scricco said. The exhibit, he said “is about history, it’s about accomplishment, and it’s about friendship.”

For more information on the exhibit, go to http://www.silpegallery.org/ or visit the Silpe Gallery Facebook page.

(L-R) Former HAS classmates and longtime friends Randy Gilman and Paul Selwyn, who are exhibiting their work at the Silpe Gallery, and Mike Scricco, who is curating the exhibition, pose in front of the introductory graphic for the show, which was created by Scricco's students. Missing from the photo is HAS classmate and fellow exhibitor David T. Wenzel. The exhibit also features work by classmate Philip Pieper, who died in 2002.

(L-R) Former HAS classmates and longtime friends Randy Gilman and Paul Selwyn, who are exhibiting their work at the Silpe Gallery, and Mike Scricco, who is curating the exhibition, pose in front of the introductory graphic for the show, which was created by Scricco's students. Missing from the photo is HAS classmate and fellow exhibitor David T. Wenzel. The exhibit also features work by classmate Philip Pieper, who died in 2002.

The friends are pictured during their days as Hartford Art School students in 1969. (L-R) Paul Selwyn, Mike Scricco, Philip Pieper, David Wenzel, and Randy Gilman.

The friends are pictured during their days as Hartford Art School students in 1969. (L-R) Paul Selwyn, Mike Scricco, Philip Pieper, David Wenzel, and Randy Gilman.

Randy Gilman puts the finishing touches on a dragon he created as a prop for author Walter Wick, co-creator/photographer of the popular "I Spy" books. Photo by Karen LaFleur.

Randy Gilman puts the finishing touches on a dragon he created as a prop for author Walter Wick, co-creator/photographer of the popular "I Spy" books. Photo by Karen LaFleur.