Ira Upin


1966-1967 Bradley University, Peoria, IL
1967-1968 Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL
1968-1971 University of Illinois, Champaign, IL - B. F. A. in painting 1971
1971-1973 Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD- M.F.A. in Painting 1973


2014 Finalist in Painting, Arte Laguna Prize, Venice Italy
2014 50arts Series, Huffington Post
2013 Featured Artist, Direct Art Magazine, Volume 20
2012 Artslant Showcase Juried Award Winner
2011 Artist of the Week, Saatchi Online
1973 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship
Painting Biennial, VCU, Richmond VA, 1st Prize
1972 Henry Walters European Travel Scholarship
1971 Kate Kinley Memorial Fellowship (Given by University of Illinois Trustees)
Wabash Valley Regional, Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute IN, 1st Prize, purchase award


- Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute IN
- Combank Corp., Chicago, IL
- Towers, Perrin, Forster, and Crosby, Phila., PA
- Wells Fargo Bank Corp., Wilmington, DE
- Beneficial Savings Corp., Wilmington, DE
- General Instrument Corp., Horsham, PA
- Monell Senses Center, Phila., PA
- Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, NJ
- Howard Tullman Collection, Chicago, IL


2013 The Dairy Center for the Arts, Boulder, CO
2013 Artspace, Raleigh, NC
2013 Giles Gallery, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY
2011 2 Brothers 2 Profiles, Projects Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2008 Weber/Kelly 201 Gallery, Phila., PA
1993 F.A.N. Gallery, Phila., PA
1992 F.A.N. Gallery, Phila., PA
1981 Cheney Cowles Museum, Spokane, WA
1979 Zaks Gallery, Chicago, IL
1977 Rosenfeld Gallery, Phila., PA

1975 Center Square, Phila., PA
1973 Turner Auditorium, John Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
1972 Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, IN


2014 Experiencing War, Ann Street Gallery, Newburgh, NY
2014 Arte Laguna Prize Exhibit, Venice Arsenale, Venice, Italy
2014 Part ll no barking aRt Biennale 2014 “Material World”, Espacio Gallery, London, UK
2014 Part l no barking aRt Biennale 2014 “Material World”, Space 25 Truman Brewery, London, UK
2014 Kinsey Institute, Juried Art Show, Grunwald Gallery, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
2014 Mid-Atlantic New Paintings, UMWG Galleries, Fredericksburg, VA
2013 Rag Dolls, Robots, and Rocketships, Foundry Art Centre, St. Charles, MO
2013 Summer Juried Show II, Sylvia White Gallery, Ventura, CA
2012 No Dead Artists, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2012 Death is the Destination, Welch School Galleries, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
2012 Living With Others, Giles Gallery Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY
2012 Au Naturel International Juried Exhibition, Clatsop Community College Art Center Gallery, Astoria, OR
2011 Hello World, Milavec Hakimi Gallery, NYC
2011 Summer Juried Show, Sylvia White Gallery, Ventura, CA
2011 Northern Liberties: A Transformation, Projects Gallery, Phila., PA
2011 To-day is Another Day-MAKE ART-Art in the Great Recession, Pterodactyl Philadelphia Project Space
2010 Philadelphia Story, Woodmere Art Museum, Phila., PA
2009 Obamarama, Projects Gallery, Phila., PA
2005 Operation Raw, The Icebox, Phila., PA
2003 Art in Northern Liberties, Phila., PA
2000 National Invitational Art Exhibition, Brenau College, Gainesville, GA
1999 The Art & Science of Surviving Cancer (Traveling Exhibit), Amgen Inc.
1997 Manna Benefit Art Auction, Institute of Contemporary Art, Phila., PA
1996 Confronting Cancer through Art, Arthur Ross Gallery, Phila., PA
Group Show, Moore on Second Street Gallery, Phila., PA
1995 Meet the Neighbors, Paley Design Center, Philadelphia College of Textiles, Phila., PA
Shades of the Spirit, Painted Bride Art Center, Phila., PA
1994 Group Show, Axis Fine Art, Phila., PA
National Invitational Art Exhibition, Brenau College, Gainesville, GA
15x15 Alumni Exhibit, Maryland Institute, Baltimore, MD
1992 National Invitational Art Exhibition, Brenau College, Gainesville, GA
Dominion: The World of Man and Beast, F.A.N. Gallery, Phila., PA
1991 Differing Views-Four Artists, Spokane Art School Center for the Visual Arts, Spokane, WA
1990 Third Annual Exhibition of Pennsylvania Artists, Josiah White Exhibition Center, Jim Thorpe, PA
1988 Consciousness and Reality, More Gallery, Phila., PA
1981 Untitled One Nine Eight One, Cheltenham Art Center, Phila., PA
1979 Opens Friday, Moore College of Art, Phila., PA
1978 Arthur A. Baer Memorial Art Competition, Beverley Art Center, Chicago IL
About Face- Contemporary American Portraits, Squibb Gallery, Princeton, NJ
1977 Grace Hartigan and Friends, Gallery at the Mechanic, Baltimore, MD
1975 641 Gallery, Washington, DC
1973 National Annual Drawing and Small Sculpture Show, Muncie, IN
National Drawing Exhibition, Potsdam, NY
National Annual Print and Print Drawing Show, Grand Forks, ND
Painting Biennial, Richmond, VA (1st Prize)
1972 National Annual Drawing and Small Sculpture Show, Grand Forks, ND
Recent Baltimore Paintings, Washington College, Chestertown, MD
Chautauqua Exhibition of American Art, Chautauqua, NY
Baltimore Arts Festival, Baltimore, MD
1971 Wabash Valley Regional, Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, IN


Csaszar, Tom, “Exchange and Interrupt-Delay in Praxis in the Art of the 90’s”, New Art Examiner, Summer 1994
Curry, Bill, “Bright Idea”, Philadelphia Inquirer, September 2, 1975
Donahoe, Victoria, “Review”, Brothers in Portraiture of Mysterious Power, Philadelphia Inquirer, December 9, 2011
“Review”, Philadelphia Inquirer, October 21, 1977
“Review”, Philadelphia Inquirer, October 15, 1975
Forman, Nessa, “Review”, The Bulletin, Philadelphia, PA, October 16, 1977
“What Happened to Artist’s Rights”, Sunday Bulletin, October 12, 1975
“Report”, The Bulletin, Philadelphia, PA, October, 1975
Gartner, Alan, “Review”, Chicago Tribune, June, 1979
Haydon, Haydon, “Review”, Chicago Sun-Times, June 29, 1979
Holton, Noel, “Looking to Art as a Source of Healing”, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 21, 1996
Houston Chronicle, June 22, 1996
Jensen, Eileen, “Review”, The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, IN February 20, 1972
Mangravite, Andrew, “The Poetry of States of Mind”, Welcomat, Philadelphia, PA, July 8, 1992
“Ideas Standing on Their Heads”, Welcomat, Philadelphia, PA, November 17, 1993
Newhall, Edith, “Pictures That Pop”, Philadelphia Inquirer, January 18, 2008
Quinn, Jim, “Censorship in Philadelphia”, The Drummer, Philadelphia, PA, October 21, 1975
Roufberg, Ruth, “Portraits of the Seventies”, Princeton Spectrum, Princeton, NJ, May 17, 1978
Scarpellino, Veronica, Ira Upin “Random Thoughts”, The Spirit Community Newspapers, January 23, 2008
Sozanski, J. Edward, “Review”, Philadelphia Inquirer, February 24, 1995
“Review”, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 12, 1993
“A Painter’s Images within Images Conveying a Message”, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 26, 1992
Review, Philadelphia Magazine, October, 1977
Editorial, Philadelphia Magazine, November, 1975
Notice, “There Goes the Block”, Philadelphia Magazine, September, 1975
Notice, Richmond Times Dispatch, Richmond, VA, February 22, 1973
Review, The Baltimore Sun, October 8, 1972



These ideas are notes I write to myself from time to time. They represent my overall view of life and what I do:

- It’s about insecurity and confidence at the same time. The confidence comes in the isolation of the studio, knowing how to make an image the way I imagine it I want it to be. The insecurity comes with trying to put what I do in the context of it’s relevance outside of my sanctum. Does it mean anything in the world at large or the art world realm where we try to make our professional way as artists? Does it connect? Why keep doing it if it doesn’t? 
- Singular and unique story telling, not illustrations of the famous or the currently topical newsie subject matter. That’s what makes for a powerful, timeless, and important narrative. There is a narrative tightrope to be walked. With less common storylines that connect collective understanding, it is more difficult now to find easily recognizable imagery that carries metaphorical power that most people would understand with out becoming hokey or glib. 
- It’s about randomness and our inability to control that randomness. Things happen, anything can happen and we want somehow to control it. But in the end we really can’t. The tightness of the way I work seems a futile attempt to exert that control. 
- Art needs to have meaning, to be done as if it’s existence can change the world. A lot of art gets too caught up in the weeds of “art for arts sake”, art about art, and art lingo/jargon. I don’t know much about that other than the endeavor of making art at it’s core should be pure. When it’s done with that motive it takes the artist as he/she is making it and subsequently the viewer, to somewhere new and exhilarating. 
- Fashion is ephemeral, so I never concern myself with what is fashionable, which in the end puts me in and out of fashion depending in what decade my work is being considered. I’ve been doing some version of the same thing for 50 years – narrative as the frame combined with the visual as the draw, the hook. 
- At the elemental level of life itself, if you stop and think, everything is essentially something we do to keep ourselves busy between birth and death. The in between is the variable from one person to the next. Are you decent, are you compassionate, do you seek truth and a clear understanding of reality? Those are the questions I ponder to justify my life and what I do with my time. 
- What makes us what we are? 
- I relate to this quote by Fellini “I put myself at the service of my fantasies.” 
- Art should have quality of craft, clarity of purpose, and meaning. 


Fish “Fish”

Part of a painting with multiple parts from a series called Random Thoghts.

Tessa “Tessa”

Part of a painting with multiple parts from a series called Random Thoughts.

Reality Check “Reality Check”

This painting is from a series called Random Thoughts.