Monthly Archives: September 2008

Alden Cole @ Outsiders Folk Art with Harriet Wiseman

Alden Cole

Alden Cole with his Aldenized art chair @ Outsider Folk Art Gallery @ Goggleworks.  

Ostensibly, the star of the show is self-taught artist Harriet Wiseman with her Modigliani-esque paintings of ladies and mise en seine on wood, palettes and ledger covers.  Wiseman told DoNshe had never heard of Modigliani until people started telling her about the resemblence to the master and others like Chagall and Kokoschka – nice company to keep!  She began studying art books in the library and soon understood the references; Wiseman is extremely prolific and has truly established a unique style all her own.Harriey WisemanOil painting by Harriet Wiseman @ Outsider Folk Art Gallery.Wild Palms II, paint on cardboard, Jim Bloom @ Outsider Art Gallery.Wild Palms II, paint on cardboard, Jim Bloom @ Outsider Art Gallery.

Owner, George Viener, is an extensive self-taught art collector and expert in contemporary folk and outsider art; at one time he held 250 of Blooms paintings.  Curator Emily Christenson toldDoN that Jon Clark of Home and Planet in Bethlehem cherry-picked the most angst-ridden pieces for the superb show held earlier this year in his gallery.

Alden Cole‘s dumpster-diver art perfectly suits the space, it wasn’t long before someone took the painted, re-upholstered chair off it’s pedestal to take a load off and it seemed as if everyone took a turn sitting on the art-chair.  Alden’s fantastical luminaries softly glowed around the room, it was super-fun to watch the patrons with dropped jaws staring at the hypnotically changing lights.

The Goggle Works in Reading is a wonderful art space with five floors of studios and galleries as well as a recently installed LED light show in the windows of the old brick facade brightening the downtown scene with art and innovation.  DoN and friends are planning a trip back to Reading to view more, more, more…

Alden Cole will be participating in the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours as well as an up-coming show at Smile Gallery, make sure you visit his gallery/studio in South Philly the second weekend in October.

Panorama of Outsider Folk Arts

Panoramic shot of Outsider Folk Arts Gallery in Reading, PA. 


Rickard Larma @ Smile

Rikard Larma is an Associated Press photographer originally from Bosnia where he covered the war but is now a true blue Philadelphian.  Larma’s exhibit at Smile Gallery on 22nd Street is called Painting with Light; clicking the shutter while moving the camera, Rikard captures streaks and swirls of light like what the eye sees when you spin around.  The dizzy images look like abstract paintings since Larma invested in the gear to print his digital images on canvas; the deep, rich colors and ebullient compositions invigorated the second floor space with energy, light and life.  Larma had visitors vote for their top three favorites, a unique approach to interacting with art patrons, sort of American Idol in it’s popular appeal.  Speaking of voting, sever al of Larma’s AP buddies were at the opening and held the rapt attention of patrons with tales of press abuse and the scars and scabs to prove it from the RNC.  Yikes!

Rikard Larma @ Smile.

Fine art photographer, Rikard Larma @ Smile’s Painting with Light. 

Ink on canvas by Rikard Larma @ Smile. 

Rikard Larma @ Smile’s Painting with Light.

 Rikard Larma @ Smile’s Painting with Light. 

Kelly and Weber Gallery @ Crane Arts Center, Virginia Bradley & Chris Malcomson

Kelly and Weber Gallery on the second floor is showing wall sculptures by artist Mike Steifel; highly imaginative and exquisitely constructed objects reek of found art but are actually all hand crafted.  Steifel tells DoN he used to even make his own screws; each piece is tooled and constructed to evoke old machine parts melded with blurry magnifying lenses and screwy bolts and hardware.  On the south wall of the gallery Mike has panels of wood with inlaid mother of pearl representing constellations from the southern sky and vice versa on the north wall – at first glance the dots appear to be nail heads until the glint of light highlights the pearlescent glow from the shell-stars.

Southern Cross, wood and mother of pearl by Mike Steifel @ K&W.

Southern Cross, wood and mother of pearl by Mike Steifel @ K&W.

Artist, Mike Steifel and his wife at the opening party @ Crane Arts.

Artist, Mike Steifel and his wife at the opening party @ Crane Arts.

Alden Cole reflected in Mike Steifel’s amazing mirrored wall sculpture @ K&W.  Steifel tells DoN he has, ” …a fetish for materials.  Abalone is luxurious.”

 Alden Cole reflected in Mike Steifel’s amazing mirrored wall sculpture @ K&W.  Steifel tells DoN he has, ” …a fetish for materials.  Abalone is luxurious.” 

So, back to Virginia Bradley who shares a studio with her husband, Chris Malcomson, on the second floor at Crane Arts.  Bradley’s side of the room displays her paintings of icons mashed-up with modern pattern design along side Malcomson’s equally iconic geometric paintings.  DoN especially likes the big circles on wood. 

Chris Malcomson

Chris Malcomson in the studio he shares with Virginia Bradley at Crane Arts Center.

Chris Malcomson

Painting by Virginia Bradley

Painting by Virginia Bradley in the studio she shares with Chris Malcomson.  Chris told DoN he met Virginia in Chelsea where he had a studio and immediately fell in love and followed her to Philly four years ago.  Aw!  Learn more about Malcomson at his website. 


Second Thursday @ Crane Arts Center – UD@Crane

Shoshka. Alden and DoN made the pilgrimage to Crane Arts Center in Fishtown to witness the spectacle of innovation, artistry and experience design the arts space is becoming famous for.The University of Delaware has taken over the old Busy Bee space and the current exhibition of MFA students is insightful and fun.  Looming over the first floor are fiber and plaster neuron-like constructs by the afore-mentioned Mark Donahue; similar to the Hopkins House installation, this time Donahue has balanced separate components on top of each other creating strange transmitters communicating in a language all their own.  DoN was greeted by the elegant Virginia Bradley, artist/curator/educator who shares a studio on the third floor with Chris Malcomson – Virginia and DoN commiserated over sharing studio space (more about that in a minute). 

Mark Donahue @ UD@Crane.

Mark Donahue @ UD@Crane. 

 Untitled, mixed media, Jim Reske.  Is this thing cool or what?  Simple sun-bleached plywood panels lean against the wall as if Josef Albers were in the house.

Untitled, mixed media, Jim Reske.  Is this thing cool or what?  Simple sun-bleached plywood panels lean against the wall as if Josef Albers were in the house.

rickery, watercolor & ink on stretched & cut paper, Francine Fox @ UD@Crane.

rickery, watercolor & ink on stretched & cut paper, Francine Fox @ UD@Crane.

Francine Fox

Francine Fox displayed several three inch square paintings that are executed with virtuosity, flare and fluid surrealist imagination.  Like seeing a weird image in the clouds or faces in foam on the beach, Fox finds eery fractals of flesh, skin and organs which are all intricately applied to the glossy surface of the wood in delicate strokes of paint.

Anthony Vega

Anthony Vega with one of his multiple image paintings.  Vega uses a projector to capture multiple images within the plane of his painting.  Using found or original images he combines blobs of paint into pixel-like splotches which when viewed from a distance morph into pulsating icons that DoN‘s brain tried to make sense of but was thwarted by the cacophony of ideas vying for attention.  Vega told DoN, “…it’s evidently handmade.”


Sho, Alden and DoN all LoVeD the balloon-stuffed panty hose, each of us explained the concept to at least one of our friends.  Like Christo‘s temporary installations, these pieces will obviously deteriorate rapidly but will live on in memory and photographs.  Of course, one could always make more and have fun doing it.

At Nexus Gallery, our threesome was treated to a video installation by J. Makary and Bilwa as part of the Philly Fringe festival.  The gallery transformed into a movie theater with stadium seating presented an extraordinary video: part art movie, part music video, part dance performance with an emphasis on hand gestures and body language.  The saturated colors, quirky dance moves and evocative narrative was absorbing and abstract in it’s simplicity of experience design.


Nick of Nexus tells DoN the gallery will be installing a low powered community radio station ala Whitney’s Biennial radio station.  People can schedule air time by contacting the gallery. Lo-fi Coolness Rocks!


 Super Kawai Lil’ Lamb @ Nexus.