Monthly Archives: January 2010

Trina Mansfield – Fabric Collage @ The Cosmopolitan Club

Trina Mansfield - Eiffel Tower

Trina Mansfield, Eiffel Tower, quilted fabric collage @ The Cosmopolitan Club.

Trina Mansfield is a multi-media artist working primarily in fabrics but she also takes the photographs, plots the designs on the computer then pieces together elaborate “quilts”.

Trina Mansfield - Eiffel Tower

Trina Mansfield’s labels for her exhibition @ The Cosmopolitan Club are truly exceptional – hand-written notes in pencil with tiny sketches like getting a nice letter from a friend.

Trina Mansfield @ The Cosmopolitan Club

Trina Mansfield @ The Cosmopolitan Club.

DoN LoVeS quilts and fabric art (he watches all those geeky sewing shows on TV), maybe because there’s an emotional link to Grandma’s crazy quilts from childhood.  Mansfield’s quilts are painterly and impressionistic, even though the concept is based on crazy quilts these designs are exceptionally lucid and lush with witty contrasts and meticulous details.


DoNArTNeWs @ The Barnes Foundation

On a cold, sunny early January afternoon, Miss Shirleen surprised Shoshka & DoN with tickets to The Barnes Foundation in Merion, PA.  Just a quick drive to the mansion from the plateau, the guards greeted us and pointed to a parking spot and soon we were wandering the fabulous rooms filled with French Impressionist masterworks, African sculptures and antiquities.

The main hall is the social hub with visitors absorbing and discussing in hushed tones the eccentric array of masterpieces.  Quickly splitting up, the three of us gravitated to lush Monet‘s, an oddly hung Seurat or a small Cezanne and soon DoN found himself alone in a room with one of Van Gogh‘s famous Postman portraits hung clumsily in the corner.  DoN moved in closer and closer, studying the brushwork, observing color-ways, admiring the pattern of the floral wallpaper in the background, the Postman’s eyes staring straight into DoN‘s.  When DoN was about a foot from the painting he felt a tap on the shoulder, jumping like an armadillo, DoN was smilingly admonished by a pretty guard, he had wandered over the black electric tape line, the only barrier between DoN & Vincent.

After about ten minutes a few more visitors joined DoN so he moved on to the next gallery and again had one-on-one time with an Heironymus Bosch, it seems unreal that such an iconic object is so accessible, the phantasmagoria playing out across the canvas like a fever dream.  There’s a Soutine which DoN used to think was ugly and seemed to suck the oxygen out of the room but over time the skewed, garish sailor boy has transmuted into a signification of the meaning of painting.  Toulous Lautrec’s “A Montrouge” is so incredibly beautiful that everything else in the room becomes a supporting player.

DoN doesn’t understand why the Barnes is moving to the Parkway even though it will be within walking distance for many more people.  The commute to the current location is simple, the wacko presentation of art & utilitarian craft in a Main Line mansion is a unique experience and, oh yeah, it breaks Barnes’ last will & testament, beside the fact that the place was practically empty on a Saturday afternoon.  Is there really an audience for the quirky mix of art & industry removed from it’s original locale?  DoN recommends you schedule your visit asap – it’s a trip.

2010 New Members Exhibition @ The Plastic Club

P. J. Smalley, Girl on Toilet

P. J. Smalley, Girl on Toilet, oil/digital print @ The Plastic Club.

Donna P. Collins, Our Love Dissolved

Donna P. Collins, Our Love Dissolved, photograph.

Donna P. Collins, One Way Out

Donna P. Collins, One Way Out, photograph.

Julianna Struck

Julianna Struck, Untitled, oil @ The Plastic Club New Members Exhibition 2010.

Karen Frank, Effervesence

Karen Frank, Effervesence, acrylic.

Serena Perrone, Dreaming of Flying Fish

Serena Perrone, Dreaming of Flying Fish, oil/charcoal/graphite.

Welcome to the 24 new members of the Plastic Club; the current show is super-strong with technical virtuosity, broad variety of styles, big personalities and aspirational contemporary ideas from established and new members of the Philly Art Community.

Karl Olsen @ The Cosmopolitan Club

Karl Olsen @ The Cosmopolitan Club

When DoN entered the Cosmopolitan Club on Latimer Street to see the Karl Olsen exhibit the first thing he did was take his hat off, it’s that kind of place.  Quiet and plush it feels like a set from a Ginger Rogers movie with soft tones, tufted fabrics and multi-tiered rooms and a reception area where DoN pictured a Judy Holiday type answering the phone, “Good Evening, Cosmopolitan Club.”  The historic space is the perfect space to show Karl Olsen’s metropolitan style, artistic swagger and consummate artistry.

The gallery walls in the Cosmopolitan Club are 20′ long panels framed with moulding, a chic presentation space for ongoing exhibits of fine art. Currently Karl Olsen is showing a selection of art works from his vast stash of images created in various media from lino-cut prints to paintings to pastels, each piece special since Karl had to winnow out a group which is representative of his style with drawings, paintings and prints.  Olsen is a role model for DoN with his dedication to proficiency to many modes of communication through image making; sometimes Karl will contentedly draw quick figure studies in linoleum block with sharp tools next he’s scrawling broad swathes of color with soft pastels on huge sheets of fine paper then perhaps a wet, juicy painting always with an eye on finding an image he believes signifies his vision of art.

Karl Olsen @ The Cosmopolitan Club

 Karl Olsen @ The Cosmopolitan Club.

Karl Olsen @ The Cosmopolitan Club

DoN loves watching Karl Olsen work, he is very intense and focused on creating movement, emotional contact, energetic mark-making, lucid dream states – you can watch him drift off into an alpha state and let the universal energy pass through him onto the surface.  Olsen monitors workshops @ The Plastic Club and until recently held weekly gatherings at his own studio but Olsen is taking time now to do his own thing and the result is really innovative, exciting art evocative of another era yet really cool and contemporary.

Karl Olsen @ The Cosmopolitan Club

Karl Olsen, Olga, oil on panel @ The Cosmopolitan ClubDoN has been in the presence of Olga before, she always makes a powerful impact on a room, but at the Cosmopolitan Club, a proper woman’s club of high esteem, Olga is able to fully express the story of an artist’s struggle to a achieve a level of virtuosity she knew the painter held all along.  Olga represents modern sensibilities with bold color and urgent brushwork yet feels timeless with an impressionist style time-tripping to centuries passed.

Karl Olsen @ The Cosmopolitan Club

Karl Olsen @ The Cosmopolitan Club.