Matthew Ostroff is like a graffiti artist using wheat paste and torn paper the way a tagger over-writes earlier tags. But Ostroff doesn’t deface property, he confines his low-fi technique of pasting painted colored paper onto a painting background then tearing away the paper like old posters shredded on a South Street Wall. The deep layers of color, intense saturation and feeling of the hand emanates from the surface in perfect abstract expressionism. Curator Jt Christensen is an interior architect who has transformed the old storefront at 333 South Twentieth St. Philadelphia into a hip, aspirational showcase for art, furniture and chic urban style. The Ostroff show with big, bold contemporary art pairs with the modern and mid 20th Century classic furniture in a hip, clean living space vibe gallery, emblematic of the changes taking place along 20th Street, offering a street view tableau of cool desirable furnishings.
Brian Lauer was the featured artist at studio christensen for June but Jt decided to keep many of them because they just look so damn good. DoN noticed them while we discussed Ostroff’s work and thought they were paintings, from the street they read as paintings but on closer inspection the detail emerges from the color and a photograph coalesces. The photo above is Jesus being made up as a Zombie at Tattooed Mom’s on South Street, the chiaroscuro of light across Jesus’ wounds is like a Rubens. The photo below are guys standing along the river in Camden but feels like some Nordic outpost with sad characters staring to sea but it’s just folks enjoying the view of a blizzard on the Delaware River.
Prelude Gallery is dedicated to promoting emerging artists in a gallery setting. DoN talked with Creative Director Gaby Heit about their mission and she explained how the gallery is collaborating with art schools to help under-grad and master level artists have opportunities to get their work seen. Heit said the neighborhood has been very welcoming, the gallery a perfect addition to the hip restaurants, salons and shops – Pamcakes is their neighbor, Yum! July 1st was Prelude Gallery’s soft opening but look for new work for the Second Friday art crawl on August 12th.
Kyle Deal @ Prelude Gallery
Christopher Enty @ Prelude Gallery
Gaby asked DoN what his favorite paintings are, a tough question since it was his first visit but Christopher Enty’s portraits of urban youth stand out with a rough beauty that is almost brutal. The characters in Enty’s paintings express the self consciousness of youth in a socially networked society where a profile is suddenly important, revitalizing the significance of portraiture; Heit confided in DoN she felt Christopher Enty is Prelude Gallery’s Soutine.
Benjamin Gonzales @ Prelude Gallery
Gaby Heit expressed to DoN she thought the revitalization of the 20th Street Corridor was coming from the North, the Rittenhouse Square district, but DoN explained how the Beauty Shop Cafe staked out the corner of 20th and Fitzwater Streets when there were still gangs hanging on the corner. And now students and young professionals make the trek to Center City from GHo all the way from Washington Avenue and get their morning coffee at the corner cafe. Art shows were part of the Beauty Shop Cafe plan from the beginning and the current show is really good.
Caitlin Beattie @ Beauty Shop Cafe
Caitlin Beattie is an emerging artist photographer, this is her first art show. It is so gratifying to know that artists have showcases like The Beauty Shop, Prelude Gallery and studio christensen to exhibit their work where it can really be seen by a lot of people but it makes the neighborhood so much more vibrant, intellectual and welcoming, too.
Sabik @ Beauty Shop Cafe
Beauty Shop Cafe
Beauty Shop Cafe
Jewelry and etchings by Kenzie Gemz. The Beauty Shop looks like an old library or museum with terrariums, collections and photos creating a vibe of a secret society meeting room. As the GHo neighborhood transforms with modern new houses wedging between old row-homes, young families with strollers, hipsters with porkpie hats and folks who have long lived in the neighborhood are now enjoying a renaissance of sorts along 20th Street helping to delineate a terrific art crawl up 20th, across Walnut Street to Sande Webster, down 22nd Street to Twenty-Two Gallery and on to 21st & Pine and the fabulous Gallery 339. Second Friday, now a Center City West tradition, is August 12th.
Photos by DoN