Category Archives: Dirty Franks

MLMME12

MLMME12, OTWGallery

Mary Liz Memorial Masters Exhibition 2016

at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Frank’s

As many of you know, we usually open a show the Thursday after it goes up. This time, our festivities fall a week later, but the staggered logistics have no correlation to the practically staggering talents on display.

We’re speaking, of course, of our 2016 MARY LIZ FELLOWS — painter BOB GORCHOV, photographer WENDY PLOGER and assemblage artist/sculptor WAYNE URFFER -who are a week off the usual trajectory but right on target with their art. High marks are in order because the MARY LIZ MEMORIAL MASTERS EXHIBITION, named for our founding director, is the greatest honor we can bestow on artists in our community.

So without further ado, we cordially invite you to the show’s 12th renewal — MLMME12, for short – which opens its seven-week run THIS THURSDAY, MARCH 10, with a 7-10 PM OPENING RECEPTION featuring our favorite drinks, light hors d’oeuvres, fabulous conversation and a chance to meet the artists. You may already be familiar with one of more of our esteemed trio, who rank among our most accomplished artists.

The paintings of BOB GORCHOV have won over our hearts even since “the red coat” lit up the Wall in December 2008. Ten shows later — yes, MLMME12 is fitting his 12th outing in this space! Bob has lost none of his bewitching use of color or emotional buoyancy. Each time we see a new canvas, it’s like experiencing Bob’s work for the first time. Some might try to make a connection between this immediacy and his background as a self-taught artist, but we resist the notion of pigeon-holing the invigorating creativity that has defined 35 years of painting and drawing.

Even the artist cannot put a finger on what might emerge from the next canvas. “I rarely know how a painting will turn out,” says Bob, “and this is part of what makes the process interesting for me.”

WENDY PLOGER‘s journey from Brooklyn to 13th Street is a story we like to tell. Our friend Gail Stolp, a bartender here at Dirty Frank’s and at Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar, discovered Wendy’s photography and introduced us. Two years passed before Wendy’s work appeared at the end of 2013, to great acclaim, with diptychs humorously pairing disparate street photographs. The next year her intriguing, gender-bending series became the hit of our Autumn Invitational. Now, amazingly, Wendy brings us TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT bodies of work (!): tintypes, created with traditional wet-plate photography, and digital collages “projecting” Wendy’s strong female portraiture against natural settings.

This different pacing for the artist holds a new-found sense of satisfaction. “A few years later, with well over a hundred professional shoots under my belt,” Wendy says, “I have felt the need to slow things down in this age of instant gratification and pinpoint accuracy.”

Fewer and fewer MARY LIZ FELLOWS began their OFF THE WALL careers under the curatorial watch of our founding director. WAYNE URFFER is an exception, having enjoyed a boffo debut here before Mary Liz’s passing in 2004. He’s also only the second artist ever to be named a Fellow for the second time, following in the footsteps of Bob Jackson, a fellow master of the assemblage. Wayne’s work is always richly layered and rewarding. He brings ponderous questions to the floor of our 3D space (and, in this case, the Wall) – ranging from pop culture to religious zealotry, existentialism to addiction but he does so is such an accessible, non-judgmental manner, leaving much to the viewer’s interpretation, that you never feel the weight of agenda.

In fact, you may feel he sometimes enters the creative space with an open mind, too, “My process is to gather materials that capture my interest and allow them broadly to dictate the size and composition of my work,” says Wayne.

You can readily see why we’re so excited about MLMME12. What we love most about this show is that it’s as much about mastering media as it is about the lifeblood of art: experimentation and evolution. Whether you are encountering Bob’s paintings, Wendy’s photos and Wayne’s boxes for the first time — or simply rediscovering them — you’re in for a rare treat.

We look forward to seeing you Thursday!

Togo Travalia, Manager, OFF THE WALL GALLERY at Dirty Frank’s, NE Corner, 13th & Pine Streets, Philadelphia, PA  19107

Thank you to Togo Travalia for the content of this post.

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Summertime

Summer Time, 10th Annual Community Juried Art Show

Summertime, 10th Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty FranksNE Corner, 13th and Pine Streets, Philadelphia, May 31st through July 31st, 2015. Artist reception June 4th, 7:00 – 10:00pm.

SummertimeOff the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks brings together the work of 45 talented artists across a range of media.

Amanda Abramson, James Biglan, Robert Bohne, Meryl Bonderow, DoN Brewer, Nick Brown, Paula Brumbelow Burns, Jackie Cassidy, Matt Cohen, Robert Critchlow, Lori Evensen, Rachel Glidden, Bob Gorchov, Rich Gunning, Diana Hamm, Erica Harney, Cynthia Harvey, Jen Hess, Bob Jackson,Thérèse Lavery, Robert Yong Lee, Barbara Lekus, Carla Liguori, Patricia Show Lima, Katy C. Lin, Rob Lybeck, Elizabeth H. MacDonald, Dan McCartney, Janice R. Moore, Michael Nathan, Sarah Watkins Nathan, Annette Newman, Tri Nguyen, A. V. Nowak, Alexandra Orgera, Fernando Poyatos, Karen Rodewald, Riikka Salo, Lois Schlachter, Julius Scissor, Al Stegeman, Emi Travalia, Vlad, Harvey Weinreich, Woodley White

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Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

Jose Rios, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

Jose Rios, Clown Posse, pen and gouache, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

By the time Clown Posse was presented to the panel of jurors assembled at Off the Wall Gallery curator Jody Sweitzer‘s place on her sweet flat screen TV, they were ready for a jolt of color. In the first round, the jury looked at over 200 images by about 50 artists while artist statements were read explaining how the artwork relates to the theme Ties That Bind. It was a lot to take in, DoN knew many of the artists but lots of others were new to him and as each image was connected to a statement, the idea of what the best representation of theme could really be emerged. For the second round of viewing, renowned photographer Rick Wright joined Elizabeth J. McTearMarlise M. TkaczukMelissa Ezelle and DoN as we looked at them all once more, each scoring our favorites in different ways. And then we looked at them all again and began the process of elimination.

There was some disagreement with Jose Rios’Clown Posse because the color looks so bold standing on it’s own on a monitor and what do clowns have to do with Ties That Bind anyway?  Jose Rios is an art student at Oasis Arts and Education, he wants’s to “inspire hope in others and myself.” The jury agreed that clowns connect deeply with people on an emotional level, a common childhood thread of fun and fear, the naive primitivism and cartoon pop color of the painting is right on trend and when you see the artwork with the rest of the show, the piece speaks in a quieter voice. During the opening reception the artist sat in the booth under his painting and worked on drawings of super-heros.

The team sifted through images for several more hours, with breaks for strawberry rhubarb pie, and argued the merits of each piece, we had to narrow the selection down to a manageable number of artworks that would fit the limited wall space and DoN learned a good lesson. Presentation is key; art shows are juried looking at digital photos which make the images all the same size on the screen, make sure your photo is the best possible.

Alice Gonglewski, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

Alice Gonglewski, Apartment, popsicle sticks, fabric and  acrylic paint, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery, photo courtesy of OTW@DF

Alice Gonglewsk‘s artist statement accompanying the popsicle stick constructions that look like a drawing/sculpture hybrids is a poem which begins, “Organize the dreams and moments, find connections, find a true tribe…” A good tip if you’re stuck writing an artist statement is to remember you’re an artist and can say it with words in a poem. If you can bring a tear to the juries eye, go for it. The graphic pieces present themselves as drawings in space, floor plan-like, with simple forms and materials representing the complex setting of a life lived.

Carla Liguori, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

Carla Liguori, Bound, terra cotta and glaze, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Galleryphoto courtesy of OTW@DF

Bound took the “top” prize, there were different levels of adherence to the theme instead of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, but the small ceramic sculpture exemplified the concept on so many levels, mixing metaphors, exquisite detail and finish, and a strange dada-ist narrative that is hard to put in words, as if we’re aware of being yoked and thinking we’re one thing instead of another; each creature believes it resembles the other because it can’t see itself. The artist describes the relationship between the figures as, “tortuous”.

Russell Brodie, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

Russell Brodie, Berkley House, oil on pine, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Galleryphoto courtesy of OTW@DF

The image of Berkley House, oil on pine, by Russell Brodie, is about life sized, the paintings are small and very realistic. In the jurying process the paintings looked as big as the other works, the images all presented relatively the same aspect ratio to one another, and presented on the screen large it was hard to imagine them small. The artist says he “wants to draw the audience in.”

Nicole Giusti, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

Nicole Giusti, The Soap Dish, photograph, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Galleryphoto courtesy of OTW@DF

DoN loves the fact that The Soap Dish was awarded most abstract interpretation of the theme. How can a photo be abstract?  But in this case many of the artworks were impressionistic, not abstract per se, and Nicole Giusti‘s still life photo combined with the tense narrative of her strained relationship with her grandmother transformed ordinary soap into doppelgangers, simulacra and ghosts of unpleasant memories. The repeating patterns, pristine color fields and limited palette resonated the theme of uncomfortable ties to family that reads differently for each viewer.

Gene Renzi, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

Gene Renzi, American Flags for Sale, photograph, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Galleryphoto courtesy of OTW@DF

Stephen Millner, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

Stephen Millner, Air Support, mixed media collage, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Galleryphoto courtesy of OTW@DF

Stephen Millner‘s Air Support collage is poignant and direct to the point, ties to military people is special, enduring and hopeful. The cancelled air mail stamps speak of countless expressions of hope and love, military families send care packages of stuff soldiers can’t get in Afghanistan or even on military bases, DoN has two nephews who have been deployed to the wars, Kurt is in Iraq right now working as a contractor, Buddy is back on active duty and could deploy anywhere, anytime. Art that reflects military life touches DoN‘s heart, the ties of love and hope bound with anxiety and fear is potent.

Eli VandenBerg, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

Eli VandenBerg, Egg Beater, ink on paper, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Galleryphoto courtesy of OTW@DF

All of the jurors thought of their grandmothers when presented with Egg Beater, an exquisite ink drawing that is simple, descriptive and active.  The image represents a tool that ties us to fond memories, the old fashioned kitchen utensil able to mentally transport us to a place in the past with cake batter and whipped cream. Even the angle of the egg beater hints at activity, actions and achieving goals.

Jena Serbu, Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

Jena Serbu, detail from Crickets, diorama with marionette- style low-fire clay figures found wood construction by Dawn Smith,  Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Galleryphoto courtesy of OTW@DF

Crickets is especially interesting because the piece was made on spec. The artists submitted a proposal with drawings and samples of some completed elements of the sculpture, the artist statement dealt with marital discord, problems from the past and angst of modern life. So the artists took a chance the jury would give them the go ahead to complete the piece, the presentation of the idea was fulfilled exactly as proposed and is a powerful presence in the show.

Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery

Awarding the prizes was a surprisingly simple and satisfying exercise. Each juror picked their top three favorites in each category ranked in descending order, if two or more pieces were selected by the jurors the scores were added and the highest scores received an award – a cool tie-dye kit.

DoN was honored when Togo Travalia asked him to help jury the show, Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks has a long history of exceptional art shows. The Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show is beautiful, sometimes challenging with a wide interpretation of a theme based on three simple words and what they mean to different artists.  The ties that Off the Wall Gallery has to the Philadelphia arts community binds artists in a welcoming place, not afraid to take risks with art, challenge norms and raise the conversation to new levels when it comes to art interpretation and exhibition. Ties That Bind, Seventh Annual Community Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery is on exhibit through August 3rd.

Written by DoN

Photographs courtesy of Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Frank’s Bar except where noted.

Bob Jackson, 100 Faces of Bob at Off the Wall Gallery

Bob Jackson, 100 Faces at Off the Wall Gallery

Bob Jackson, 100 Faces of Bob at Off the Wall Gallery

100 Faces of Bob is over one hundred mixed media art objects mounted on the wall at Off the Wall Gallery created by outgoing President of The Plastic Club, Bob Jackson.  Last week DoN watched a movie at The Plastic Club‘s monthly art salon, shot in 2006, of Bob Jackson‘s collections and studio, a consummate pack rat collector and inspired artist.  Jackson collects objet trouve’ then transmogrifies the collected elements, found at flea markets, yard sales and antique shops into anthropomorphic portraits.

Bob Jackson, 100 Faces at Off the Wall Gallery

Bob Jackson100 Faces of Bob at Off the Wall Gallery

Off the Wall Gallery usually hosts group show but gave over the whole space to Bob Jackson’s thesis: attractive, fun, visionary art that’s affordable.  Bob Jackson has been leading The Plastic Club for many years, he’s seen it all, good and bad, and synthesized the information into an art style that is aspirational and accessible.  Like his ball point pen drawings on typing paper, the 100 Faces each express the artist’s hand, thought, effort and time.  Anthropomorphism is practically the original art, the Venus of Willendorf speaks to us over mellenia, Bob Jackson is able to tap into our deepest cultural memories and speak to us here in the future.

Bob Jackson, 100 Faces at Off the Wall Gallery

Bob Jackson, 100 Faces of Bob at Off the Wall Gallery

Bob Jackson100 Faces of Bob at Off the Wall Gallery

click the thumbnail

Bob Jackson, 100 Faces of Bob at Off the Wall Gallery

Bob Jackson100 Faces of Bob at Off the Wall Gallery

Bob Jackson, 100 Faces of Bob at Off the Wall Gallery

Bob Jackson100 Faces of Bob at Off the Wall Gallery

The Off the Wall Gallery consistently installs thought provoking and relevant art shows. Usually the installations are juried group shows offering emerging artists opportunities to show their work with established artists. Art is part of the business model at Dirty Franks Bar, space on their wall is coveted and their sales record is really good.  100 Faces of Bob will be remembered as one of the great moments in Philadelphia art history, the show looks like it will be sold out.  Each piece is only $50.00.  Bob Jackson‘s legacy will be a strong, real, measurable impact on the Philadelphia art community, DoN has personally cried on Bob’s shoulder over art matters and know’s he has counseled and supported hundreds of other artists with assurances, solutions and advice.  Creating a wonderful experience design, the show offers so many lessons in art making, marketing, networking and socializing from a master Philadelphia artist, 100 Faces of Bob reveals the beautiful face of a friend.

LoVe

DoN

Deja Vu – 6th Annual Juried Competition @ Off the Wall Gallery in Dirty Frank’s

Deja Vu - 6th Annual Juried Competition @ Off the Wall Gallery in Dirty Frank’s

Deja Vu6th Annual Juried Competition @ Off the Wall Gallery in Dirty Frank’sDoN missed the opening party for Deja Vu but art friends reported the place was packed with artists and friends celebrating the amazing collection of art gleaned from the many submissions.  Off the Wall has a long art history in Philly and being included in the group show, especially with such esteemed  jurors, is a real honor.  When lola & DoN sipped cocktails at the bar, a feeling of pride and accomplishment surges through his system, even the Jack neat doesn’t quell the vibration.  Having photographs hang next to Rick Wright, Bonnie Schorske, Ed Snyder…feels so validating.  Entering art competitions is like buying lottery tickets, you can’t win unless you play.

Deja Vu - 6th Annual Juried Competition @ Off the Wall Gallery in Dirty Frank’s

Yeoun Lee, Marion LioppoBill Myers’ phot0 collage is totally Dada, Rick Wright corners anthropomorphism in household objects, Erin Lynn O’Connor tackles surrealism – the show is really trippy.  Deja Vu6th Annual Juried Competition @ Off the Wall Gallery in Dirty Frank’s.

Deja Vu - 6th Annual Juried Competition @ Off the Wall Gallery in Dirty Frank’s

Deja Vu 6th Annual Juried Competition @ Off the Wall Gallery in Dirty Frank’s.

Deja Vu - 6th Annual Juried Competition @ Off the Wall Gallery in Dirty Frank’s

Deja Vu – 6th Annual Juried Competition @ Off the Wall Gallery in Dirty Frank’s.

Thank you so much to the team at Dirty Franks, Jody & Togo, for maintaining this long tradition of art competition, friendship and networking which offers Philadelphians a glimpse into the best of the local art scene, artists a groovy venue and quality that many times foreshadows art trends –  with cocktails!