DoNArTNeWs – 4/13/08
Second Thursdays at the Crane Arts Building are off the hook; located at 1400 N American St. · Philadelphia, PA 19122-3803, there is ample parking and always excellent art. At the Nexus Gallery, two artists are showing works on paper; Tasha Doremus: New Work and Susan Abrams: From Stillness. Doremus’ work somehow mixes photography, computer graphics and surface destruction to create images at once emotional and thought-provoking; one image reminded DoN of when he was a kid and the film would sometimes melt at the movies and the projector would have to be stopped and the film edited back together. In fact, one of her pieces has slashes in the paper revealing a glimpse of crimson hidden beneath.
Artist, Tasha Doremus @ Nexus Gallery.
Susan Abrams’ “from stillness” is a collection of photographs and prints with unusual distinction, hand-made paper is printed with images of corrosion, water damage and entropy. All of the images are printed on paper made from abaca pulp (derived from banana plants) and were digitally printed in collaboration with Rick De Coyte of Silicon Gallery Fine Art Prints. (Nexus Website) DoN believes this is a bold artistic statement considering the technical difficulty of feeding rough hewn paper through a printer with the inherent risks.
Artist, Susan Abrams @ Nexus Gallery.
In the Icebox the future is on view; a fantastic motion graphics project utilizing five projectors creating a dystopian universe of animal totems, post-apocalyptic destruction and dizzying sound design. Many visitors sat on the floor transfixed watching The Soft Epic or: Savages of the Pacific West by Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib. Birds, cats and fire cross through the projections like a crazy quilt of spiritual images; the technical accomplishment is dazzling.
The Soft Epic @ the Icebox. Composite photo by Alden Cole.
On the second floor is 201 Gallery with a spot-on show of large scale photographs by Ryan Widger; black and white prints fill the space with shadowy compositions evoking loneliness, contemplation and magic realism appropriately titled Consummated. The gallery also features a new video display created by StudioScopic enabling the gallery-goer to virtually visit the artists’ studio.
Photograph by Ryan Widger @ K&W 201 Gallery.
Video display by StudioScopic @ K&W/201 Gallery.
In the Gray Area of the Crane Arts Building is a construction called Scale Model, From Memory by Michael Grothusen. Scale Model, From Memory is rooted in a drawing project Michael Grothusen started while on an artists’ residency in the south of France in the early 1990’s. Dislocated from his usual studio he undertook a project where he attempted to draw, from memory, every house he ever lived in, including the location of doors, windows and the placement of furniture.
For the Grey Area at the Ice Box, he has built a half scale model of a house he lived in from 1973 to 1977, using the drawing, a few blurry family photographs and memory as sources. The work is an attempt to reconcile early spatial memories with a structure that conforms to architectural logic. Built in a plain spoken and matter of fact manner, the sculpture borrows equally from the language of new housing construction and early Minimalism. (Crane Website).
DoN was reminded of growing up in the post-Korean War housing development called Oak Valley.
Scale Model, From Memory by Michael Grothusen in The Gray Area.
Friday night, DoN started the evening with cocktails at the Philadelphia Sketch Club (great conversation and priced-right drinks); the pool room has a show of photographs by Sketch Club member Bonnie Schorske and the 145th Annual Small Oils Show is in the second floor gallery. The second Friday’s of each month are a terrific opportunity to rub elbows with Philadelphia’s finest artists in the historic space on Camac Street.
Photos by Bonnie Schorske in the pool room @ PSC.
Perpetual Vibration; Pluralistic Infinity by Nathan Thomas Wilson @ PSC.
Flora from the Land of Pleasant Living by Nathan Thomas Wilson @ PSC.
DoN LoVeS the two small paintings by Nathan Thomas Wilson in the Small Oils Show; each piece combines idealistic consumerism with psychedelic atmosphere and saturated color. Wilson is a young painter who was forced to learn to paint with his less dominant hand; the detail, composition, subject matter and execution are top notch and well worth the price. Collectors should grab these pieces now – this kid’s going places.
DoN then cruised over to Sande Webster Gallery on Walnut Street to see the Water Signs show by Shelly Lependorf and Stan Shire; a group of large scale prints on archival paper and mixed media including encaustics. DoN has long admired the creativity and technical proficiency of these enigmatic collaborators.
Shelly Lependorf & Stan Shire @ Sande Webster Gallery.
Archival giclee print with encaustics by Lependorf/Shire @ Sande Webster Gallery.
DoN was fascinated by the imaginative watercolors by master watercolorist Mike McDonnell in the large rear gallery at Sande Webster. At first glance the compositions appeared to be quirkily arranged still life paintings until DoN noticed that none of the shadows matched the bottles, gourds and machine parts – quite surreal.
Watercolorist Mike McDonnell with his grandson @ Sande Webster Gallery.
Next, DoN went around the corner to Twenty-Two Gallery to see, friend of DoN‘s, Patrick Monaghan‘s one-man show of oil paintings. Monaghan has developed a wonderful painterly style with bold strokes, brilliant coloration and sensitive atmospheric naturalism to create lovely florals, figures and still lifes (many of which had already sold). Many of Monaghan’s art friends turned out on the beautiful Spring evening to celebrate his accomplishment; the gathering reminded DoN of what it must have been like when the famous French Impressionists gathered to celebrate each other’s exhibitions. The only thing missing was Absinthe. DoN chatted with Doris Pelzman, Sue Barnes, Reta Sweeney, Shawn Murray and Lisa Heyman until 9:00PM when the doors were closed.
Still Life Oil Painting by Patrick Monaghan @ Twenty-Two Gallery.
Art Party for Patrick Monaghan @ Twenty-Two Gallery.
DoN would like to thank Ivin Williams for sharing his art events newsletter and for supporting the Philadelphia arts community with such enthusiasm and tenacity.
All photos by DoNBrewerMultimedia Photography except where noted.
Thanks for the information.The article was very informative.I liked the article and I expect more article of this kind in future from You.
Thanks for the positive words about my art. Just wanted to correct you. I am not exclusively represented by any art gallery in Philadelphia. I sell throughout the country and work with many dealers. My website is http://www.JohnStango.com. Nangellini is just one of the many galleries carrying my work in the Philadelphia area.
Thanks again for your words.
DoN apologizes for inferring Tasha works digitally; analog photo work is almost becoming artesanal, bringing traditional photographic techniques back into the artists hand.