PETS, Off the Wall at Dirty Franks

PETS, 11th Annual Juried Exhibition, Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

Written by Togo Travalia

“We celebrate our best non-human friends in so many ways: from giving them toys and treats, positive affirmation and unconditional love, to sharing their personalities, devotion, affectionate natures and playfulness with the world.

Our 11th Annual Juried Exhibition finds a new way to celebrate our pets, even as it creatively interweaves all of these ways. You know what we’re talking about…ART!

We cordially invite you to join us to welcome PETS at our OPENING RECEPTION, which takes place THIS THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 7-10 PM. As always, we will serve light hors d’oeuvres, pour your favorite drinks, convene the company of fellow art lovers and offer the chance to meet most of the 42 artists whose AWWW-inspiring pet projects line our Wall and 3D space.

Plus, PETS has something brand-new in store: the chance to give back. Every time we sell artwork from PETS, 20% of the proceeds go to the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Street Tails Animal Rescue.

Our modest philanthropy is inspired in part by the generosity of spirit that is so easy to find among the 76 works in PETS, across a wide array of media:

* You have to know that PHOTOGRAPHY — what all of us use to document our pets’ lives — has a big role. Our artists elevate the form. Exquisite silver gelatin darkroom prints from AMANDA ABRAMSON on the B&W section of our Wall (a curatorial choice by JODY SWEITZER, which is stunning), take us from Lambertville to Brooklyn to the city we have close to our hearts right now, Paris. ALEXANDRA ORGERA‘s medium-format digital print is a story waiting to be told; use your imagination! Meanwhile, TRI NGUYEN‘s housebound images show us what we should be doing with our smartphones: distilling the everyday into simple, heartfelt, magical moments.

* PAINTING encompasses a range of media: BOB GORCHOV‘s irresistible, fan-favorite acrylics; MINA SMITH‘s enchanting watercolor of dog walkers at work; ALBERT ALDINGER‘s sweet kitty portrait contrasted with BILL GROVE‘s tough alley cat; JOCELYNN TICE‘s breathtakingly photorealistic pastel of owner and pet; and CYNTHIA HARVEY‘s rendering of a cat-ism: the hours of joy that can be found in crumbled paper from a delivery box.

* We could not have custom-ordered a more skillful range of PRINTMAKING. Three different techniques are rendered with precision and heart. ELIZABETH STRICKER‘s impeccable woodblock print fills a physical yin-yang space with one curled up cat conveying Zen-like tranquility. ALYSE C. BERNSTEIN shows how printing a lithograph from marble stone can inject subtle beauty into her dog Frank taking a nap. And MARLISE M. TKACZUK, well into her second decade as one of the most popular OFF THE WALL artists, brings down the house with her adoptive feline kids and their demanding ways.

These are the major categories but it’s hardly all here. PETS has amazing range. Outliers include ELIZABETH H. MACDONALD‘s bobbin lace goldfish, joined by NOA TRAVALIA‘s abstract assembled-paper koi; CARLA LIGUORI‘s new terracotta sculpture, suggesting pet-like relationships can be forged with wild creatures; SARAH BRETT‘s stunning debut, which puts front and center a ceramic from her “hiney” body of work (we kid you not!); and the always kidding work of BOB JACKSON, whose 23 mixed media assemblages establish a record that will NEVER be broken. (Yes, all 23 were juried into this show!) Read the titles before you take in the work and you appreciate Bob’s ribald sense of humor.

That’s only 17 artists, leaving 25 I haven’t mentioned. 25! And four of these artists — Sarah, Alyse, Liz and Albert — are new to OFF THE WALL; they are joined by 10 more colleagues showing in our space for the very first time. And NINE ARTISTS will win CASH PRIZES TOTALING $550. Who? We’ll find out at the Opening Reception.

If all this doesn’t tickle your fancy, go and scratch behind the ears of your kitty or dog and think again. We can’t wait to see you. Oh, and remember to change the water bowl, maybe get in that walk and put out some fresh dry food before you come over. OR bring your dog to the opening. DIRTY FRANK’S is Philly’s ORIGINAL dog-friendly bar!

Don’t have any of these tasks on your agenda? We also offer a 20% discount on any PETS artwork if you adopt a cat or dog in November or December (a discount that can be applied retroactively, too!).

Open your arms for PETS. Open your heart to your pet.

See you Thursday evening!”


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


(215) 732-5010 (bar)

(484) 357-6440 (cell)

Philly’s pioneering alternative art space, since 1978.

Read DoN‘s review of Alyese C. Bernstein‘s, Frank, lithograph on

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