If you’re a sixth-grader at heart, like me, your eye will immediately wander to one part of the exhibit “Woman Inherits the Earth”: the firecrotch.
You won’t initially zero in on Marcella Marsella’s clever references to greats like Frida Kahlo or Botticelli. (Though they’re cool, too.) And you won’t straight away notice the oversaturated folk-art symbols that litter her work.
Nope, your eye will be drawn to the big, red bushes in Marsella’s La révolte des recherchées, a drawing of three tough-as-nails women.
Marsella, who was born with the first name Lauren, says the illustration is about clout.
“Drawing the firecrotch or very flamboyant pubic hair on women is all about power,” she says. “There’s a very straight, obvious link from hair to power.”
If Marsella sounds like an unapologetic feminist, wait till you see her work. She’s unafraid to drop a beheaded dude’s head into the forefront of a drawing, or reinvent 17th-century pieces by Artemisia Gentileschi, the O.G. of feminist art.
But Marsella says the historical references are neither about paying homage to artists nor poking fun at them.
“What I’m focused on is taking themes that I think are timeless — obviously they’re timeless because they’ve been reinvented again and again — and making them my own,” she says.
Actually, Marsella admits, it’s different when her pieces reference macho male artists such as Picasso. In those cases, she is challenging their work and its connection to the male-dominated art world.
“Women barely have a voice, still, in 2013,” she says. “When they do have a voice, it’s labeled ‘feminine’ or ‘feminist,’ which is the worst thing of all in public opinion. … One way to take that on is to take on a piece of art history that is very male.”
Through June 30, opening Fri., June 7, 7 p.m., 1227 N. Fourth St., 267-608-1016, philly.3rdward.com.
The Art Dept.
A zebra. Piano keys. The game Othello. The New York Times crossword puzzle. Objects, much like the work of Joe Boruchow, that are defined by a stark juxtaposition of black and white.
Beginning with stencils developed to create posters for his band The Nite Lights, his large-scale black and white cutouts that cover the streets and mailboxes of Philadelphia reveal Boruchow’s evolution from his initial, fragile technique to one that allows these installations to be viewed by a more extensive audience. Boruchow comments that he endeavors to discover “architectural spaces to frame and add context to [his] work, ultimately integrating them into the environment.”
His upcoming exhibition "Future Primitive" (the title of which is taken from a song off his new EP, Mind Eraser) will include the original cutouts on which the larger instillations are based. Boruchow remarks that the title of the exhibit was inspired by its feature piece, Selfie Ad Infinitum, and much like the name of the cutout itself, “juxtaposes notions of timelessness and futility” that Boruchow aims to convey through seven new and seven old pieces.
Through August, opening Fri., June 7, 6 p.m., Art Dept. 1638 Berks St., 215-739-4146, artdeptpa.com.
And Then There’s …
Marc Blumthal is much more efficient while using Google Images than the rest of us. His exhibit “The Flame and the Flower” utilizes photographs from the site to raise questions about the American psyche, Ronald Reagan and WWE.
Through June 28, opening Fri., June 7, 6 p.m., 319 N. 11th St., second floor, napoleonnapoleon.com.
Little Berlin Fairgrounds
For two years, the artists at the Kensington collective Little Berlin have been hustling to clean up a vacant lot near their gallery. With seeds planted, weeds cleared and installations installed, it’s time to finally celebrate. Friday is the kickoff of the revamped outdoor space, dubbed the “fairgrounds.” They will host several family-friendly arts events at the property this summer. And did I mention there’ll be free hot dogs and hamburgers at the opening?
Opening Fri., June 7, 6 p.m., 2009-2011 E. York St., lb-fairgrounds.tumblr.com.
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