Rebecca Jacoby doesn’t overthink her art.
“‘Spontaneous’ is a perfect word for my process,” she says.
That’s a little hard to believe. Jacoby’s mixed-media paintings, displayed in Le Meridien’s hotel lobby, depict cell-like structures that are enormous and intricate. The locally based artist fills her patterns with warm, dreamy colors like periwinkle and peach. “The shapes I like to work with, which are circular but not perfect circles, come more from stones, rocks and pebbles and other naturally occurring circular structures,” she says. “I’m not completely sure why these shapes are so compelling to me.”
Karl Jones, also a local artist, is showing his 3-D constructions alongside Jacoby’s work. Most endearing is Jones’ portrait of a goofy-looking 1959 Ford pickup. “That old girl and I were best friends,” he says. “We worked and played hard together in renovation, antiques, fishing and camping, bottle digging. I could go on, but you get the gist.” Through Feb. 28, opening Fri., Jan. 4, 6 p.m., 1421 Arch St., 215-422-8200, lemeridienphiladelphia.com.
Johanna Inman shoots watermarks dotted on a book. Eric Porter focuses his lens on cityscapes. Ken Cushman’s pictures highlight shiny, smashed aluminum foil.
But you wouldn’t necessarily know all that from looking at their photographs. The exhibit “FOCUS” features seven photographers whose work is delightfully abstract. Trying to pinpoint what the images actually depict is like deciphering a Rothko painting.
Gallery director Luella Tripp thinks that’s a good thing. “In our visual culture, we all too often view a photograph as ‘reality.’ However, despite appearances, it is by its very nature removed from the reality we see and feel,” she says in a statement. “By rejecting the myth of photography, the abstract artist embraces the medium’s full potential.” Through Jan. 12, reception Fri., Jan. 4, 6 p.m., 47-49 N. Second St., 215-923-3110, lgtrippgallery.com.
AND THEN THERE'S …
Imagine not being able to tweet your every thought. The Asian Art Initiative’s exhibit “Shut Your Trap!!!” is a stark reminder of the lack of freedom of speech throughout the world. Closing night Fri., Jan. 4, 6 p.m., 1219 Vine St., 215-557-0455, asianartsinitiative.org.
In SPACE’s “Locals Only,” designers and illustrators pay tribute to the charming neon signs that swing above dive bars. Through Jan. 30, opening Fri., Jan. 4, 6 p.m., 72 N. Second St., aigaphilly.org.
The powers at Rodger LaPelle Galleries have been trying to woo local painter Paul Kane for several years. They finally snagged him, they say, because so many other galleries have shut down recently. Through Jan. 31, opening Fri., Jan. 4, 5 p.m., 122 N. Third St., 215-592-0232, rodgerlapellegalleries.com.