To step into the Twenty-Two Gallery is to enter a separate plane of existence, far removed from the frantic pace of the city beyond its walls.
Melissa M. Bryant reigns over this quiet kingdom, speaking with me at a small table in the center of the paintings that comprise "Interlude," her current exhibition. The artist maintains that “you learn quite a bit about life by being still,” an idea captured in the surrounding oil paintings that are meant to embody mindfulness. Bryant's work is mostly made up of landscapes — her “first love” — as well as several portraits and still lifes. A large canvas of Mother's Day flowers preserves their vibrance before they begin to wilt, and a scene depticting a winter dawn captures a transient moment of morning peace. Her whimsical brushstrokes are remeniscent of the en plein air Impressionists, colorful and full of contemplation.
Only through attentiveness, Bryant maintains, can we truly take the time to appreciate these scenes of nature that surround us. A look at her paintings and a moment in her presence are a welcome respite from the fast-paced working day, and may help you pause to appreciate the breeze in Rittenhouse Park next time you pass through in hurried transit.
Through Sept. 9, opening Fri., July 13, 6–9 p.m., Twenty-Two Gallery, 236 S. 22nd St., 215-272-1911, melissambryant.com.
Harmonious Entities, textile artist Sarah Johanna Wondrack's instillation piece that's currently up at The Last Drop in Wash West, wraps around the interior of the cozy coffee house like a swarm of moths on their way to the apocalypse. Made from wire and recycled tracing paper, Wondrack created the work to "shed light on even the most common and ordinary materials," and by using repetition, she says in her artist's statement, "the objects are exploited and the finished product is greater than the sum of its parts."
Impressive permanent collections may have put our area museums on the map, but it's the rotating exhibits that keep visitors coming back. Every Thursday, Abigail Minor updates you on the newest and most browse-worthy. This week: electricity tubes, salty endings and a jazz oasis.
“Tempus Fugit” at the American Philosophical Society Museum
What better way to reopen after a long hiatus than with an exhibit on the complexities of time? The American Philosophical Society Museum is back with “Tempus Fugit”, featuring select items from its collection interspersed with the appropriate pieces of Chicago artist Antonia Contro, many of which, through video and sound installations of rapidly flipping pages, reflect the dwindling beauty of printed books. Contro is the first artist to compile an exhibit within the Museum’s walls, and she does so by titling the divided exhibit cases after musical terms such as “adagio (slow movement)” and “aeon (eternal time)”, within which are her responses to: the ancient pages of the Book of Hours, an illustrated documentation of the seasons and holy day devotions, a static electricity tube reminiscent of Benjamin Franklin, and scattered items such as shattered glass left behind by General Electric founder Elihu Thomson.
Fri., April 13-Dec. 30, $1, American Philosophical Society Museum, 104 S. Fifth St., 215-440-3442, apsmuseum.org.
Impressive permanent collections may have put our area museums on the map, but it's the rotating exhibits that keep visitors coming back. Every Thursday, Abigail Minor updates you on the newest and most browse-worthy. This week: Little Saigon, faceless rag dolls, and mountain racers.
“Exit Saigon, Enter Little Saigon” at the Asian Arts Initiative
“Exit Saigon, Enter Little Saigon” is a Smithsonian-originated exhibit, brought to Philadelphia by Boat People SOS, celebrating the progression of Vietnamese America from 1975 to the present. Photographs document the Vietnamese journey from black and white cramped refugee camps in the Philippines and Japan to the freely colorful celebrations in Little Saigon – the name of the Vietnamese community in California, as well as a term for any Vietnamese oasis. Expressive photos not only take you through Vietnamese Americans’ tumultuous history of escape from war, but also through their artistic and societal strides through images of movie posters and life-sized cutouts of Vietnamese American icons.
Opening reception, Fri., April 6, 6 p.m., exhibit through June 1, free, Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St., 215-557-0455, asianartsinitiative.org
In the last ten years, Jason Kernevich and Dustin Summers have gone from back-table gigs selling posters at the Church to doing illustrations for the pages of the New York Times. There have been stops along the way — working with Wilco led to working with R.E.M., for instance. They relocated to Brooklyn and Seattle respectively, and finally circled back to Philly two and a half years ago to set up permanent shop. They've been working the lecture series for about five years now, and as they prepare for a hometown talk tonight at 6 p.m., back at the First Unitarian Church, they took some time to speak with CP.
CP: I see your work as simultatneously clean and rustic — clean in the sense that you don't clutter a lot of shit around it, and rustic in the sense that it has a very handmade quality.
Dustin Summers: It's really important to us to keep it as elegant and simple as possible. We like for the finished product to to have a human quality to it.
Jason Kernevich: That's just the way we like our images, with that hand-done element; we definitely feel more connected to work that communicates that aspect.
Can you speak at all to your creative process?
DS: We probably spend about 75% of the time figuring out the concept. We don't really spend a lot time thinking about the image, which probably sounds weird since we're visual artists, but we're much more concerned with the concept.
JK: Basically, we just like to design rectangles. (Laughs.) Seriously, though, rectangles draw your eye in. You kind of need that boundary. When we're in the planning/sketching phase, If I have a big, blank piece of paper, it's difficult for me to begin. I need that confinement. For the most part, my sketchbook is full of words.
Do you prefer making posters or designing book covers, or would you rather just do projects like the Gatsby business cards?
JK: I get restless. If we've been doing illustrations for 18 months then I want to do a Gatsby-type project or typography type thing.
Impressive permanent collections may have put our area museums on the map, but it's the rotating exhibits that keep visitors coming back. Every Thursday, Abigail Minor updates you on the newest and most browse-worthy. This week: Kentucky spice, erupting felt, and dyed uniforms.
Cynthia Norton at the PAFA
Bringing a little Kentucky spice to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is spunky artist Cynthia Norton. In the current exhibit, "Freedom Rings Placed Within," feminist Norton interacts with the historical paintings found within the Academy’s walls, responding to centuries-old artwork in her own quirky statements, such as her bright self-portrait in reply to the tame depiction of the “ideal woman” in William Merritt Chase’s Portrait of Mrs. C. She seeks to interact with art in the way only artists can: by creating more.
Through May 27, free-$15, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118 N. Broad St., 215-972-7600, pafa.org
Art-geek extraordinaire Courtney Sexton presents a weekly selection of Philly's must-see gallery exhibits. This week: art out of (and in, and around) the box at Clay Studio, the rhythm of the tides at Muse, and nature, nature, nature at Woodmere Art Museum.
"Small Favors VII" at the Clay Studio
If you don’t visit any other gallery this First Friday, do yourself a big favor and make sure you get to the Clay Studio for the opening of the seventh annual "Small Favors" exhibition. Clay Studio, which focuses on ceramic arts (and though ceramics remain predominant, for the first time in the show’s history, other media like metal and fiber were accepted in this year's "Small Favors"), has long been active in promoting community growth by providing cutting-edge educational and outreach programming as well as studio and exhibition space. One of their missions is making high-quality artwork more accessible, both in terms of appeal and pricing, and this month’s exhibition particularly targets younger art collectors.
"Small Favors" opens this evening with works by over 230 artists, who were encouraged to “literally think outside the box,” explained gallery coordinator Naomi Cleary — all pieces in some way fit in (or around, or on, or through) a 4-inch-square cube. They came up an impressively diverse array of works — some fit within the box, others pierce holes through it, still others turn the box itself into a sculpture. Some even light up. In one of my favorites, ceramic flowers with wire stems grow out of the box in all directions; another contains a kitschy set of cats-wearing-cones salt-and-pepper shakers. Arranged in larger squares along the walls (some also rising out of the floorspace), the works appear as individual tiles of a large ceramic quilt. Overall, it has the effect of a Chuck Close painting, where each pixel in the portrait is its own miniature work of art. I know it may sound trite, but I mean it with all sincerity: These pieces are fun. Go see them.
Opening reception tonight, through March 24, free, The Clay Studio, 137-139 N. Second St., 215-925-3453, theclaystudio.org.
SoapBox: Independent Publishing Center and Homeskooled Gallery will celebrate the “comfort and thrills” provided by the written and spoken word at Booked!, a one-night-only interactive exhibit that allows visitors get their creative on in three separate sections.
In the story-writing center, guests can piece together tales by utilizing magazines, books, photocopies, and the center’s in-house typewriter and illustration center. The results will be published as a book that will live forever in The Soapbox’s Zine Library.
A “listening tent” re-creates the warmth of storytelling blanket-fort style. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s always lovely to close your eyes and let someone read to you ...
The young at heart should steer clear of Naughty Reads section, however. Here horny toads can recreate the excitement of discovering new, forbidden ideas. Expect political manifestos, sex stuff, bad words and all kinds of reading material to make your momma blush.
There will be word-themed cupcakes and soup, hot toddies and wine. They also encourage visitors to bring zines for Soapbox’s the library, and books to donate to Books Through Bars. The event is free, but please consider giving these kind people a donation. Times are tough for book lovers these days.
Each week, Michael Gold breezes past those big-name theater companies to turn a spotlight on Philly's indie stages.
After single-handedly drawing her 54-piece deck of art cards, “Portable Fortitude,” local artist Corina Dross decided to reach out for assistance on her next project. To create the “The Last Calendar You’ll Ever Need,” she enlisted the help of her sister, painter Josie Mosser, who provided the color to Dross’ sketches representing the Mayan prophecy that 2012 is the end of the line. The finished product is a full-color, sketched plant- and animal-heavy calendar with each month depicting what may or may not be in store. To celebrate the release, West Philly art space/clothing boutique VIX Emporium is hosting Magic and Mayhem, a bash that owner Emily Dorn says will feature what could possibly be “the last wine and cheese you’ll ever eat.”
Sat. Nov. 12, 6-9 p.m., free, VIX Emporium, 5009 Baltimore Ave., 215-471-7700, vixemporium.com.
- Arts Events
- First Person Fest
- Last Chance
- On the Fringe
- Philly Artists
- The Curator
- Visual Art
- Arts News
- Artist Profile
- Arts Preview
- Street Art
- Been There, Done That
- Big Ups
- LOL With It
- Critical Mass
- Friday Fill-in
- Ice Cubes
- In Memoriam
- Just Do It
- Just Opened
- Art Phag
- Film Fest
- Movie Review
- On set
- 10 Track Mind
- Album Review
- Concert Review
- Local Support
- Now Hear This
- One Track Mind
- Philly Bands
- Somebody Else Was There
- The Showdown
- concert photos
- DJ Nights Blogged
- Night Watch
- Now See This
- Poetic License
- Printed Matter
- What We Heart
- Idol Hands
- Mad Men
- True Blood
- Useless Lost Recaps
- Couch Potato
- Shore Trash
- Turned ONN
- Video Games
- Free Online Game
- PlayStation 2
- The 1-Upper
- Web Junk
- CAGE MATCH
- Free Online Toy
- Weekend Omnibus