Schmidt Dean tries some new stuff

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Schmidt Dean is using the slow summer season to take a chance on some new artists. The exhibit, New Stuff. New People includes several new faces and some contemporary imagery. The imagery may be contemporary–i.e. not SD’s usual–but what remains consistent with SD’s usual practice is the beautiful craftsmanship and emphasis on aesthetics.

Dan Kornrumpf, silk on canvas (embroidered)
Dan Kornrumpf, silk on canvas (embroidered)

The standout for me was revisiting the photographic, embroidered portraits by Daniel Kornrumpf. Two years ago, this sparkled at the PAFA student show. The subjects are Kornrumpf’s contemporaries. The medium is a big surprise. The scale of the portraits– tiny and centered on very large stretched linen square along with the embroidery medium invite close examination, and the small scale serves as a reminder of how small photographic images of faces usually are as compared to most painted portraits. The large expanse of linen on which the images appear give them enough space so their intense method of manufacture gets the space it deserves, and ups the gravitas of what is otherwise an ordinary face. Of the two portraits on display, one is confrontational, daring you to admire a non-standard face with its braces; the other is cool behind his sunglasses, daring you to find a personal connection.

Tracy Stuckey, Dangerous Life, drawing
Tracy Stuckey, Dangerous Life, drawing

Tracy Stuckey‘s two narrative drawings of sexy young women living life on the wild side look like B movie scenes set in Texas or Nashville. The women are girly sexy–in look-at-me poses. The one guy is cowboy cool and detached. The negative space between the girl’s legs and the sofa in
Dangerous Life vibrates with tension. The calculating, immodest quality of both guys and gals with their sexual charge and male gaze is a sharp contrast to the modesty of the graphite. It’s no surprise that the last time Stuckey showed in Philadelphia was in the Guilty Pleasures exhibit at Projects Gallery. Anyway, these beautifully made drawings are for the boudoir, next to the Bouguereaus.

Krista Steinke, That fell underneath Jack's house, photo
Krista Steinke, That fell underneath Jack's house, photo

The weirdness of childhood is captured by Krista Steinke‘s photographs. Two of the photos, both with kids in get-ups–one in a coonskin cap and one looking like a 90 year old lady in a floral dress on a park bench, distorted through the plastic of a water-cooler jug–have an uncanny quality. These look familiar to me, and I’m sure I’ve seen at least one of them, maybe at Nexus or Projects.

Robert Morgan, Untitled Bot, acrylic on panel
Robert Morgan, Untitled Bot, acrylic on panel

Hot outta Fishtown where he was featured in Proximity Gallery’s Monsters vs. Robots show, Robert Morgan is riding the robot wave. His elegant bots painted on wood panels hit their stride when the grain of the wood and the urban landscape suggested by some lines of paint and dotted windows all merge as a unified whole. Animalistic parts and details make some of the bots come alive.

Ida Weygandt, Thicket, photo
Ida Weygandt, Thicket, photo

The others in the exhibit are not exactly new, which is not necessarily bad. Two of the artists have been at Schmidt Dean before.–Ida Weygandt and Leila Cartier. With an eye for obsessive detail, photographer Weygandt shows the seedy side of country living. Weygandt is young, but she’s got a signature interest in overwhelming multiplicity and representations of social class.

Leila Cartier, Two Birds, oil on canvas
Leila Cartier, Two Birds, oil on canvas

And the painting in Leila Cartier‘s Two Birds, is luscious and voluptuous. The birds, unlike Ann Craven’s wallpaper-inspired decorative birdies, were inspired by nature and people,, gorgeous in their oddness–a pair of carefully coiffed ladies whose feathers have been ruffled.

Ted Larsen, Slant, recycled steel on wood
Ted Larsen, Slant, recycled steel on wood

The ringer in the show is work by New Mexico Minimalist artist Ted Larsen, who showed at the Philadelphia Museum of art in 1987. His wax-coated constructions are more like paintings than sculptures. But his Slant, a sort of 3-D parallelogram mounted on the wall, with rubbed metal-strip surfaces that bleed bits of blue near the edges, is more sculptural. Larson is known for reusing car parts, but the source is well disguised in the final produce. Slant is way more layered, welcoming and hands-on than the chilly fabricated boxes of Donald Judd. Larsen’s Slant is modest in scale. It’s world weary, with its recycled steel slats, it’s precarious tilt and its worn away paint. It’s been around the block a few times.

Tags

dan kornrumpf, ida weygandt, krista steinke, leila cartier, robert morgan, schmidt dean gallery, ted larsen, tracy stuckey

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