Hot stuff this month at Sweatshop, Templeton, Grizzly and elsewhere

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It’s a blizzard out there — with shows dropping like snowflakes on the Philly art scene.  Here’s some pictures and a few comments from our travels around town this past month.  All these venues have serious monthly (or bi-monthly) programs and with First Friday around the corner it’s time to get out and see some more.

Things We’ve Made Since September at Sweatshop

josephhu
Joseph Hu, Briefly Noted, 2009. acrylic on wood. At Sweatshop in Things We've Made Since September. Joseph has magazines in his show at Pentimenti until Feb. 27

It’s a simple idea for a show–ask a bunch of people in your network to make something new or show something they’ve made very recently.  Voila–a 17-person show with lots of new work, much of it understated with a couple of gems in the mix.

Sweatshop is a new space at the Amber Street Studios in Frankford, run by six artists whose studios adjoin a small common area they’ve dedicated as a gallery.   Gabrielle Lavin, the Galleries at Moore gallery manager, curated this inaugural show.  Notable are Joseph Hu’s two faux New Yorker magazine mock-ups–made of paint on wood.  Hu has a show right now at Pentimenti where you can see more faux real objects — Hu’s got a special touch with the world of false.

Preston Link, Pedestal, 2009.  acrylic on wood.  Looks like money -- funny money.
Preston Link, Pedestal, 2009. acrylic on wood. Looks like money -- funny money.

Preston Link’s chunky “Pedestal” also made of painted wood, looks like money as envisioned by a child–bigger than life, kind of pretty, and somewhat useless all in all.

Joshua Rickards, Brother and sister, 2009, Flashe on magazine page
Joshua Rickards, Brother and sister, 2009, Flashe on magazine page

Josh Rickards has a wonderful collage painting that seems a new direction…

Linda Yun, After RM, detail from row of 13 polaroids
Linda Yun, After RM, detail from row of 13 polaroids

and Linda Yun’s row of manipulated Polaroid film are tiny Mark Rothko lookalikes — which perfectly complements her recent James Turrell look-alike at Vox Populi.

Sweatshop shows will last for two months.  This one’s gone, ended Jan. 31.  The gallery, 3237 Amber St. 4th floor south, is open Saturdays 1 – 4 pm and by appointment  email afalsefront@gmail.com for more information.  Roberta’s flickr set.  Libby’s flickr set.

Isaac Lin: A Place Near Here and Don Colley: Cascade at Fleisher-Ollman

Isaac Lin collaboration piece.  Lin did the drawn embellishment on someone else's photo of what looks like big Sur.
Isaac Lin collaboration piece. Lin did the drawn embellishment on someone else's photo of what looks like big Sur.

Isaac Lin installed a huge black-painted hut that’s glued together with oogy gray putty that takes over the main space at F-O.  Inside the hut Lin’s colorful cartoon and calligraphy images sprawl on the walls.  Outside the hut a series of large cartoon cutouts ring the room.  We asked John Ollman whether he had sold the black hut and he smiled saying he is trying to tell people it would look great in their living rooms but….Elsewhere in the gallery, Lin is showing more commercially-viable works — photo/drawings. Photo/drawings are works that involve photos by people who agreed to collaborate with the artist and drawings by Lin on the photos.

Isaac Lin's calligraphy is a swarm of gnats!
Isaac Lin's calligraphy is a swarm of gnats!

Lin draws swarms of his signature short calligraphic strokes in many bright colors onto the photos.  It’s like anointing the works with a kind of voodoo magic that’s close to grafitti only more playful.  Some of the photo/drawings are pretty funny –like when Lin’s rain of calligraphy bears down on a figure lying on a field of grass and what’s suggested is the weight of the world about to sit on the man’s chest.  Or when the storm of calligraphy comes barreling in on the Big Sur coast looking like something crazier than a Nino or Nina storm about to hit.  Meanwhile, Don Colley’s print of a scary clown adorns the gallery’s main window overlooking Walnut St.  And on a wall opposite sit a small group of Colley’s ceramic tiles picturing evil clowns.  The tiles were painted at a paint your own pottery joint and all we can say is we wish we had been there when Colley’s evil clowns emerged from the firing alongside the birdies, flowers and hearts on everybody else’s tiles.   Roberta’s flickr for F-O.  Libby’s flickr for F-O.

Dan Colley, ceramic tile painted at a paint-your-own pottery place
Don Colley, ceramic tile painted at a paint-your-own pottery place

Sean Stoops: Interstellar Medium at Rebekah Templeton

Sean Stoops, installation at Rebekah Templeton
Sean Stoops, installation at Rebekah Templeton

We hadn’t remembered seeing art by curator Sean Stoops before but maybe that’s just our overloaded and aging memories.  Stoops made a wizardly installation with a projected interstellar video on a beachball.  It is a fabulous high tech/low tech mashup.

Sean Stoops, Interstellar Medium j2010 digital vidio installation, 4:56 mins, with, behind, the aureola around the shadow cast by the hanging globe
Sean Stoops, Interstellar Medium j2010 digital vidio installation, 4:56 mins, with, behind, the aureola around the eclipse.

The projection even creates an elipse-like stream of light on the wall behind it–all of which is very much fun to watch.  It’s a kind of lava lamp experience to see this work and we were longing for a bench to sit on — or mattresses or pillows on the floor.  The piece was generated using some algorithms and all we can say is awesome–get on up there.  The show is up til Feb. 20.  Roberta’s flickr. Libby’s flickr.

At Grizzly Grizzly

Brother and sister artists Joshua Abelow and Tisch Abelow were showing a bunch of remarkably similar, geometric abstractions when we stopped by.  Joshua, whose retro abstractions capture ’50s kitsch-en colors Harvest Gold and Avocado, also did a number of cartoony drawings. Here’s one by brother that broke the sister-brother mold:

Joshua Abelow, Untitled (Self-Portrait with di Chirico), 2007, oil on canvas
Joshua Abelow, Untitled (Self-Portrait with di Chirico), 2007, oil on canvas

We met two of the Grizzly-ites who were opening up the gallery when we got there–Dennis Matthews, who’s a blogger, and Michael Ellyson. Here they are amid next to a large abstraction on the left, by sister Tisch. The gallery guys told us Tisch got the large, thick sheet of paper from Richard Serra, who, on decideding he wasn’t going to use the paper, sold it off cheap.

grizzlygrizzlyguys
Dennis Matthews and Michael Ellyson, two of the Grizzly Grizzly team. Also Bruce Wilhelm is part of this endeavor.

Upcoming First Friday at Grizzly Grizzly, which is in the Vox building, 319 N. 11th, 2nd floor, is work by Yevgeniya S. Baras and Robert Scobey.

Ted Larsen at Schmidt Dean

Ted Larsen at Schmidt Dean
Ted Larsen at Schmidt Dean
Ted Larsen, this piece had fake wood trim from a car and some encaustic blobs.  The piece was interactive--you could spin it round with your finger.
Ted Larsen, this piece had fake wood trim from a car and some encaustic blobs. The piece was interactive--you could spin it round with your finger.

Ted Larsen’s sculptural paintings are made from junkyard car body pieces.  The colors you see represent the Mustangs, Chevies, Pontiacs and Cadillacs found on the scrap heaps out west in Santa Fe where Larsen lives.  John Chamberlain took car bodies and mashed them up like crumpled paper — art accidents — in the galleries they inhabited.  Larsen is more of a car parts zen master–part Mark Grotjean and part Mark Rothko.     Roberta’s flickr for Ted Larsen. This show ended Jan. 24, alas.

Drexel’s Leonard Pearlstein Gallery shows IPCNY show!

Bitch Delux by Any Malfunction, Buttonwood&Holmes, Inthang; silkscreen on cotton in supermarket meat tray, unique
Bitch Delux by Any Malfunction, Buttonwood&Holmes, Inthang; silkscreen on cotton in supermarket meat tray, unique

There were a number of standouts at the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery’s current exhibit, New Prints 2009/Autumn, a show of small prints juried by the International Print Center New York.

The highlight is a one-off print, Bitch Delux by Any Malfunction, Buttonwood&Holmes, Inthang. If it’s unique it’s the very opposite of mass production! You can make purchases online for $37, packed in its own styrofoam meat tray (if you can get the website to work).

Mark Blumthal, Mass, 2009, serigraph on inkjet print, ed. 10, 21 x 27 inches, printed and published by the artist
Marc Blumthal, Mass, 2009, serigraph on inkjet print, ed. 10, 21 x 27 inches, printed and published by the artist

Two Philadelphia artists–Marc Blumthal are included in the exhibit of 60 works. Blumthal’s Mass obliterates a war photograph with a big blob–surreal and funny; Talia Green is showing her retro prints of people with masses of insects for hair. This exhibit is one of the many independent shows affiliated with Philagrafika. Thumbnails and checklist of the work in the show are here.

Amid the upcropping of new galleries like Grizzly Grizzly and The Sweatshop, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. AHN/VHS and its subsidiary gallery, The Cabinet, has closed. It was a good one, so Libby and Roberta have the blues.

Tags

dennis matthews, don colley, fleisher-ollman gallery, grizzly grizzly, inthang, isaac lin, joseph hu, josh rickards, joshua abelow, leonard pearlstein gallery, linda yun, mark blumthal, michael ellyson, philagrafika 2010, preston link, rebekah templeton, schmidt dean gallery, sean stoops, ted larsen, the sweatshop, tisch abelow

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