Woodmere’s 72nd Annual Juried exhibition samples from the new Philadelphia art pie, the one that’s crunchy and conceptual with sweetness and bite. Jurors Dona Nelson and Rubens Ghenov picked a couple of noisy, extroverted pieces and many quiet contemplative works that make an excellent Ode to Joy for the current hot Philadelphia art scene. Frank Bramblett’s deadpan wallpapering of his daily task lists from the last 13 years, “Accomplishments,” is not only a the most unexpected work in the show, it’s a great conceptual project; a dynamite work on paper; and the best collision of the literal and the imaginative since Damien Hirst put a dead shark in a tank and gave it a title. Elsewhere, works echo and call to each other. William DiBello’s “Output,” in its attention to detail, repetition of lines and restricted palette reverberates nicely with Bramblett’s piece.
Both jurors are painters so there’s a lot of great painting in the show, like Coady Brown’s swirly, dreamy “Smoker;” Ryan Foley’s domestic cartoon “Happy Houlihan;” Sarah Roche’s “Thunderstorm, Seaside Park,” whose grey and brown atmosphere pushes toward you like a mini-Anselm Kiefer minus the straw (and guilt); and Anne Minich’s “Old Boat 75,” which includes a piece of driftwood and a stone. In digital photography, Jaime Alvarez’s “Rock Bench” and John Dowell’s “Millennium Park” are muscular and great to look at. For videos, you can’t beat Dani Fried Rossi’s “Eat,” which smartly updates Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe with a nude female posed beside two businessmen who are eating their sandwiches on a couch. There’s not much sculpture but Tim Belknap’s “Tin Box,” a motion-sensitive marionette who taps his foot at you when you approach, has the sly menace of a Paul McCarthy piece. Congratulations to everyone in the show and to the jurors. And kudos to Woodmere for continued bold strokes of contemporary art programming. Here’s to more!