It was an unusually fertile September First Friday with shows that interested me all over the place. Sadly, you can only do what you can do, and this is what I did and saw. All venues will be open on Saturday and some are open on Sundays. Check the websites for more info and get out there this weekend.
Sussman and Lee sometimes collaborate, and the husband and wife team had a number of collaborative videos they had made in Central Asia. One I loved in particular, which was not in Central Asia but shot in Europe, had a grid of windows in an apartment building into which you could peer, Rear Window-like, and snoop on people. Lee, himself, was in one of the windows.
Sussman said there were photographs by Lee coming to Locks soon, so it’s worth a trip back to see those, which weren’t up at the opening. Also, more catalogs are on their way to the gallery, in case you missed out and want one. Sussman has a show now at the Museum of Contemporary art in Montreal.
I met the artists out front of the gallery where Lee, a Brit, was taking a smoke break.
Sussman, whose voluptuous, surprising “89 seconds at Alcazar” made a world-class splash in 2004 at the Whitney Biennial, is New York based, and when I asked what her connection to Philly was, she said “The gallery (meaning Locks).” We didn’t get any farther than that.
I love the work’s Hitchcockian aspects. Not only the Rear Window but another work with a peephole behind which you see a video, and a piece shot on a train.
While at Locks, I ran into Sarah McEneaney, who will show her work at Locks in November. Sarah is pumped about the fundraiser for the Reading Viaduct. Climb on board everyone!
The gallery was packed when I dropped in on the early side. Tim McFarlane‘s works, most of them easel sized, look wonderful. He continues to find ways to freshen his signature motif of overlapping nets receding into infinite space with new colors and new movement pushing forward in addition to back. The wow of the show is the grisaille mural, “We Dance to Pray” he put on the gallery’s back wall, which has been used to great effect by every artist who’s shown here.
Tim’s mural is a quiet seducer. You want to go nose to nose with it, because of its delicacy and sense of mystery. And as a backdrop for people standing in front, it’s an amazing network statement. Bravo. Of course this will be a temporary installation and covered with white paint for whatever the next show coming up is.
Meanwhile in the vault, Stuart Netsky has several delicious rococo sculptures on a Marie Antoinette theme. Marilyn Holsing, she of “Young Marie” fame (installations on an imaginary Marie Antoinette and her exploits as a young girl) was joking about whether the town was big enough for two Marie Antoinette-obsessed artists. You betcha, I say!
North 11th St.
Tom Judd’s “Dive” looks pretty great on the billboard on North 11th opposite the Vox building.
And inside, the hubbub was at a slow steady boil, lots of people, lots of happiness while people elbowed their way in and out of the tiny spaces at Napoleon and Grizzly.
Napoleon’s show has a swell disco-meets-the-cosmos installation with a spinning birdcage in a glass vitrine (the cage within a cage) and a video projection of what looks like the Big Bang, with a central image exploding into an uncountable number of stars around it. I won’t give away what the video image really is but the process-intensive piece is a “gotcha” but infinitely lovely.
Practice, which shakes it hard every month and comes up with something completely new, this month delivers a program that is sweet and ridiculous but also earnest and sappy. “Best of Show,” is what it is, an open call show of dog images, with a blue ribbon winner (Nicole–sorry I didn’t slow down to get the last name) and a second place winner (Nick Lenker).
I’d give a ribbon to Annette Monnier for her dog headdress, positively ready for baying at a full moon. more pictures at their Instagram
Rubens Ghenov’s co-curated show (with Cooper Holoweski) at Tiger Strikes Asteroid is a very good abstraction show following Douglas Witmer’s also very good abstract show last month. Only half of this show is on display at TSA (the other half is at Fjord on Frankford Ave.). Ghenov is a curating juggernaut! First, the Annual Juried show at Woodmere, co-curated with Dona Nelson, and now this two-gallery show. I believe he told me he had an exhibit of his own work coming up as well. The energy is amazing. (Sorry no pictures)
If Napoleon has the cosmos on its mind this month, Grizzly Grizzly’s show has all things microcosmic on its. Colin Keefe’s gorgeous, hand-drawn imaginary city plans on the wall perfectly complement the mini, table-top collaborations of Fabio Fernandez and Tom Lauerman, which look on one hand like modernist and minimalist sculptures to adorn Barbie and Ken’s dream house, and on the other hand, like specimens from an art think tank in Lilliput, if that’s not kind of the same thing. The exquisiteness of the little works reminded me of Bill Walton’s breath-held poetic works. Very excellent.
Rob Swainston’s chock-full-of-woodcut show at Marginal Utility has some of the Tim McFarlane mural charms. The big woodcuts populate the walls with so much confidence and calmness I wanted to just hang around them. A video projection placed on a slanted board, which I caught on a double take while leaving the gallery, will draw me back for a closer look. I love the idea of the slanted support and want to know more about the content (there was nature in it). The write-up on the gallery website says the work is political and has mapping content. Sorry I didn’t take any picture. You can see some of Swainton’s installation works on his website. I have a couple more photos at Flickr.