Posts By ben meyer

Front room.

The Mechanical Nest of an Unknown Creature – Douglas Irving Repetto’s Forever Wild (Nest Machine) at Marginal Utility

Marginal Utility gallery has been taken over by a strange machine. Forever Wild (Nest Machine), by Douglas Irving Repetto, is a slow-moving contraption of conveyor belts which could resemble a Rube Goldberg Machine, a catch-all name for any device that elaborately performs a simple action. Forever Wild’s purpose is to create art, in a naturalistic and random fashion, where the process is as much a part of the piece’s meaning as its final product. “Forever Wild (Nest Machine) is the first in a series of speculative machines that generate artifacts no longer produced by natural processes,” Repetto writes in his statement ... More » »

Detail view of Phobos, left, and Epiphany: Father Time, right

Sacred geometry and travels through time and space with Dechemia at Rebekah Templeton

The experience of art in a gallery requires spending sufficient time to allow the senses to be lifted into the world of the work on the walls surrounding you. Artists Isobel Sollenberg and John Gibbons (collectively known as Dechemia) have embraced this understanding of art viewing, designing their pieces like parts of an environment that welcome and threaten to swallow you whole as they beckon towards infinity, as though one were looking into an enchanted well. Dechemia, which in Latin translates to “of chemistry,” are currently presenting new works in the show “Outside of Time,” up at Rebekah Templeton Contemporary ... More » »

Ted Carey, Double Backdoor Chipped, digital photo on wood, 8.5 x 11 x 1. Inches

Faded meanings – Dematerialization at Pterodactyl Gallery

The essay accompanying Dematerialization, up now at Pterodactyl Gallery in Kensington, includes the observation that “many contemporary artists and art productions have aligned with minimalist Donald Judd’s 1965 declaration of  ‘disinterest in doing [painting and sculpture] again.’” In the work on display in Dematerialization, curated by Jamie Png, this “disinterest” has extended to a negation of artistic intent, narrative, and in some cases even aesthetic appeal. Many pieces conceptually show art as providing an open-ended experience, rather than an intentional creation, while others question the essential presuppositions of the art world. This type of experimentation is a delicate tight-rope for artists ... More » »


Overloaded with hyper-digital art – >Get >Put at Little Berlin

Artists have been redubbed as uploaders and downloaders in >Get >Put, a new show at Little Berlin gallery that was partly kindled by The Sound of Downloading Makes Me Want to Upload, a book by The Institute of Social Hypocrisy. Curator Kelani Nichole circulated copies of that book to artists in this show. Including essays and creative works pieces by Paris-based Victor Boullet and several other artists, the book celebrates the inevitable distortion of information transmitted in the digital process, shown clearly in Boullet’s own contribution to the book, an abstract, jumbled-letters version of “Krapp’s Last Tape” by Samuel Beckett. ... More » »

Prelude and Fugue (Cutouts), gouache, marker, colored pencil, paper, 11 ½ x 11 x 1 ½ in., 2012

Handmade, meticulous abstractions playing with color at Gallery Joe

The works of Nicole Phungrasamee Fein in where and Alex Paik in Recapitulation Bop, both on display at Gallery Joe, are small and precise experiments with color. Paik’s show, Recapitulation Bop, captures light and color in the process of transmission. The multi-colored paper works are like a physical representation of intangible colors that are not physically real. A classically trained violinist, Paik’s works approximate the course of musical preludes and fugues in a physical object. Paik says in his statement that his works are “humble” and seek an intimate dialogue with the viewer. Physically small, three-dimensional, and partly projecting from the ... More » »

Lauren Marsolier, Playground 3, inkjet print

Diverse medley of styles shines at Fjord Gallery’s “Bleach Blue”

The latest show at FJORD Gallery, Bleach Blue, seems to be in pursuit of an aesthetic all its own. Curator Sean Gerstley wanted to have a show including works in several media that was rigorous and linked by the notion of “bleach blue,” both as a color and just in the sound of the words, signifying an idea, a genre, and almost its own style of art. Whatever is meant by “bleach blue” is likely different to each viewer, represented by whatever linkage they can find between the diverse, almost schizophrenic medley of nine pieces in this show. Katie Bell’s ... More » »

Open Bedroom, one corner.

The eclectic, open-ended world of Jeremy Deller at the Penn ICA

Jeremy Deller’s Joy in People, an interactive exhibition including film, music, photography, installation, and lots and lots of banners, is a fantastic example of self-contained environment as art experience. Mounted by the Institute of Contemporary Art, this show could easily and enjoyably occupy several hours with the wide range of material presented. In the largest room, there’s a recreation of a Manchester tea shop giving away free cups of tea, with museum staff serving patrons, while telling them that this tea shop was actually a float in a Manchester parade Deller organized. Elsewhere, a reading table sits with vintage copies of NME containing articles ... More » »

The recent production of La Bohème by the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Courtesy of Opera Company of Philadelphia

Fine arts gimmick lowers La Boheme at the Opera Company of Philadelphia

For audiences raised on computer animation and movies, going to the theater is a refreshingly real dramatic experience. After all, audiences pack Shakespeare in the Park performances so that they can see living actors perform. Unadorned theater is part of our cultural life. Maybe that’s why the use of an animated, twisting version of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” digitally projected over nine screens, fell so flat for me as part of the set design for the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s production of La Bohème, which closed Sunday after five performances. This production of Giacomo Puccini’s classic opera was widely touted ... More » »

Ryan Wilson Kelly performs the role of “Mazeppa” in his exhibition at the Fleisher gallery. Photo courtesy of Ryan Wilson Kelly.

Fleisher Wind Challenge will blow you away – with Erin Murray, Bohyun Yoon and Ryan Wilson Kelly

Fleisher’s Wind Challenge 1 packs a wallop, as it’s not too often that such heavyweights are gathered together in South Philly. The works of Bohyun Yoon, Ryan Wilson Kelly, and Erin Murray, up through October 20, each bring an entirely unique artistic style to the gallery. (Also, readers: Kelly’s performance piece Mazeppa needs to be seen live to be fully experienced. It was performed at the opening, and will performed again, with an introduction by the artist, on Saturday, October 6, at 4 p.m.) Erin Murray’s graphite drawings of boring Philly buildings are exceptional exercises in intense observation. Her drawings ... More » »


A roomful of Mothers News at Space 1026

If you walk into Space 1026’s latest outing expecting a coherent art show, you’re bound to be disappointed.  Mothers News is a trippy, chaotic take on self-expression, focusing on a Providence newspaper of the same name, which walks a fine line between punk aesthetic and sheer random humor. Mothers News is a free newspaper that is published monthly and distributed in Providence — where it reportedly has a cult following — as well as several other cities. Space 1026 in Chinatown, in their inimitable style of lo-fi exhibitions, has made an art show out of the newspaper, with newsprint broadsheets from ... More » »

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