A trip west of City Avenue is, for some Philadelphians, a detour into warp space. Although they live only minutes away, many residents of Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff’s home turf have never heard of Haverford and Bryn Mawr. Denizens of the Main Line, it would appear, are likewise ignorant of inner city culture. Urban Pop at the Main Line Art Center (March 20-April 12, 2013) proposes to bridge that gap by exhibiting work by artists who, if not of the urban core, have at least absorbed its visual vocabulary. DISTORT is, as the all-caps moniker implies, a graffiti writer. ... More » »
The main hallway at the Crane Arts building is a hallway with a lot of presence–so much so that it’s often a place where good art goes to die. Not so Jay Walker’s Istoria installation, presented by InLiquid. The stalking figures–made mostly of tape and laser-cut vinyl applied directly to the wall–can be anything from Medieval knights to Middle Eastern potentates of the desert to the Virgin Mary. Whatever reference you bring to their towering menace and decorative emanations, they are up to the challenge of holding the space and delivering an emotional frisson and visual thrill. Walker also has ... More » »
Jay Walker’s sartorial-themed paintings, drawings and sculpture at James Oliver Gallery do not make for a cheery show although what’s on view is worth a visit. The life-sized depictions of clothing in stark relief against voids of space are brooding and iconic. In shades of black, white and grey, the hoodies, Matrix-like dusters, a hospital gown and a bride’s dress embody a sense of isolation and vulnerability. The hooded jackets in particular call to mind the shrouded Medieval tomb sculptures, The Mourners, shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last winter.
We’d been overdue a trip to Abington Art Center to see the solo series shows and check out what’s new in the woods. We picked a cool enough day before the heat wave and ventured out. Abington — like many small arts organizations — is suffering the effects of the recession. They had to let go staff including their curator, the great Sue Spaid. The solo shows — we don’t know who curated them — include works by Judy Engle, Alison Stigora, Atsuko Tajima and Jay Walker. With one exception, we know all the artists.
There’s a confluence of two shows of note now up in Wilmington. I regard that as an occasion to say, here’s a good time to get down there. One is the New! annual juried show at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (to July 25) and one is the Rules for Staying Young, a baseball themed show (to May 30) at the New Wilmington Art Association‘s current venue, 4 W. 5th St., Wilmington. I haven’t seen the latter, and Roberta juried the former, so there’s only so much I can say about the shows in all fairness. But surely ... More » »