Diane Edison’s two arresting pastel self portraits, in the exhibition “The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World,” sample from the artist’s impressively detailed and stirring portraiture. Edison, a professor of art at University of Georgia, is also an incredibly charismatic individual, as I learned from her artist’s talk February 2 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In the introduction to her talk, Edison‘s works were called “two of the most talked about portraits in the exhibition.” The artist’s talk was a light-hearted journey through the history and progression of her work, starting with her early painting and rich colorful ... More » »
When portrait photographers are storytellers, their images are often best seen in series such as an exhibition or book where the cumulative effect of the work builds a loose narrative. Andrea Modica’s “Best Friends” and Kelli Connell’s “Double Life” at Gallery 339 (21st Street near Pine) are cases in point. These beautiful and compelling photographs create narratives about relationships and the nature of portrayals. The show is an inspired pairing. Modica, an associate professor in the photography program at Drexel University, bought her first camera in high school with money she’d earned frying chicken at a fast-food restaurant. Today, the ... More » »
Nick Cassway’s show of portraits of friends at JOG gallery has the immediacy of the snapshots that people post on the internet–unselfconscious, overindulgent, light-hearted and intimate. These are images that our ancestors eschewed–not that they didn’t do these things, but they didn’t parade their behavior in public or preserve the carefree moments for posterity.
If you’re not already familiar with the form, Pastel Portraits: Images of 18th-Century Europe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA, or The Met, through Aug. 14, 2011) will introduce an under-appreciated medium at its height; and high it was. Popes and royalty chose pastels rather than painted portraits on occasion, as anyone will know who saw the wonderful exhibition of Jean-Étienne Liotard at the Frick Collection in 2006. It included the marvelous pastel portraits that Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria, commissioned of her children, including the 7 year old Marie Antoinette (see below), who would marry Louis XV of ... More » »
The pairing of photographic works by Toshio Shibata and Andrea Modica at Gallery 339 is inspired. From the sublime breadth of Shibata’s unpeopled highway landscapes to Modica’s specific, humanistic portraits of farm-league baseball players, the two excellent stand-alone exhibits reach across the gallery spaces in conversation with each other.
Maybe because Murray’s mother died a month ago (see his Op Ed in today’s Inquirer), two works in the big Philagrafika 2010 exhibit have been gnawing about me. Pepon Osorio at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has printed a blow-up of an X-ray image of his mother’s skull atop a thick, black bed of confetti, laid on the floor like a fresh grave. The installation is to honor the memory of his mother, who died recently. And the memorial suggests all the medical interventions that fail and the way an individual, irreplaceable and unique and loved, is quantified in ... More » »