A few more favorite things

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She’s not well known here although she’s got a following in her home state of Texas. Trudy Kraft, whose works are on view now at Show of Hands Gallery, makes lovely, intricate works on paper with layers and layers of ink and paint — and masking fluid that she puts on and takes off and puts on again to create veils and interwoven layers of pattern.

Influenced by all things non-western — Persian rugs, Ashanti weavings, Maori altars — the works are dot-crazy, wiggly-line-ful and sumptuous. The exhibition space in the rear of the crafts boutique is a nice quiet alcove for small, 2-D work. The show will be up to Feb. 22. (image above is detail from “Flora and Fauna 2”)

Show of Hands Director Paul Harris, an Episcopal priest (non-parochial), started the gallery 10 years ago as a venue for one-of-a-kind crafts. Nowadays, Harris says, with the high art/craft art distinction melting away, galleries like his are exhibiting 2-D works along with their other fare. Next up, Harris will showcase potter, Sebastian Hussbeck, who calls himself a potter but whose work is sculptural.

What I saw looked like a tiny, fossilized boat. It was Lilliputian but abject. Harris told me the artist fires his pieces ten times in order to get the clay to look like rock.

Speaking of alternative venues, the group show “Repetition and Transformation” in Philadelphia Cathedral is worth a look-see. In fact, the Cathedral itself is worth the trip. Art in a church seems a natural for a certain type of contemplative, intimate art. Art of a more extroverted nature need not apply.

I remember seeing a Bill Viola piece at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, and while you might think video is too extroverted for a church, that piece, which was pieta-like and elegaic, was perfect. (I think it was a silent piece, which is probably a requirement, come to think of it.)

Anyway, back at Philadelphia Cathedral, Mel Fisher’s sculptural relief “Kaibob Dawn” is a beauty. Made of jig-sawed wood cut into zig-zag shapes then fitted back together (not a piece was left over according to the curator), the work glows like the sun. Artblog’s own Douglas Witmer’s “Refrain, ” echoes the church’s pipe organ and stately columns with a rhythmic, up-down array of skinny, black rectangles in procession. (image above right is Fisher’s “Kaibob Dawn;” image above left is Witmer’s “Refrain”)

Speaking of the curator, Elizabeth Doering’s permanent installation over the baptismal font, dedicated to the lives lost in Pennsylvania on 911 and to the babies born in Philadelphia on that same day, is a piece made by performing a ritual (dropping molten pewter into water). The congealed peter pieces — 110 of them — hang over another ritual basin of water. It’s lovely and evocative. And the ambient sound of trickling water circulating in the basin is nicely soothing. (image is Doering’s piece)

 

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