The groups of summer #2

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Foraging is how I would describe my efforts on these steamy days to find something to look at. Success hit me at Schmidt/Dean yesterday, where there’s a mix of artists new and old, work I was delighted to revisit (some more so than others) and work I was delighted to discover for the first time.

Among the pleasures were three photos by Ida Weygandt of the fox hunt milieu of Chester County, PA (top, “Virginia Brown,” Epson Archival Ink-Jet Print, 32″ x 41″). Even in the heat of the day, I caught a chill looking at that claustrophobic photo, which is dense with cultural and human information.

Turns out the work came to Chris Schmidt’s attention via photographer Larry Fink. She was a student of Fink’s, has just graduated, and what you’re looking at is her senior project. That alone makes this work notable–a gallery quality student project!

Also new and notable at the gallery were photos by Sam Worthington IV, a Virginia photographer with a strange landscape (left) that was created, in part, by peeling off a section of the emulsion and then replacing it, resulting in a weird, drapy what-is-it area in the midst of readable brush and weeds. Worthington, said Schmidt, won the Philadelphia Museum Prize at the Perkins Art Center recently.

Some new photos by Susan Fenton also hung on the walls–definitely worth a look-see.

So it’s a photo trifecta–my picks of new work at that gallery.

There was also plenty of familiar work that I was glad to see again. (I won’t mention people whose work I’ve seen quite recently.) I especially enjoyed the William Smith and the Kate Javens paintings yesterday.

Javens, who I have admire for her rich surfaces and for her bestiary paintings that are all about humans and their place in the universe, has a painting of a cicada, “Named for William Blake,” that reminded me of a butterfly pinned in a case.

I was also pleased to see William Smith’s panoramic landscape painted across a number of pages of an old astrology book. Smith has been painting over old texts for years using old-fashioned realist style and glazes, his trick being to leave some portion of the text revealed. Here he is particularly witty, having included a window to peek through to see the landscape, just like the landscape leaves windows to peek through to see the text (left, “Velocity of the Earth” detail).

And if you haven’t been to Schmidt/Dean lately, this show is a chance to play catch-up with what’s been showing there.

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