Youth, death and installation

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Here’s where I went First Friday–The Optimistic with Roberta, then Union 237, Siano, Carbon 14, and Silicon (this last one with Roberta too).

The Opitmistic was a small group show with 16 pieces from young artists with Tyler connections–the result of gallerist Jeff McMahon having taught there.

The show included work from Matthew Sepielli and Samuel Yun, who run The Vacuum, an online gallery. Yun’s “Mustang,” with its car logo and shifting, irridescent finish shifted from signage to idealization of an auto with an aura and back again (top image).

I liked how Michael Perrone‘s “The White Room” (left), with its rec room ping pong table bathed in circles of light, was not white at all but Philip Guston pink, its scraped surface reminding me of skin.

There’s a graphic and sad cartoon quality to Perrone’s piece. I also liked the anti-perspective of the piece and the unruly squiggle of paint from the tube (or at least that’s what it looked like), asserting the paint over the image.

Lauren Rinaldi’s canvas, which looked like it was covered in melted chocolate chips, sat in the midst of bowls of chocolates on a dining table (right, below).

I was intrigued by how Michael Sullivan’s “Ice” painting of a gelid river looked almost photographic, a sort of struggle between Neil Welliver and the computer.

Overall, the show was a mix, but I always find it energizing to see what younger artists are doing. Theresa Marchetta is making objects–in this case flowers–from sheets of dried and peeled paint. Nicole Andreoni’s little praying boys verged on the creepy but I wasn’t clear about their intent, and Robert Lewis‘ “Graphsoma Italcium” really was creepy–a small insect, made 3-D with lots of paint, on a relatively large canvas.

Others in the show included Corrie Tice, Jason McHugh, Nicole Hellerman, Peter Smith, Andy Koslowski, Joseph Antonelli, Eric Swartz and Jessica Van Steenburgh.

I stopped to see what grafitti artist Pose II had up at Union 237 gallery. I was there along with a crowd of young folks checking the work out, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around the stereotyped beauties that seemed like African versions of Vargas-cartoon girls in Playboy Magazine.

On the other hand, I thought his paint-handling was terrific, and his use of extreme verticality took the works out of the Western painting tradition–even though one of the pieces was a triptych (right, “Plasma 1, 2 and 3”). I’m hooked enough to want to see where he goes next with his painting, but this show wasn’t quite what I had hoped it would be.

I also stopped at Siano, which held over the George H. Richmond retrospective another month. Richmond, who died earlier this year, made paintings of imagined life forms and landscapes as well as, more recently of people, some of these with a George Grosz German Expressionist darkness. Although I didn’t love everything equally, I thought the body of work was definitely worth a look (left, “Smoke”).

Then, on my way to meet Roberta at Silicon Gallery for the show of the Philadelphia Print Collaborative’s newest portfolio, I passed by Carbon 14 Gallery, on 3rd Street, and miracle of miracles, it was open, with an installation of nylon line by Louise Barteau Chodoff (installation right). People were weaving in and out of the hanging thingamajigs and the spider-webby maze having a good old time. This gallery, which has been closed for a good 10 years, was up and running and taking risks again.

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