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Rainy day colors

It rained here just about all day yesterday. And when I stopped by Gross McCleaf Gallery to see Celia Reisman‘s cheery, candy-colored house-scapes, I immediately warmed up in the face of all the brightness and promise of…if not happiness then at least lack of rain.

Reisman’s works, a few set in Ocean Park (presumably, the Ocean Park of California made famous by Richard Diebenkorn) but most set in Narberth and other suburban looking places,are mystery charmers whose pretty colors and lovely hulking nature belie the fact that there are people — somewhere — in these houses. Indeed there are and as I spent more time with the works I noticed that Reisman, who teaches at Swarthmore and has shown with the gallery for years, has placed images of people — single individuals and couples — here and there, almost invisible, in the shadows. Mostly, they’re inside, as you would expect in suburban scenes where, unlike in the city, people do their living indoors and there’s not a lot of neighborly outdoor interchange.

Once cued in to the presence of these everyday folks (described in the haziest way, most have no facial characteristics and are simply colored silhouettes), the hunt is on and you find them, one after another, in the works. The thrill is not unlike that of finding Waldo in the “Where’s Waldo” books.

That’s all I’ll say, except that the paintings are are saved from mere description of space by the weird and pleasing ghost people who remind you there are secrets in the houses here — and sadness and every other possible human emotion. The works have some great paint passages and their lovely colors reminded me of my other favorite painter of the suburbs, the young Roland Becerra whose house-scapes and suburbs are scary places full of monsters. Here’s more Becerra and more Becerra from artblog’s archives. Reisman’s show is up to Dec. 30.


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