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Paper circles and body curls

moranspiralWhirly-gigs and circles, all on paper, make the theme at Gallery Joe‘s three-day exhibit this month. I ran in to see the short show last weekend and while there’s but one more day to see it, Jan. 22, I recommend a stroll among these circles, which, unlike crop circles, you can do indoors and without the mysical hocus pocus. The reason the show’s up so short a time is that the gallery is travelling west to San Francisco for the international art fair, something they’ve done for six years.

When Libby and I were talking about the rationale for a 3-day exhibit, (all that work! for three days?) I was reminded of conversations I’ve had in the past with Gallery Joe’s owner/director, Becky Kerlin. Kerlin told me she is never happier than when she’s unwrapping and installing art in her space. It’s the process of thinking about the work, looking at this in juxtaposition to that, basically curating a show, that stokes her fires. So, if you love it that much a 3-day exhibit makes as much sense as a 30-day exhibit.

Anyway, run in to see the Kate Moran photographs, like the great spiral (shown) and the forest of twigs looking like ribbon candy. Moran makes lovely, small objects, sometimes photographing them and showing the photographs. (Sometimes she shows the objects themselves.) She likes to photograph the things when they’re moving, which results in a disturbing kind of Victorian ghostliness–the underworld of fairy tales and childhood’s darker moments.

And while we’re in a PAFA stream of consciousness, Moran, by the way,is a PAFA grad and PAFA faculty member. The Academy should be lauding her as an example of an artist trained in the tradition but unafraid of breaking out.


Other artists in the show, all of whose work evidences circular logic, are Astrid Bowlby (artblog fave and, by the way, PAFA grad (MFA, 1995)), Wes Mills, Bruce Conner, Mark Lombardi, Winifred Lutz, Lynne Woods Turner, Emily Brown and Linn Meyers.

Mills‘s piece, (shown) looks like a lowest of low tech kid’s toy. It’s a splayed envelope with some paper engineering in the form of paper strips glued on and a paper circle dangling from a string. There are also a few smudges and dots of ink. I don’t know what its title is or exactly what it’s getting at but in its (most likely not intended) James Castle forlorn isolationism, it evokes childhood’s lonely moments when even the slightest objects, stared at long enough, can take you away to somewhere, anywhere, other than where you are.

Meanwhile in Brooklyn


Not circles but bodies, curled, buffed, and a little bit odd, are on the menu this month at Jack the Pelican Presents which features, among others, Philadelphia-area artist Norm Paris.

The Hedonistic Imperative,” which opens Jan. 15, looks, from the images I got, to be a feisty round-up of can there be life after Currin and Yuskavage art. Bodies, bodies, bodies and a few landscapes and other things that are false or cartoony. Paris, one of three artists (the other two are Daniel Heyman, and Lindsay Feuer) in the upcoming Fleisher Challenge 4 exhibit opening April 22, was in last year’s Arcadia Works on Paper exhibit. He showed a drawing that compared his arm with that of Arnold Schwartzenegger’s. Paris’s work in Pelican’s show (shown) is in a similar vein, no pun intended, comparing the Governator’s torso with that of two other men.

Others in the show include James Adams, Matt Borruso, Carl D’Alvia, Michael Joaquin Grey, Paul Jacobsen, Jerry Kearns, Kim Keever, Ted Mineo, Michael Rees, Robert Yarber and Suzanne Walters.

Now there was a James Adams who graduated from PAFA and whose work I’ve seen at Vox Populi (in 2001). I don’t know if that’s him but Adams’s image for the Pelican show was a beyond-Currin figure similar to what I remember from Vox so I’m guessing it might be.

And I’ve seen Kim Keever’s invented photographs — they look like Hudson-River sublime landscapes but are totally invented in terrariums — and was struck by their beauty and oddness. They’re part of the West Collection at SEI.

Should be a good show.