Young eyes

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Sometimes the shows I want to see fly in and out before I can get there, and I find myself wondering why I saw what I saw and didn’t see what I was curious about.

For a change, however, the force was with me. The show Young Art Alliance at the Philadelphia Art Alliance got a reprieve and was extended a week, to May 22. So I ran over yesterday and was rewarded with something worth looking at, thanks to curator Brian Wallace, who is director of exhibitions at the Galleries at Moore College of Art and Design. The 19 artists in the show were drawn from the Moore College artists registry.

First of all, I was surprised and pleased to see recent college grad Robert Minervini in the show. I had just posted on him (here) at Art Forms Gallery, and then I saw more of his work at Qbix, which is currently hosting an Art Forms Gallery that has some work worth a visit, and here he is again.

Minervini is showing an image of a body wrapped in plastic wrap, and there’s work at Qbix that’s similar. Back at Art Forms, besides the Saran Wrap, there were also dressed bodies that caught my attention and seemed to be wrapped tight in other ways (left top, “Plastic Wrap,” 72 x 36 inches, oil and acrylic on canvas).

I love when someone crosses my radar screen, provokes my interest and suddenly becomes part of my world.

Two other artists in the show also fit that category–Matt Bollinger and Jason Urban.

Bollinger, who I first saw on the walls of my neighborhood cafe, had a show at Rodger LaPelle that practically flew off the walls into the hands of collectors. The piece in Young… is sooo sexy, even the quilt is a sexy nude. The menage a trois depicted in “The Two Men Look the Same” brings nudes away from classroom studies and pumps real life and even humor into the dusty genre. I can talk about the composition and the colors and the paint quality, etc., but it’s all good. I can also talk about all the stories I can read into this one, but then, so can you (right, “The Two Men Look the Same,” oil on canvas, 73.5 x 37.5 inches).
Urban, who recently wrote to us that he was leaving town (see post), is a loss to the range of artmaking in Philadelphia. In this show, he takes his Benday dots and pop culture sensibility to the dark side, offering a portrait of a handgun that becomes an ominous black shadow in front of an abstracted, glamorous, moire-pattern drape in the spotlight. It’s beautifully done and a smart critique of the society’s values (left, “Big Guy,” oil on panel, 32 x 48 inches).
My fave sculpture in the show was Jay Hardman’s ramshackle stretch sky blue pickup, “El Camino,” with a ramshackle, stretch-house on the pickup bed. It looked to me like the rear red lights were lit. The front was in such bad repair, a bumper fallen, that the lights looked almost opaque. The mystique of this retro vehicle lives on–and takes an affectionate shellacking here (“El Camino, mixed media, 5 x 6 x 65 inches).

Here are images of other work I particularly liked:

Heather Deyling‘s atmospheric, gothic”Night Swimming,” great to look at and full of storybook creepiness as well as romantic beauty (acrylic on canvas, 48 x 65 inches).
Rene Smith’s ultra-smooth-surfaced portraits of youth in stylish settings. Here’s an indolent guy getting the sexy treatment usually reserved for women, his flesh begging for a touch. The circles on top of everything suggested the delight and romantic fantasy of blown bubbles (“Greenpoint, Brooklyn,” oil on linen, 38 x 42 inches).
On the other end of portraiture, Peter Haarz’s “Small Tondo No. One,” a 4.5-inch almost miniature that seems fresh, the worried face crammed onto a round panel–utterly traditional and totally contemporary all at once, with the sky and land making the head almost float (oil on wood).
Belinda Haikes’ “Caribou,” which blends the cartoon with a pared down restraint, a suggestion of human identity and vulnerability (gouache on paper, 22 x 30 inches–and, no, the reflection is on the glass, not in the image; sorree).

 

Jessica Demcsak’s “Epidemic,” architectural blocks, pristine city scape in silhouette beneath a troubled sky (oil and acrylic on wood, 6 x 20 x 4.5 inches).
Jessica Doyle’s “Reception,” with sliding eyes and questionable relationships at a formal social event (see Roberta’s post about Doyle’s Project Room show) squeezes a lot of action and information in a limited space with small touches of color. This seems like a recording of a specific event scratched into the memory, the romantic setting and clothes contrasting the action (graphite, ink, watercolor on paper, 22 x 30).

Others in the show were Olivia Antsis; Peter Curry; Emily diGiovanni; Elise Kagan ; Amy Lincoln; Graham MacBeth; Christine Mantoruk; Margaux McAllister (layered gestures of graphite and ink on mylar); and Will Steacy (c-print of neighborhood life).

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