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Two good ones for tonight


Jackie Tileston
But We’re Already Here, by Jackie Tileston, 60 x 72 inches, oil, mixed on linen, 2006

Two good stops for tonight artists are two one-person shows at Pentimenti and a group show, Showroom, at the Crane Arts Building.

Artist Jackie Tileston is coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally since she’s really great) in both of them. So I’ll just rave a little about her rather large paintings and her gouaches at Pentimenti, imaginary landscapes which evoke travel and Asia and weather. Tileston’s paint is as important as her imagery, sensual, at times encrusted and baroque, at times barely kissing the surface of the linen on which she paints. Atmospherics, drips and borrowed imagery are all part of Tileston’s painting voodoo. She also makes seductive gouaches with similar subject matter of imagined nature in ecstatic spaces.

Jackie Tileston
detail of Analogy of Transit, 60 x 72 inches, oil, mixed media on linen, 2006

Tileston’s work calls up Frederick Church and the whole Transcendental crowd, with the glories of America translated to the glories of the globe as imagined by Tileston. It also reminds me of innumerable traditional Japanese images of Mt. Fuji floating in clouds. But there are Pop touches, too. She’s also got photographic passages as well as pure abstraction all tied into one coherent image. Her exhibit Everything in Your Favor, includes four oils and four gouaches.

Tileston lives and works in Philadelphia, but she shows widely in Texas and has also shown in New York Delaware and Chicago.

Kay Hwang
Schematics No. 6601 REP.BK, by Kay Hwang

Completely opposite are Kay Hwang’s 13 oil pencil on vellum drawings, as controlled and cool as Tileston’s pieces are hot and free. Hwang uses mechanical imagery and repetition that is pure Minimalism, but they take off when they suggest something human or unmechanical. Her Schematics No. 6601 REP.BK switches from machine parts on an assembly line to elephants to gas masks. Schematics No. 704 CTP/BY, a what-is-it with handles and a spine evokes ribs and torsos for all its rigidity.

Kay Hwang
Toys: No Problem With Fine Motor Skills #13

The humor behind Hwang’s work is clearest in the toys series–The Toys: No Problem with Fine Motor Skills. They are images of what-is-its that suggest dunce caps and toys that can’t work. The translucent vellum support suggest an otherworldliness that transforms the mechanical to the ether–and to a surprising vulnerability.

While I was out and about yesterday, I also enjoyed Showroom, part of Design Philadelphia 2007), curated by InLiquid’s John Murphy. The exhibit, which walks the line between art and design, for the most part lands in the art category, with some “furniture” to give it a design aura.

Alyse Bernstein, Unlucky Rabbit, 14 x 14 inches, hand-embroidered
Alyse Bernstein, Unlucky Rabbit, 14 x 14 inches, hand-embroidered

Besides a couple of pieces by Tileston (this will convince you her work would look great in your living room as well as on the art gallery walls, and that’s a good thing in my opinion), there are some terrific hand-embroidered pillows by Alyse Bernstein that I wanted to take home with me. They reminded me of the over-the-top aesthetics of Virgil Marti-Stuart Netsky pillow collaborations, but Bernstein takes her subject matter elsewhere. The fabrics she chose are sensual and her stitchery is extraordinary. Although her two rabbit pieces are quite serious, the bunnies looking flayed and meaty, her Message to the President velvet pillow with cotton embroidery has a funny encrypted F you message that you don’t have to put in hiding when your mom comes to visit. Also quite serious, her hand knotted Murder Rugs, with scenes from the Charles Manson murders, perfect for your living room–or not, perhaps.

Talia Greene
detail from sample 1 in Talia Greene’s Entropy Filligree wallpaper series

Jason Urban’s hand-altered prints of reptiles and of Star Wars figures are beauties, reminding me of fabric at the same time that the pattern is not a pattern at all, with no repeats. Talia Green also goes to nature–creepy nature–for her wallpaper samples, made of imagery from bugs, hair and twigs. The are complicated and suggestive (in every sense of the word, in some cases), somehow transcending their Victorian specimen quality and becoming amazing, kaleidoscopic images of nature. Murphy mentioned when I was there that one of her wallpaper patterns from this series is papering a whole room down at the University of Delaware (4/12/07: Greene wrote and said it’s American University).

Leslie Mutchler
Cut Fold Stack Repeat, by Leslie Mutchler; digital prints of table-leg patterns on vinyl adhesive on Colorplast, leg patterns from decorating catalogs. These can really be made out of tougher material to produce real, foldable furniture.

The exhibit includes wacky furniture, including a celestial globe of light from Float, a retro cabinet and table made from kirei (a reed made into plywood-like sheets) by Michael Iannone and Leslie Mutchler’s Cut Fold Stack Repeat tables, made of Colorplast, with digital prints of furniture legs (taken from decorating catalogs) applied to the legs–deadpan funny. It’s at least as good as Ikea, and the antithesis of Jake Hockel’s hand-brewed Ikea shelves at Space 1026’s Hand-job exhibit.

Michael Iannone
Michael Iannone’s, Signature 2.0 cabinet made of Kirei (reed-like product of sorghum formed into a ply-wood-like sheet).

Others in the exhibit are Candy Depew, Hot Soup, and Marisha Simons.

More images for both exhibits are here.