Existential West Philly: Scott White and John Karpinski

Scott White's Rube Golbergian device, energized by a pendulum
Scott White’s Rube Golbergian device, energized by a pendulum

At 40th Street AIR Space, Scott White has a very small show; one of the reasons the exhibit is notable is a terrific Rube Goldbergian device that involves a pendulum, turntable and bellows. (I was utterly confused by which piece was which, and so am unable to tell you its name). The other is Accordian, which I first saw a couple of years ago at Bridgette Mayer Gallery; I found myself enjoying it all over again. Both pieces are interactive and anthropomorphic and, if you ask me, all about what it means to be alive. The bellows on both pieces are lungs, and there’s a fragility and tenderness.

White, by the way, is one of the five artists who created the terrific exquisite corpse series up right now in the back room at Bridgette Mayer (see post).

John Karpinski
John Karpinski confronts the Zen of fishing in his Harry & Zeke cartoons


Existential art of another sort is showing at the University City Arts League. A fish story unfolds in Harry & Zeke: Nautical Tales & High Flying Adventures, by John Karpinski. The work is not so much about fishing as it is about life, outlook, and just how dreamy and vulnerable and dizzy we all can be. It’s more like philosophy than a story, and it elicited a number of lol’s from both Murray and me.

fish food
Fish food at the UCAL included gold fish, gummy worms, and swedish fish, set off by fish napkins

This is Karpinski’s first one-man exhibit. The exhibition includes 30 small drawings from 2005 to the present created in pen and ink, watercolor and gouache. The smallest pieces are only 3.5 by 5.5 inches. The exhibit includes an accordian book, Harry & Zeke Go Fishing, made in collaboration with Elysa Voshell, and while I was there, I also discovered that CFEVA’s Genevieve Coutroubis is married to Karpinski!


If you want to see more pictures, including pix of White and of Karpinski, you can go to my Flickr set.