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The First Friday — we find some edges


Joy Feasley
Joy Feasley, Last Picnic, vinyl paint on board, 20 x 25.5″, the conceit of a boy and girl having picnic way up in a tree, looking out on all of nature hits a lot of emotional notes–humor, wonder, love.

Roberta told you about the carousel-like spectacle that closed our First Friday (post here), an event that included the two of us plus Andrea, too, who is fast becoming our regular ff companion.

The evening not only ended with a bang, it started out with a bang–Philadelphia artist Joy Feasley and former Philadelphia artist Clare Rojas in Locks Gallery!! Now that’s a smoke signal of change in the air. The two of them are in an exhibit, Pow-Wows or The Long Lost Friend.

Joy Feasley
detail of the flocked wainscoting from Feasley

Feasley has not compromised the rough-and-tumble camping spirit that permeates her work, not even in Locks Gallery. With rough two-by-fours, and glitter and paint, she has brought Starry Night in flocking to the gallery walls with a wainscoting installation. It mocks French Empire with arts-and-crafts enthusiasm for decorating the cabin in the woods. As do her paintings, her installation communicates the wonder inspired by nature and infinity.

Clare Rojas
Clare Rojas, untitled (wrestlers), latex and gouache on board, 8 5/8 x 11 1/8″

The humor in Rojas’ work came and went. The wrestlers with the handlebar penises image was unexpected, as was untitled (green jacket), a picture of a dandy with hairy pants, both suggesting a somewhat edgy relationship with male anatomy. But the more quilt-like pieces seemed somewhat labored and restrained–and too darned large for the amount of imagery in them.

Tim McFarlane
Tim McFarlane, Dive, 2007, 28 x 32″

Across Washington Square, we visited Tim McFarlane at Bridgette Mayer Gallery. Roberta wrote the catalog for the exhibit, but I haven’t seen the essay because it wasn’t yet published. This work was a continuation of the last work he showed at Mayer, webby ladders drooping or swooping across the landscape. This body of work is lush, juicy and joyous–sexy even. The break from the previous body of work–regimental bars as landscapes–is dramatic. The new work breaks away from the cityscape where buildings and people have an uneasy proximity to each other. These feel more like nature and some surreal heavenly ascension. They must be McFarlane’s river of love.

Paul Oberst
Paul Oberst, Temple Relief/Trickster ink on wood 57 x 17 x 6 at Bridgette Mayer Gallery

A surprise in the little closet that serves as Mayer’s back room was sculpture by Paul Oberst. I’m not sure what the work is about, except they have Asian temple and temple bell references and seem to be about matters spiritual. I loved the stamped words on this chunky piece. For a detail of the words, go here.

Tit Pins at Manybody
Although this young lady looks like she means business, the spermy pink paisley tells you something different, and so does the sign. She’s offering tit pins–she’s talking yours. Get in the booth with the abbreviated dressing-room skirt and she’ll take a shot–that she’ll then transform into a pin you can wear to match the in-the-flesh ones.

Our next two stops were the antithesis of high-brow art. The first was Manybody at Temple Gallery, an exhibit organized by Space 1026er Jesse Goldstein. The work is political action–full of multiples and giveaways and freebies and collaborations. It embraces the populace and populist culture with a big heart and a generous soul. The projects included in the exhibit are A/Way, Celebrate People’s History: Poster Project, Project Hello, Tit Pin, the West Philadelphia Re-Signage Committee, and You Are Beautiful.

Roberta muttered about the peep-show quality of the Tit Pins piece, but I thought it was fabulously confrontational, a direct descendant of Vallie Export–taking back the prurient gaze with girl power. I also loved how the short curtain was a mix of theater curtain and store dressing-room. Ta-daaaa. As for the pink paisley, it struck me as perfect–spermy and girly all at once. The young lady behind the computer was Dolly Parton in Nine to Five–all business and bustiness. Only Andrea had the guts to go in the booth and then pocket her pin.

Installation/intervention on the city streets
You are beautiful, a street intervention near the confluence of I-95 and I-676, from the You are Beautiful group in the Manybody exhibit.

The Hello Project, giving to the homeless their lost identities by writing their names on poster-sized Hello style stickers, was sweet and effective. We each grabbed a fistfull of You Are Beautiful stickers to hand around, and we visited the You are Beautiful intervention on the way to Northern Liberties–and Roberta’s last post (link at the top of this post).

My First Friday Flickr set is here.