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Exxcapes This Friday at !


! Gallery
! Gallery, 727 Oak Lane in North Philly, on a sunny Saturday afternoon during their first exhibition. Beautiful light coming in the storefront gallery space.

Here’s an email Q&A I did with Austin Lee, one half of ! Gallery’s team of artist-curators (the other team member is Katrina Mortorff). The gallery’s new show opens tomorrow, Oct. 26,reception 7-10 pm, with a show, Exxcapes, in which landscape is the theme — but don’t expect conventional landscapes to appear. Here’s photos from their first exhibit on the theme of the end of the world.

How big is your space, roughly? either sq. ft. or other dimensions
! is roughly 17 x 19 feet but odd shaped. It has high tin ceilings and a tile floor.

What’s the idea for the next show?

Maggie Van Scoyk, Self Portrait as an Iceberg. 4x9ft acrylic on canvas.
Maggie Van Scoyk, Self Portrait as an Iceberg. 4x9ft acrylic on canvas.

The next show is a landscape show. The show title is Exxcapes: a look at landscape art. The theme is very general. We simply asked the artists to contribute an artwork dealing with landscape. Some of the artists created new work and some are including previously made work. We wanted to have a really diverse show with a lot of different styles. Me and Katrina organized the show together. The show is scheduled for October 26th. The Last Friday of October. (Here’s who’s in the show: Maggie Van Scoyk, Chris Domenick, Edna Chen, Bob Gonzales, Brian Langan, Mark Ellis, 3zxzp Bakc, Katrina Mortorff, Daisuke Hatori, Christopher Davison, Bryan Jeitner, Patrick Walsh.)

How did you get the idea for the gallery?

The idea to use the space to show off artwork wasn’t ours. Jeff Frederick used the space as “the Spot” before us and we just decided to continue the idea. It was a little intimidating at first but then we thought “Why not? Let’s try it and see what happens.” It’s really been a lot of fun so far. We’ve relied on the help of a lot of friends to make the first show happen. Everyone has been really giving and helpful and there is no way me and Katrina could have done it alone. We have to give special credit to our good friends Maggie Van Scoyk and Bob Gonzales who helped us plan things along the way. We’ve met a lot of new friends too. Mark Ellis for example has really helped out a lot and is even going to contribute art in the landscape show. We’ve been really lucky to have such good friends.

Do you have a goal or mission with it (keep yourself making art, keep your network going, make the network bigger, sell some art, have some fun…???)

There isn’t really any specific goal we are just enjoying the ride. Since we don’t have any expectations everything is just bonuses along the way. Here is a list of a few of them.
* Keeping in touch with other artists and talking about art a lot.
* Meeting new people.
* Sharing artwork we love.
* Making something together.
* Getting people together.

Do you have financial support from outside or are you bankrolling the shows yourself?

We try to avoid spending a lot of money so everything has been pretty manageable so far. We are a little poorer than we used to be but probably a little happier too. The artists involved have helped out as much as they can with shipping artwork and bringing food to the receptions, etc. We use the space more as an exhibition space than a gallery. We don’t sell anything here but people can buy directly from the artist if they want to own something (if the artist wants to sell it). This gives ! a special freedom I imagine some other galleries wouldn’t have. We don’t have to worry about whether or not something will sell.

Do you get out and see art around town and are you excited by what you see?
I go out to see art as much as I can. I love the feeling I get when I see something remarkable. That’s the kind of artwork we want to show here. Stuff that leaves you feeling wowed.

! Gallery
727 Oak Lane
Philadelphia PA 19126
570 906 0766
Directions by SEPTA
Take the R1, R2, R3, R5 to Melrose Park. Exit train, go right towards N. Franklin St. Continue to Oak Lane.