New grads–yup, more of them–at My House and Nexus

In the onslought of exhibits of graduating students work, there are still more standouts, and I thought I’d cherry pick a few.

In the group exhibit Restless Discontent, at My House Gallery, I was intrigued by work by several of the artists.

IMG_6527 Sarah O'Donnell
Sarah O’Donnell


Sarah O’Donnell (who also has work up at Little Berlin right now–see previous post), from Tyler, brings to her drawings her interest in what we see and how it connects — or doesn’t connect — to what we don’t see. This is the one that I loved, with a creepy suggestion of the drain pulling down inexorably to a nasty netherworld.

IMG_6525 Lillian Cotton
Lillian Cotton

A piece by Lillian Cotton, a UArts grad,looks at first blush like a traditional gaze at female beauty. But Cotton’s self-portrait places the revealed portion of her head and bust at the far bottom of a work that then becomes a depiction of her hair as a tangly wild bramble that she supports with upraised arms like a Caryatid. There are a lot of African American women doing art about hair, but this one has a lovely, metaphoric quality that belies the conventional treatment of the figure, and becomes a dare to all who might venture into the thicket. The ambiguities in the piece kept me looking–and looking.


IMG_6523 Jenny Bradley
Jenny Bradley

Jenny Bradley‘s painting of a sublime landscape all tied up in ribbons that create a kind of keyhole affect reminds me of a Faberge egg. A third level of reality is the red area at the lower right–perhaps another landscape. The girliness of the ribbons, the redness of the bottom mountains (flowers?) also suggests sexuality and identity.

That three works by women all of suggest unfamiliar levels of reality beneath the surface of the everyday seems pretty interesting to me, especially since their approaches are quite different.


IMG_6519 Michael Studebaker
Michael Studebaker

Also in this show, religion meets guns and bling in a piece by Michael Studebaker, as well as work by Adam Bush, Nathaniel Butler, Anton Carlone, Megan Frisch, and Alexandra Torres. (Bush, by the way, scored two shows–Five Into One, and this one).

This show, for recent art school graduates, was Juried by My House Gallery directors Alex Gartelmann, Hannah Heffner, and Fernando Ramos. Usually shows in this space are pretty ephemeral, so for what it’s worth, here’s the location and the contact phone: 2534 S. Eighth St. 908.370.1656. Call before you go, and get there quick.

The annual Nexus Selects at Nexus Foundation for Today’s Art is another small group show drawn from this year’s Philly art school grads, selected by members of the gallery.

amy opsasnick
Amy Opsasnick, I ain’t so lonely; one of our readers, chad, pointed out in the comments below the post that this image is based on the Philip-Lorca diCorcia photo, Hartford, 1980

Amy Opsasnick, from UArts, prints images of people doing mysterious things in mysterious relationship to each other. The work has an illustration quality, but there’s no saying just what is being illustrated. The way highlights and shadows are drawn brings to mind photographs and Photoshop renderings and paint by numbers. It feels fresh.

Gerold Mooney, Banshee, mixed media on plexi
Gerold Mooney, Banshee, mixed media on plexi

UArts grad Gerold Mooney‘s colors are knock-outs, and his cityscapes sizzle at the same time as they depict disintegration. The beauty lulls so well that the dark message and portent can slide right by, making this work you could actually live with quite happily. I like how Mooney’s work continues to have its own, distinct juiciness even though it’s so architectural.

IMG_6436 amanda ritter
Amanda Ritter, The Re-up Gang, archival ink jet

Although Amanda Ritter is treading familiar territory of kids at play and the power of masks, there’s a nice eye for the uncanny in the everyday and the camera’s ability to lie about scale. Ritter went to Tyler School of Art.

Others in the show are painter Anton Carlone from University of the Arts, photographer Kelsey Fain from Drexel University, photographer Colin Leaman from Tyler School of Art, and printmaker Jessie Wolfrom from University of the Arts.