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First Friday ramble


Beth Brandon, Clearing, 8.5″ x 11″, 2008

We headed out to Old City and Chinatown last Friday and saw some stuff worth seeing.


Beth Brandon‘s show at Topstitch was our first stop. Her small eco-drawings showed a seriousness of purpose with their intense mark-making. The woodsy iconography floating on a sea of white is familiar (Justin Witte, Ben Volta, Robyn O’Neil, etc) but the dreaminess and the fashion sensibility (a series of drawings show a line of balaclavas made from leaves) give it a little surprise. Brandon will be in a two-person show at Copy Gallery in September. That show’s curated by Artblog pal Annette Monnier. Topstitch Boutique is at 311 Market Street.


By the way when we were searching for a link to Justin Witte we saw that he and Olivia Schreiner are have a two person show at Vox in November!


We trotted over to Snyderman to catch some work by Sienna Friedman, Christopher Lawrence and Kat Moran. Chris, who worked for us as an art handler for our show Dig at H&F Fine Arts, is going to Penn for an MFA. His large colorful paintings show a post-disaster world. We picked up a little bit of a Neo Rauch vibe although the style is Ben Day Dot Lichtenstein. We liked Moran’s Llama (sold) especially in its Rococo-aspiring frame. Friedman’s collages embedded in epoxy had a paper doll quality. We also stopped in at Rodger LaPelle for a group show of gallery artists where Rodger told us July’s solo show of his own drawings — done at age 71 — was a big success. He sold 33 works!!


At Vox and Copy we ran into a ton of people we knew. And we’re going to show you some pictures of them.

IMG_6824 Becky Suss' father and Damian
Becky Suss’s father and Damian Weinkrantz. Both Suss and Weinkrantz have work up at Copy. More on that below.

Chris Golas
Chris Golas sporting a new issue Obama as superhero t-shirt. He’s selling them. Get in touch at Chris also told us that Flux got a Pa. Council on the Humanities Grant for Oliver Herring’s upcoming Task 2 on Sept. 6. They are also getting some help from City Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez.

Rob Swainston
Rob Swainston’s installation at Vox. That’s Andrew Jeffrey Wright on the right looking in.

Now we’ll tell you a little about the art, starting with Vox Populi.

IMG_6829 Kate Stewart
Kate Stewart from her show Flash & Duck at Vox

Kate Stewart has an installation that’s both interior and exterior. On a high-falutin’ wallpapered wall she’s got paintings of …explosions in the night sky; burning buildings; and other disasters, all looking beautiful. Her paintings used to include the room with the disasters out the window implying some shelter from the storm, but now the disasters are the central image. And because of the sheer numbers of paintings of fires and explosions they feel like a collection, like someone’s documenting disasters. Ironically for all the fire and sparks these have a cool affect.

Band wagon Band wagon
Band Wagon Band Wagon at Vox in the video lounge

Band Wagon transforms the video lounge and goes a long way with a single joke. By inserting themselves into rock concert film footage they are living their rock star fantasy. We love the swelling soundtrack of the crowd roaring. They went all out on the installation of a performance stage on wheels and at least three or four video projections and monitors.

Rob Swainston’s installation (see photo with AJW in the people section of this post) puzzled us with its prints and ribbon of paper on a metal armature taking up most of the room.

Dustin Sparks
Dustin Sparks. Part two, Modulate Take one, an air-conditioned paraffin yellow paperboat serenaded sleep filled with pyramid dreams aboard the last eastbound train.

And Dustin Sparks’ installation — which we smelled the moment we walked in the door of Vox (urinal deodorant pellets on a pedestal) — puzzled us as well.


Isaac Schell at Copy
Isaac Schell at Copy

The three artist show of Isaac Schell, Becky Suss and Damian Weinkrantz at Copy was our favorite of the night. The exhibit was curated by Damian and organized by Dave Dunn. While the combo of works is surprising the show works pretty well. Schell’s photos are portraits of buildings and of people and they’re beautiful and heartfelt. He’s in love with the city and its denizens.

IMG_6845 Becky Suss
Becky Suss

Becky Suss’s paintings are outsidery and painted with enormous freedom and confidence. Her portraits are of cultivated hills climbing up to the sky. Here’s our artblog bon voyage to Becky who’s going to UC Berkeley this fall for an MFA.

Damian Weinkrantz
Damian Weinkrantz at Copy

Damian Weinkrantz’s drawings surprised us with all the words. There’s politics and a mix of past and present in the sketchbook-like pages on the wall.