Rainbow Connection on First Friday – a few pictures and thoughts on lovers and dreamers

The first thing I saw before going into the Vox building last Friday was a rainbow. Well, a reference to a rainbow anyway. And like those real emanations of light and color after a hard rain, the wheat-paste poster cheered me up and made me laugh. A toss off, perhaps — a smart, on the money parody of the city’s tourism marketing posters — it set the bar high for my very, very brief visit inside.


Alex Paik, Prelude and Fugue, 2011, gouache, marker, color pencil, paper, at Tiger Strikes Asteroid

Inside I saw another rainbow in Alex Paik’s bright-colored paper engineering at Tiger Strikes Asteroid. Paik says he’s not interested in making pop up books but to my eye these works would make fantastic innards to pop out at you from some kind of book — maybe coupled with some poetry or short short stories. They leap off the wall with lots of energy, and are highly playful.

Alex Paik, Prelude and Fugue, 2011, gouache, marker, color pencil, paper, at Tiger Strikes Asteroid

Down the hall, Marginal Utility was closed for Yom Kippur (via artist Hadassah Goldvicht’s wishes); Grizzly Grizzly has a severe little design installation by Patrick Gavin; Napoleon has a member’s show of abstract paintings by Dustin Campbell — all worth a quick look.

Becky Suss, Sumi ink on Paper, at Vox Populi

Meanwhile, Vox Populi has its usual mix of members’ shows and guests.  Member Becky Suss’s Sumi ink drawings of Philadelphia streets and other real world scenes (re-imagined by the artist) are so sincere and un-ironic they seem like visitors from another planet to the space that has almost cornered the market on irony in this town. Beautiful renderings, and so un-experimental that in this space they become experimental, they’re as much over the rainbow as the FLUX poster.

Piper Brett, from her installation at Vox Populi. The photo has been covered with white spray paint.

Member Piper Brett’s two pictures (blow ups of scanned porn magazine images I think) and a chain link sculpture are cyphers, as are Member Emily Rooney’s room of paintings and installations. Rooney’s room is particularly downbeat, a veiled history of something or other.  I like the paintings.

Emily Rooney, detail of her installation at Vox Populi

And the installation by guest artist Kikuko Tanaka, which had nice classical music playing but required you to crawl on hands and knees through the human mouse-hole to get to what is on the other side. I’m sorry but I don’t crawl on my hands and knees for art. I hope it was worth it, and there was a performance, presumably on the other side of the hole. If you saw that, maybe elucidate what I missed in a comment.

Kikuko Tanaka, mouse hole door to crawl through to see what’s on the other side

The Rainbow Connection — Kermit sang it best.  This town is full of  lovers and dreamers who have banded together, created new places to be and share. Ten years ago, this kind of let’s make our own Emerald City thinking was just beginning.  Happily ever after is a dream, and yet with some sweat, some friends and some ideas, you can definitely create your own over the rainbow.


One more thing, Vox’s AUX performance space is almost completely done.  I got a quick peek at the black-walled space with a half-black painted floor (Vox is in the old Black Floor and Copy Gallery spaces).  Andrew Suggs says they will be painting the floor black.  There are no risers for audience seats, in case you were wondering.  Just folding chairs on a flat floor.  And the stage is a group of moveable platforms that can be arranged this way and that for performances.  Looking good!