Gross McCleaf Gallery
127 S Sixteenth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Current Exhibitions

Mickayel Thurin

Mickayel Thurin
Kindred Spirits

November 2 - 30, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, November 2, 5 - 7 pm


These paintings are portraits using my immediate family and close friends as the models. Most of these folks I have painted many times over. I generally like to work with those I know very well. Part of this is because after you know someone well and they know you, you lose some of the niceties. You are both more authentic versions of yourselves and that is when you can really get down to business. - Mickayel Thurin

Mickayel Thurin captures the spirit of her sitters with a personal and distinctive hand. She chooses her subjects from the loved ones in her life. The resulting paintings share the intimacy that can only result from an artist who fully understands the nuances of her sitter's posture, gesture, attitude, or thoughts. A preoccupation with likeness or even the reaction of a sitter to the appearance of her own portrait is not the artist's primary concern. Thurin searches for something deeper which allows her to digress from outward appearances and creates a space for her to capture something which only she may see.


While working with those whom she know well, Thurin is also absorbed with the creation of something new and unique. Competing considerations, informed by both familiarity and curiosity, operate in dialogue and result in paintings which reveal both considerations; neither one dominating the other. Primarily using acrylic paint on canvas or panel, Thurin does not hesitate to bring in additional materials - collage, watercolor, ink, stitching, or other forms of embellishment - if she feels it is necessary for the painting to communicate aspects of her experience and discovery. The result of her process is a painting with dramatic compositional elements, vibrant colors, and textured surfaces informed by an exceptional sensitivity to the sitter's presence.


Thurin is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in numerous regional exhibits, including the Perkins Center for the Arts, Woodmere Art Museum, Wayne Arts Center, and the Main Line Art Center. This is her first solo exhibition at Gross McCleaf Gallery.






Brett Baker
Casey Matthews
Douglas Witmer

November 2 - 30, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, November 2, 5 - 7 pm



The painters in Bevel shift the pressure of meaning in their works to the meeting of moments. Brett BakerCasey Matthews, and Douglas Witmer create paintings of tightly woven and highly considered marks, colors, and shapes. Humane and personal in scale, these paintings are subtle and deceptively simple. This simplicity means that the slightest change or adjustment of any single part of the painting has a radical impact on its meaning. Honed like the edge of a fine blade, the paintings revel in the tension of specific relationships. The direct materiality of the paint application invites us, the viewers, to look - and the looking is sustained by the artists' precision and intention.


Brett Baker's paintings are created with incrementally organized, impasto brush strokes. Baker's paintings begin broadly but over the course of months and years they grow in their specificity. Rather than begin with a clear subject and composition from the outset, he finds his subject and structure through the act of painting over the course of time.


Casey Matthew's clarity lies in the limited palette she has chosen. Angles and shapes speak loudly and reveal a subtle communication of space. This space unfolds over time but the graphic appearance invites our initial looking. While geometric, Matthew's paintings ore not rigid and avoid being mechanical or formulaic as the artist's hand is never lost in her individual explorations.


Douglas Witmer uses clear, distinct actions combined with transparent paint application. Like a diary, the paintings capture moments for evaluation and reflection relying upon and revealing what has happened previously to arrive at the present. Careful but not fully controlled, Witmer allows room for the accidental and paints what can only be quietly revealed.


Brett Baker lives in Raleigh, NC. He earned is MFA in Painting from Boston University and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Baker's works have been featured and review in The New York Review of BooksThe New Republic, and The New Criterion.


Casey Matthews lives in Philadelphia, PA. She is a graduate of the Certificate Program at the Pennsylvania, Academy of the Fine Arts. She has been awarded the PAFA's Women's Board Travel Scholarship and the Mayor's Award.


Douglas Witmer lives in Philadelphia, PA. He has an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and a BA from Goshen College. Witmer has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally with his work held in the collections of the Woodmere Art Museum, The Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska, and the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.