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

Frank Trefny, Sandbar Moon Jar


Frank Trefny
Still Life and Shore

April 5 - 27, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, April 5, 5 - 7 pm
Frank Trefny, Sandbar Moon Jar, Oil on panel, 24 x 32 inches  


I’d like to think my powers of expression have deepened over time, but my motivation has remained remarkably similar; to express the beauty of the world, in particular the world of still lifeflowers, fruit, containers of all kinds especially ceramic objectsbut really everything.  In so doing I am, of course, including the light - in my studio a beautiful silvery north light - which tends to suppress shadows, but gives everything a certain glow from above.


In contrast to the studio still lifes which focus inward, I have also painted at the shore.  There’s nothing I love more than the ocean, bay, or sound; any large body of water subject to tidal variation. Such places embody the exhilaration of vast spaces and make me dream of adventure and escape. From early on I have enjoyed featuring a simple still life or more often a single object on a table or ledge before this scene. For me this contrast seems to speak to the idea of transience, and fragility, but yet survival before the great unknown.Frank Trefny


Painting is a life-affirming act. It requires the attention and concentration of the artist during creation but its purpose is only fulfilled with the presentation of the painter’s personal vision to others for their consideration. Frank Trefny paints objects in the grand-tradition of still life painting and embues his paintings with the meditative tone and serene emotion of a close-looking artist curious about the simple relationships of particular objects in a particular space. With simple flowers in a vase, Trefny sparks one to imagine the feel of a sea breeze and the gentle sounds of rippling waves; with just a bouquet of flowers, a few oranges, and one or two pieces of pottery or table silver, Trefny calls to mind a well-lived-in home, filled with conversations and laughter.


Frank Trefny is a graduate of Syracuse University and received his MFA from the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has been showing with Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia since 2003. This is his fifth solo exhibition.


Elaine Lisle, City at Night


Elaine Lisle
From Dawn to Dusk

April 5 - 27, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, April 5, 5 - 7 pm
Elaine Lisle, City at Night, Oil on canvas, 36 x 38 inches  



My paintings express the feeling of awe I have with the landscape, particularly the quality of light and how it might bring surprise to a composition. As a painter I find myself looking for my next painting every minute of the day. - Elaine Lisle


Elaine Lisle's paintings celebrate her surroundings; a busy street in the city, a quiet mill stream in the countryside, or a solitary sculler on a river amidst the brilliant colors of fall. Inspired by her growing interest in painting outdoors, Lisle's recent work reflects an appreciation for capturing the changing seasons and the light of different times of day - from the dawn until the dusk. In Connoisseur Magazine, writer Nancy Bea Miller cites Lisle's excitement upon seeing Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square "glowing at sunset and twinkling with street lights, all covered by fresh snow....The snow had transformed a familiar landscape into something softer, different." When the artist is back in the studio, her paintings are influenced by the experience and memory of painting outdoors. Responding to the experience of painting from direct observation with her on-site oil sketches and her own photography studies, Lisle allows herself the freedom for the "feel of a color" to come through in her studio paintings. Sharon Ewing, Director of Gross McCleaf, notes that in these recent paintings, "There is a subtle but real shift toward interpretation rather than representation, allowing Elaine to reveal more of who she is as an artist."


Elaine Lisle received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and spent two years of post-graduate study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where she was greatly influenced by the luminous abstract paintings of the late Murray Dessner. While at Penn, the influence of artist Neil Welliver gave Lisle the encouragement to pursue a career as a realist painter at a time when many young artists were turning to abstraction. This is her third solo exhibition with Gross McCleaf.