GALLERY HOURS: Wednesday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm
Find the perfect gift this season during Gross McCleaf HOLIDAY! Shop our curated collection of new paintings by Graham Cuddy, Elaine Lisle, Léni Paquet-Morante, Max Mason, & Rochelle Toner, wearable art and functional pieces by local artists Alden Cole, Margery Cooper, Scott Cooper, Shelby Donnelly, Varvàra Fern, Amanda Kaiserman, Clare McCarthy, Rosae Reeder, and one-of-a-kind items by a group of local artists with disabilities in coordination with SpArc Philadelphia. GMG gift cards and gift wrap available upon request.
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to host Centerpiece, marking Howie Lee Weiss’ first major exhibition in Philadelphia in thirty years. The exhibit will feature a selection of new works from his Centerpiece and Nature series in a variety of sizes and formats. Weiss' framed, vine charcoal works on paper depict stylized imagery crafted with his exacting and heartfelt touch. The Centerpiece Series - some bursting with growth, others sublimely trim - portrays positive, celebratory compositions.
Narratives unfold in Weiss’ large-scale drawings, often including plants, birds, fruits, and humans. Figures investigate their surroundings, curiously prodding at holes in the ground or peering skyward at the heavens, evoking a sense of wonder and enchantment. In smaller works, Weiss challenges his imagination by engaging in rigorous investigations that explore the possibilities for his imagery. Wall ensembles of small drawings display subtle variations of cups, fauna, grids, and simple landscape features. Each drawing is fully and thoughtfully perfected, yet different from the next. The collections highlight the infinite opportunities for variety that exist even amongst a narrowly defined set of formal parameters.
Celia Reisman featured in John Thornton's Celia Reisman, Painting the Beauty All Around Us
Celia Reisman paints landscapes overflowing with light calm and beauty. I would also add that Celia and her husband Mark are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Celia told me, "People say my paintings are fanciful and have a degree of other worldliness. It’s really appealing to me that people feel that way. I look for and paint areas that are in between the houses, so the images are small vignettes, I think of them as little stories, and I guess I'm asking people to pay attention to where you live, and your environment, pay attention to the beauty and the quirkiness of what's around us."
Douglas Martenson featured in John Thornton's Focus and Inspiration, New Landscapes by Doug Martenson
Doug Martenson is showing a new body of small landscapes at Gross McCleaf, painted here in Philadelphia and also in Maine. He talks about what inspires him and the importance of keeping focus. In some of these paintings, we see his deep over global climate change and how it is affecting the landscape
Elizabeth Johnson: In the “Style, Process, Perfection” part of your website, you describe beginning a charcoal drawing: "My fingertips coat the paper gray first, and then I draw loosely and freely, searching out my characters. Once found, decisive black lines are added as accurately as possible so that there is no mistaking what kind of image was intended.” Few contemporary artists work exclusively with charcoal. Besides its workability, why do you gravitate to it? Do the traces of previous attempts help you find your subject? Or are you always starting over with a blank slate after erasing?
Howie Lee Weiss: The image grows and develops. I may like a tiny bit and build around that, or I may continue to wipe away the sketch marks until the images that are necessary gradually appear...
Elizabeth Johnson: Studying your work, I feel a strong pull toward surrealism, movies, and dreams. What inspires you to put a composition together? Is there a story or mood that gets things going?
Ted Walsh: All kinds of things inspire my compositions. Things I happen to see. Things I’m inspired by, literature, music, other art. A technical painting idea, an abstract compositional idea, a theme from an older painting I want to revisit. A story, a mood. ––It could be any mix of these. Anything really...
Elizabeth Johnson: In John Thornton’s video, Larry Francis Is Philadelphia’s Most Enjoyable Artist, you mention growing up among model trains and planes. Do you think that makes you see reality as a sort of toy world? A place to play?
Larry Francis: Perhaps all art is a toy representation of real life. We lived over my dad’s bicycle shop. He built model airplanes (some of his own design) and train platforms with houses, landscaped hills, and bridges. My mom was always making centerpieces or other crafty projects. I drew things and took art classes in high school. Between 11th and 12th grades I sold my motorcycle to attend a summer art camp, where I did my first oil painting with the teacher’s paint. My parents bought Time Life books for me on American art and world art. My favorite thing was watching black and white movies on The Late Show. I think all this mixed together with the craft of making things...
“I want to work directly with the subject as much as possible. Most of my painting sites are familiar to me. My goal is to keep finding new subjects to paint, in the city and elsewhere, with a beautiful sense of light and some bit of life.”
- Larry Francis
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to feature a solo exhibition by Larry Francis, a much-beloved painter of the Philadelphia regional scene. Francis is a thirty-year veteran of the Gross McCleaf roster and has consistently painted engaging, everyday scenes of identifiable neighborhood locales. You Are Here is another achievement in his pursuit, featuring over twenty new landscape and cityscape paintings of sites mostly within fifty miles of the Schuylkill.
PHILADELPHIA — I first learned of Leigh Werrell’s work from her 2018 solo show at Gross McCleaf Gallery. I was struck by her nighttime bodegas, lamp-lit row-homes, steamy saunas, and hypnagogic self-portraits, which felt like snapshots from a dream.
Werrell’s latest body of work, Between You and Me, also at Gross McCleaf, is both a continuation of the artist’s earlier themes and an exploration of more inward territory: the enthralling experience of solitude and estrangement in the city. Many of the show’s paintings and three-dimensional works (sculptures and reliefs) are indirect responses to the pandemic: meditations on social distancing, isolation, and the absence of touch in this antiseptic era...
If you were forced to pick a fight with a visual artist, you’d be well advised to steer clear of embroiderers. Of the many ways to make a straight line on a blank surface, thread may be the most physical. Punching a needle through canvas or paper or cloth requires strong hand muscles. Pulling the thread tight demands a flexible wrist. Doing it hundreds of times demonstrates tenacity and determination — and, perhaps, a waspish will to puncture something.
Yet a thread never lets you forget its mutability...