Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to present Summer Garden, a group exhibition featuring the works of Naomi Chung, Heidi Leitzke, Colleen McCubbin Stepanic, Scott Noel, Jeffrey Reed, Rebecca Saylor Sack, Rebecca Segall, Barbara Sosson, James Stewart, and other artists from the GMG stable.
As the mid-summer heat settles upon us, let these works transport you from the Center City streets to the sanctuary of a summer garden. Each artwork offers a glimpse into the opulent colors, intricate patterns, and unique relationships that artists forge during the blazing days and suspended nights of summer. In Scott Noel’s painting titled Jan’s Garden In July, he portrays his wife Jan tending to their backyard garden. Under a clear blue sky, their red brick row house stands as a friendly witness while Jan basks in the warm summer sun, surrounded by her exuberant sunflowers.
Heidi Leitzke and James Stewart’s works evoke magic and mystery. Leitzke’s diminutive acrylic and thread works are imaginative secret gardens with space for one. Her colorful threads articulate imagined memories, inviting viewers into natural settings that feel both familiar and elusive. Stewart’s whimsical oil paintings provide glimpses of hidden backyard spaces nestled between the sloping rooftops of West Philly and spindly Victorian spires. The lush foliage of Stewart’s trees parts to expose intimate architectural vignettes.
Jeffrey Reed and Naomi Chung provide opposing vantage points. Chung’s paintings zoom in on potted plants and exotic specimens, as bright sunlight bathes the glossy green leaves of staghorn ferns and perky, open blossoms in her greenhouse garden. Conversely, Reed presents a bird’s-eye view of the green and brown stripes and the agricultural patchwork of rural Ireland, with each row showcasing a different summer crop.
Barbara Sosson and Colleen McCubbin Stepanic playfully exaggerate the scale and shapes of particular leaves and flowers. Sosson skillfully depicts engrossing details and soft greens in her large-scale portraits of curly kale and leafy cabbages. In contrast, McCubbin Stepanic’s vibrant pattern of silhouetted black-eyed susans stretch across a colossal 24-foot canvas, the petals of which radiate with movement like inquisitive appendages.
Rebecca Segall’s collages and Rebecca Saylor Sack’s paintings burst with rich hues and astonishing activity. Segall’s cut paper marigolds bloom out of the picture in three dimensions amidst the tilling of humorously disembodied hands. In tandem, Sack’s dense, thicket-like bouquets surprise viewers with the hidden skeletal structures of fauna.
Whether it is a hobby or a full-fledged passion, gardening can be a beneficial and rewarding activity that serves both aesthetic and practical purposes. Gardens provide beauty, engagement, nourishment, and a literal brightening of our days. Delving into the earth, nurturing and watering our plants, witnessing their growth, harvesting the fruits of our labor, and sharing our bounty with others–these experiences forge an intimate and engaging connection that persists over time.
Gardens truly possess a magical essence. They embody qualities of tenacity, simplicity, wildness, tranquility, and extraordinary beauty. The refuge of a summer garden becomes more meaningful, even meditative, during the early morning hours or the extended light of summer days. With the abundance of warmth and sunshine, it is no wonder we cherish our gardens, both real or captured in artistic expressions.
July 5 - 29, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 8, 1 - 4 pm
Joan Becker | Rebekah Callaghan | Naomi Chung | Graham Cuddy
Eileen Goodman | Morgan Hobbs | Heidi Leitzke | Ying Li
Joseph Lozano | Colleen McCubbin Stepanic | Scott Noel
Bethann Parker | Bruce Pollock | Jeffrey Reed | Dale O. Roberts
Val Rossman | Rebecca Saylor Sack | Rebecca Segall
James Stewart | Howie Lee Weiss