February Exhibitions: February 8 - March 2
Gallery Hours: Wed - Sat, 10 - 5 pm
Beyond The Visible - Hilma af Klint
Saturday, February 24, 3-5 pm
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP
Ann Lofquist: Passing Observations
Gross McCleaf is delighted to present a new series of landscape paintings by Ann Lofquist in Passing Observations. Lofquist’s remarkable skill and eye for detail, beauty and serenity are on full display in this new collection of both small-scale plein air paintings, and larger studio works.
Having grown up beside the Potomac River in Maryland, Lofquist maintains a strong connection to the surrounding landscape from her childhood years, noting, “It is important to me to have a knowledge of a place if I am going to paint it extensively. By ‘knowledge’ I mean an intimate familiarity with the flora and fauna, the texture of the soil, the weather and seasonal changes”. Lofquist’s mastery in contemporary landscape painting and pictorial grandeur draws many parallels with the early American works of the Hudson River School...
Nasir Young: Excursions
Gross McCleaf Gallery is thrilled to present Excursions, Nasir Young’s first solo exhibition at Gross McCleaf Gallery. In Excursions, Young features a series of small-scale oil paintings that serve as tender documentations of common sites and scenes in and around the city of Philadelphia – where Young was born and raised. An emerging contemporary artist, Young’s choice of subject matter and form establishes unexpected and delightful connections within his artwork and with the viewer. His pictures are observant, detailed and sincere and are displayed alongside four sketchbooks containing preparatory drawings, notes and doodles.
Young is a seasoned storyteller whose background in illustration and graphic design seamlessly translates into his paintings. Young explains, “Initially, my thinking came from comic book panels and how a story is broken up for the viewer to experience a full narrative within one page. As I feel less of a need to illustrate, images have become tools to show time, fabricate larger narratives, and play with compositions similar to how I work in my sketchbooks”.
Fortitude at 50: A Resilient Five Decades at Gross McCleaf Gallery
Women have been the cornerstone of operations and exhibitions at Gross McCleaf since Estelle Shane Gross opened her gallery in 1970 on the second floor of 1713 Walnut Street. Over 50 years later, Gross McCleaf is commemorating its rich history during (re)Focus 2024, a citywide festival celebrating women-identified and BIPOC artists.
Fortitude at 50: A Resilient Five Decades at Gross McCleaf Gallery features Martha Armstrong, Jan Baltzell, Joan Becker, Elizabeth Geiger, Eileen Goodman, Penelope Harris, Heidi Leitzke, Bertha Leonard, Ying Li, Ann Lofquist, Chelsey Luster, Bethann Parker, Nicole Parker, Jane Piper, Kimi Pryor, Mary Putman, Celia Reisman, Val Rossman, Mickayel Thurin, Leigh Werrell, and Lauren Whearty with self-portraits, dreamy narratives and formally complex still-life and landscape paintings. The works suggest a deep reflection of the self and a strong point of view conveyed through their distinct subjects and styles. The exhibition represents women artists in all stages of their careers who have helped shape the Gross McCleaf legacy and brand focus toward what Sharon Ewing, former owner and director, refers to as “painterly realism” – representation in painted form.
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Chasing My Own Satisfaction, Conversation with Nasir Young
Elizabeth Johnson: Faces of London #2 and Beauty Salon play with the pattern of the bricks by eliminating some dividing lines, softening the frontal, flatter, squarer quality of those two paintings. Smudgy areas summon a tactile response that balances the use of line for both rendering and texture. You seem to really love drawing lines. Do you use a ruler, or do you have a super-steady hand?
Nasir Young: I'm going to be honest. It's a cruel addiction: it's all done freehand, with the occasional drawn line over the painting. Anytime I’ve tried using tape or rulers, I end up redoing the section. I can see the imperfections, so I wouldn't call my own hands super steady. But it matches the believable space I'm building out. If the lines were perfect, it would highlight the areas that aren't technically accurate or exaggerated. Ultimately, I'm chasing my own satisfaction in my work...
A Considered Beauty, Conversation with Ann Lofquist
Elizabeth Johnson: I enjoyed your 2020 discussion of True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870 with Mary Morton at the National Gallery. Relating eighteenth and nineteenth century painters as peers, you say it isn’t enough only to do plein air oil sketches, even though they sometimes end up being more dynamic than larger, constructed studio versions of the same scene...Do you scrape or rag off large areas of paint to keep canvases dynamic?
Ann Lofquist: My painting process usually involves doing on-site plein air studies, and then reworking the most promising ones into larger canvases in the studio...I try to reinvent the experience but also alter and improvise. However, I consider a large painting “adrift” and courting failure if it loses the original emotional inspiration depicted in the plein air. Quickly painted, spontaneous pieces have an appealing freshness very difficult to reproduce in studio work....In contrast, the studio paintings develop slowly, through much trial and error, over many weeks. I hope there is another kind of meaning in something more considered and resolved, perhaps a more mature rather than youthful beauty.
Nasir Young featured in John Thornton's video PAFA Grad Nasir Young's First Solo Show
"Nasir Young graduated a couple years ago from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He switched from illustration to painting during the pandemic. Philadelphia's Gross McCleaf Gallery is hosting his first one person show," - John Thornton
Ann Lofquist featured in John Thornton's video Ann Lofquist, Landscape Painting as a Way of Life
"I have been a fan of Ann Lofquist’s landscapes for years so it was a great thrill to finally meet her at her opening. Her work is beautiful and the example of how she's led her creative life is invaluable for any aspiring artist. Live frugally, check your ego at the studio door, and make art that connects to human experience," - John Thornton