Gross McCleaf gallery was founded in 1969 by Estelle Shane Gross, and the Rittenhouse Square Gallery has celebrated a half-century legacy of female leadership.
"This was really at the beginning of what would become a rich gallery scene in Philadelphia," says gallery owner and director, Rebecca Segall, who adds that Gross started with the idea of a New York City-style gallery, but then began supporting local artists. . .
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to announce two solo exhibitions of new paintings by gallery artists, Christine Lafuente and Joseph Lozano and a group exhibition featuring the work of Melanie Fischer, Kati Gegenheimer, Eileen Goodman, Elizabeth Hamilton, Ying Li, Jonathan Mandell, Irene Mamiye, Lynn Muchnick, Scott Noel, Barbara Sosson, and Frank Trefny.
Christine Lafuente is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and received her Certificate in Painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. After spending years in Philadelphia where she was artist-in-residence at the Fleisher Art Memorial, Lafuente moved to Brooklyn and completed her MFA at Brooklyn College in 2004. She has exhibited her work throughout the Mid-Atlantic region in numerous solo shows and had a solo exhibition in London, England in 2008. Lafuente has been represented by the Gross McCleaf Gallery since 2002. . .
When Christine Lafuente set out to paint her latest series of works in Puerto Rico in March 2020, she never fathomed what would transpire over the next few months. The trip was planned a year prior after having visited the country for a workshop and finding that the cities reminded her of her late father’s home country of Cuba, which he left to go to university in the United States and was unable to return.
Lafuente had planned to explore San Juan, learning more about the people, the architecture and the culture, in hopes of making a deeper connection to a similar ancestry as her own. Soon after she arrived for what was supposed to be a shorter trip, Lafuente was locked down in the country and stayed for several months because of the pandemic. Her work, which she had hoped would reflect the vibrancy and beauty of the city at a more intimate level, shifted to views from the windows of the terrace apartment she rented. The work created was more internal but still filled with the bold architecture and bright sunlight.
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new paintings by gallery artist, Douglas Martenson and a group exhibition featuring the work of Brian Boutwell, Betsy Eby, Deirdre Murphy, Celia Reisman, Rebecca Segall, Sterling Shaw, Michayel Thurin, Alexandra Tyng, and Leigh Werrell, curated by Douglas Martenson.
Douglas Martenson paints observationally in various locations in Maine and Pennsylvania. He meticulously documents the light, atmosphere and environment of each view through a variety of painting techniques. While the painted objects appear with local color firmly established, a sensitive eye will begin to perceive deep reds, light purples, golds, chromatic grays and a spectrum of ever-present blues. Martenson’s careful handling of paint opens up worlds within each object, giving way to a conceptual interpretation over time.
Gross McCleaf Gallery is showing works by Maryland-based Nicole Parker in her first solo exhibition in Philadelphia. Titled “Thresholds”, her paintings are portals that allow a viewer to travel through conceptual thresholds into surrogate realities. “I love human spaces like houses, buildings and public transport, and am interested in the ‘footprints’ and evidence of ourselves that we always manage to leave. Every place and object is a story or an artifact.” Also on view in February is “Trees, Seas and Objects” a major solo exhibition of new paintings by Martha Armstrong. In addition to landscapes, the current exhibition will feature a selection of still-life paintings, subject matter which Armstrong has long-explored but rarely displayed.
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to announce a major solo exhibition of new paintings by gallery artist, Martha Armstrong and Nicole Parker's first solo exhibition in Philadelphia.
Armstrong’s muscular shapes and energetic compositions are hers alone to claim – a style that she’s developed and faithfully preserved over many decades. Her work harkens back to early American Modernists like Marsden Hartley and Arthur Dove and contemporary artists like Lois Dodd and Richard Diebenkorn. One can also see the influence of European movements such as Cubism and Fauvism.
Nicole Parker’s oil paintings depict images that are on the verge of dreaming and wakefulness. The pictures are recognizable yet tend to drift into the uncanny valley – where what one sees looks to be natural and realistic but then morphs into a phantasmagoria of enigmatic imagery. Parker’s worlds contain houses, rooms, and vehicles that allude to a world made for humans, yet there are no people to be found. Rather, these spaces subtly summon the viewer to become the lone inhabitant of each scene.
Morgan is a prolific artist, curator, and educator based in Philadelphia, PA. She is a graduate of the Masters of Fine Arts program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Central Missouri, where she studied painting and anthropology.
Dave Walsh’s monumentally-scaled landscape paintings depict national landmarks, parks and dams. Working from memory, photographs and found imagery, Walsh includes vast, scenic vistas as well as details found in trail maps, advertisements, sidewalks, parking lots, bathrooms and graphic illustrations of the sites. His work conveys more information than one can take in at once, with aerial views of trails, buildings, and bodies of water, that are layered onto frontal depictions of architecture. Each painting is intuitively organized, ignoring landscape traditions of Western art history, such as linear and atmospheric perspective, and the sublime. Walsh replaces historical landscape conventions with his own experiential understanding of these scenes and spaces from a literal, bodily and chronological perspective. These directorial decisions cause the landscapes to flatten, subverting the conventional hierarchy of space and often de-prioritizing the landmarks themselves.
Rebecca will continue to showcase and promote regional, contemporary artists and is committed to the stability and growth of the gallery. She’s excited to support both new and established fine artists of the highest quality and looks forward to connecting with GMG’s longtime base of supportive customers, patrons and art enthusiasts.
“I think I’ve been making the same painting for a long time and it just keeps ending in a different place at a different point,” Rebekah Callaghan told painter Aubrey Levinthal in a 2015 interview in Title Magazine. The conversation focused on Callaghan’s process of working from her immediate surroundings – her home studio and the garden of potted plants that she tends there. Now, four years later, she continues to cultivate and expand upon this familiar material to make layered, luminous botanical paintings that invite sustained looking. Walking from one deft, concise painting to the next in her current exhibition “Brighter Later,” at Gross McCleaf in Philadelphia, the groupings of new works constitute a coherent series exploring variations of light, color, shape, and texture on a single theme.
Scott Noel’s exhibition “The Academy and the Alcázar,” at Gross McCleaf Gallery, is more ambitious than previous shows of his I’ve seen — he’s been given both the front and back galleries — and his paintings have a new lushness.
His compositions of figures are still studied, but they’re more painterly.
Noel’s characteristic filtered natural light makes people and places seem exceptionally still and quiet. I’m reminded of hot, dry air at noon in a city more Mexico City than humid Philadelphia. And that’s still very much intact.
Noel observed paintings by Velásquez at the Prado in Madrid and felt a kinship with the 17th-century Spanish painter, spurring this latest body of work.
Painting from nature is nearly as old as the hills. For years, Alex Katz was the most prominent keeper of its flame, but other devotees have lately come into clearer view — Mr. Katz’s contemporary, the great Lois Dodd, for one. In addition, younger painters like Maureen Gallace and the even younger Daniel Heidkamp and Aliza Nisenbaum have wholeheartedly or partly followed suit. Painting from various forms of life has become a thing — as they say — in the hipper reaches of the contemporary art world.