“I am interested in the way birds’ patterns mimic their environments, creating the beautiful and extreme designs of their plumage… Throughout my long painting career, I have worked on many series that are usually multiple years-long and evolve to and from the real and the ideal.”
- Barbara Sosson
Throughout her career spanning over 50 years, Barbara Sosson has developed stature in the Philadelphia arts community as a painter, designer, and gregarious personality. In Sensuous Shapes & Mimicry, Sosson struts her stuff with a grouping of new oil paintings that combine two wings of her practice: abstraction and representation.
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to host an extensive, two-gallery exhibition of portrait paintings by Susan Moore (1953 - 2022). Works from three decades of Moore's prolific practice will be on view, highlighting a career of both focus and experimentation. The portrait was Moore's career-long subject. She painted family, friends, students and movie stars. However, her approach changed dramatically over the years from tightly painted representation to expressively manipulated photographic imagery.
Ron Abram, Professor of Studio Art & Queer Studies, and Rochelle Toner, Professor and Dean Emeritus of Tyler School of Art & Architecture, generously shared their memories of Susan Moore and insights on her work with writer Elizabeth Johnson. The full interview can be read here: viewingroom.grossmccleaf.com/susan-moore-remembered
“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.
“Landscape is indeed an inspiring subject to someone who values surprise, change, nuance, and natural processes. Landscapes are intrinsically creative forces. First, they evolve as complex systems from the interactions of geologic, biotic, and climatic forces over time. Then, when experienced as subjective witnesses, landscapes offer a light unique to that moment. The observer sees not just with her eyes but with layers of knowledge, familiarity, emotions, and, most crucially, curiosity.”
On Nature features over thirty new landscape paintings from Gross McCleaf artist, environmentalist, and explorer, Thomas Paquette. Brilliant arrays of color depict lush terrain, hazy mountains, rushing rivers, and panoramic vistas, where subtle and sensitive details in light and atmosphere are perfectly captured.
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to host a solo exhibition with gallery artist, Celia Reisman. This selection of new works features Reisman’s primary subject matter, the architectural landscape of the suburbs and rural scenes. As the exhibition title suggests, Reisman collects her imagery on the side streets and back roads near her seasonal residences in Philadelphia and Vermont.
As a dedicated formalist, Celia Reisman is a life-long student of both the historical and contemporary conventions of painting. Her works can be described as specific places of nameable objects, as well as a rectangle filled with abstracted arrangements of carefully orchestrated colors and shapes. Each aspect of the composition plays a role in directing movement across the scene as Reisman’s intuitive sense of relationships between manmade and natural forms build rich images that unfold full of surprises, humor, and mystery.
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to host the first major retrospective of Philadelphia-native Morris Blackman. SAVE FOR FUTURE USE features two galleries filled with sculptures, paintings, drawings, and more from Blackman’s prolific practice through three distinct periods of formal investigation.
Drawings and a small, painted self-portrait are among the earliest pieces in the exhibit and attest to Blackman’s draftsmanship and artistic training. His softly contoured graphite drawings depict various casts and statues that Blackman studied during his arts training. His self-portrait presents a young man in front of a field of bright yellow paint. His face in shadow, a critical gaze reveals the discerning and determined personality of Blackman as a young artist.
“Much of my practice focuses on the vast wave of images that collectively circulate online. By the nature of ‘showing and sharing’ visual culture, images become orphaned from their intent and authorship, and distinctions between originals and copies are lost.”
In Fresh Kills, Irene Mamiye addresses the unique philosophical implications of social media, technology, and the ubiquity of digital imagery. Mamiye playfully considers Roland Barthes’ philosophy in The Death of the Author by creating original works from freely available, often mass-distributed, visuals. The reanimation of this imagery marks a new stage in the lifecycle of an image, acting as the beautiful and vivacious, post-modern constructions of un-dead authors. This three-fold exhibition features digital collages, CNC-milled Plexiglas sculptures, and video shorts.
Spontaneous bursts of gestural expression meet carefully planned and executed drafting in Val Rossman’s new body of abstract works. Unexpected Interference features two varieties of exploration from Rossman’s multi-faceted painting practice of layered geometric compositions and energetically marked, achromatic configurations. Each variation of Rossman’s approach combines elements of chance and moments of orchestration, both of which are fundamental to her pursuits. Rossman finds her works to be analogous to life’s common challenges, and it is in the tension created by these opposing strategies where Rossman’s work flourishes and meaning is found...
“…the idea that a shape/form can occupy multiple spatial conditions and potential readings keeps me engaged in both making and looking… a Duck/Rabbit thing, rooted in the complexities and pleasure of perception.”
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to present, INFINITION, a solo exhibition of bold and colorful abstractions by Michael Gallagher.
Enigmatic, delightfully playful and bold, Gallagher’s new works at first appear as accomplished abstractions that reference modernist forms. Painted biomorphic shapes swirl around the surface, producing a centrifugal force generated from the center of the painting outward. Texture and varied paint application break the solidity of flat planes of color creating implied space in the composition. The shapes then alternately poke into those spaces and push out, shifting the relationship between what is considered the figure and what is the ground.
“I think everything is in there: events, people I know, stories, architecture, music…I’m a big believer in coincidence, synchronicity, and numerology: it’s all about how things get funneled and filtered into a linear, transcendent expression.”
-Thomas Paul Raggio
Gross McCleaf is pleased to exhibit a new body of hard-edged abstractions by Thomas Paul Raggio in his first solo show with the gallery. This exhibition, titled In the Valley, features Raggio’s signature combination of carefully organized lines and stripes, meticulously painted in acrylic. While non-objective, the painted bars create harmonious color vibrations that ripple across each canvas. Crisscrossing diagonals offer geometry, movement, and balance...
“I have a longing for a certain beauty that’s hard to describe, but it’s usually associated with summer colors. My desire for this summertime feeling seems inexhaustible, and though I’ve been trying for many years, I don’t feel like I am ever really satisfied.”
- Kurt Moyer
For over a decade, Kurt Moyer’s work has combined his love of nature with his reverence for art history. Born in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Moyer spent much of his youth exploring the Barnes Collection in Merion, Pennsylvania. Moyer now resides in rural New York near Rochester where he spends his time plein air painting from the beginning of spring until late fall. These passions converge in Moyer’s new abstract paintings on view at Gross McCleaf...
In “Deaf Republic,” allegoric poems that rail against violence and military oppression, Ilya Kaminsky created a young deaf martyr and a community that protested with sign language.
The collection of poems, published in 2019, is a story that is meaningful not just for the Eastern European country that Kaminsky envisioned, but also for any oppressed place.
The American figurative painter James Stewart, who lives in western Pennsylvania, envisioned “Deaf Republic” taking place in Weimar, Germany, and created a body of paintings to reflect and illustrate the poems...
The Woodmere Art Museum is the last of three Philadelphia institutions — two colleges and the museum — to participate in “Body Language: The Art of Larry Day,” a large retrospective of the painter’s work marking the centenary year of his birth, 2021.
Shows of Day’s paintings and drawings have already ended at Arcadia University and the University of the Arts, and while a gallery show of 20 Day works is still up at the Gross McCleaf Gallery on South 16th Street. It closes Jan. 29.
Day lived virtually his entire life in Philadelphia — painting and also teaching here, first at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, now the University of the Arts, and then at the University of Pennsylvania...
Body Language: The Art of Larry Day celebrates the centenary year of Larry Day (1921–98), a visual maestro and brooding intellectual figure in post-war American art. Curated by British art historian David Bindman, the show is at a trio of Philadelphia sites: at Woodmere Art Museum Silent Conversations is comprised of Day’s figurative work, including an overview of works on paper; Absent Presence at Arcadia University shows architectural landscapes on canvas and paper and a selection of prints; and at University of the Arts Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, Nature Abstracted reveals the artist’s earliest ventures into abstraction. Spanning nearly five decades, the exhibition marks the most comprehensive retrospective to date of Day’s capacious and affective artistic praxis.
Maureen Drdak’s art practice was born out of curiosity, rigorous research, and a love for material and design. Although she has traveled extensively to Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Italy, England, the Caribbean islands, and India, Nepal has been the focal point of her academic research, made possible in part through a Fulbright Fellowship in 2011. Drdak says, “Nepal has been a tremendous source of spiritual sustenance, wonder, enrichment, and connection…In the past fifteen years, the innumerable relationships I’ve developed have been an indescribable blessing.” On view in Burning Worlds, her wall-bound relief works are a combination of painting and the ancient art of repoussé, a unique metalworking technique she studied during her visits to Nepal.
Initially drawn to a photo of the Kali Gandacki river gorge in the Nepali Himalayas, Drdak visited the Kathmandu Valley for the first time in 2005. Upon her arrival, she was immediately and unexpectedly taken with the Newar repoussé that decorated the temples in the area. Dating back to the Bronze Age, the exact roots of the time-intensive repoussé technique is unknown; however, Patan, Nepal has become the contemporary hub of this endangered practice...
“This present body of work is a deeper exploration into ways of seeing and translating the visible world into a variety of mediums. These paintings celebrate the inherent qualities of each medium, be they metalpoint, gouache, or encaustic. I am moved to return again and again to individual works and themes as possibilities continue to emerge and change throughout the painting process.”
Dale Roberts is unflinchingly dedicated to color and texture in his signature encaustic paintings and he consistently brings a lively, experimental approach to the representation of his subject matter. He finds beauty in sources as disparate as a gritty urban landscape, his backyard garden, or a selection of familiar objects - scenes that are common and often overlooked. From flotsam and graffiti to cool, colorful tableaus of his studio workbench, Roberts’ artistic approach fluctuates between representation and abstraction.
In 2019, Ann Lofquist returned to her beloved New England after 12 years in Southern California. She had lived in Maine for 20 years and her atmospheric paintings of fields, farms, and streams were uniquely recognizable. The landscape had changed while she was away, however. “I often revisit my favorite vistas and upon returning to New England, I was struck by how much they had changed during my 12-year absence,” she explains. “For the most part, the changes were (from my point of view) for the worse. Favorite trees had been felled, creeks were now choked by invasive knotweed and old dairy farms had been abandoned and the pastures were overgrown.”
Friends invited her to their central Shenandoah Valley cabin to do some plein air painting. “I fell in love with the landscape,” she says. “It is far more open than that in New England, and the sycamore trees with their luminous, white bark dominate the pastures. I returned several times during the fall and winter of 2020-21. During the winter I do my plein air painting from my car (the panel is balanced on the steering wheel and my palette is to my right on the passenger seat.) In order to paint the streams I loved, I had to find unobstructed views from bridges where I could park without disrupting traffic."
“I love to paint in the presence of a sitter or in the light of a cityscape, but I can’t “capture” the appearance; rather, I move the paint around, simplify, blur, scrape, and rephrase until the beloved seems to appear…. The vocation of art begins in a longing that only the art can address. At first, the longing attaches to something in the world. But, over time, the artist notices something about how picturing itself causes almost anything seen to open as an occasion for wonder and surprise.”
- Scott Noel
In his eleventh solo exhibition at Gross McCleaf, Scott Noel presents an impressive selection of monumental, narrative paintings...
If Ying Li’s paint application suggests a furious restlessness, her work has been, for many years, no less unsettled in terms of geography. Over the years, the artist’s motifs have included landscapes in France, Spain, Ireland, Italy, and Switzerland, and – on this side of the Atlantic – Newfoundland, Maine, the Colorado Rockies, and upstate New York, as well as New York City.
What to do when a pandemic freezes travel world-wide?
Gross McCleaf Gallery and Blue Stoop are pleased to welcome Ilya Kaminsky for a special poetry reading event in conjunction with James Stewart's exhibition: Recent Work - Influenced By Ilya Kaminsky's "Deaf Republic". Following the reading, Philadelphia-based writer Sara Novic will be moderating a discussion with Kaminsky.
This event will run for approximately one hour and is offered both in-person and virtually on Zoom to provide a safe and accessible viewing experience for all. ASL interpretation will be provided along with priority seating upon request. Out of an abundance of caution, in-person attendees are required to present their COVID vaccination card (a copy or digital image will be accepted), and masks are also required for the duration of the event.
We encourage attendees to visit James Stewart's exhibition before or after the reading. Stewart's work is on view in the gallery from September 1 - October 23 with an opening reception from 2 - 4 pm on September 18. Locally owned bookstore The Head & The Hand will be onsite with copies of Kaminsky's & Novic's work for purchase.
“In early March 2020, Haverford College, like educational institutions throughout the country, closed its campus to visitors and moved classes online in order to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the months that followed, Ying Li, the Phlyssa Koshland professor in Fine Arts at Haverford, responded to the crisis with astonishing and prolific creativity. Comprising 47 paintings created in just five months, Blossoms in a Sudden Strangeness reflects a profound aesthetic discipline. Li began each painting through closely observing subjects she discovered in or near her apartment on Haverford’s campus, such as the view from her porch or cherry trees in bloom. Responding to beauty and ephemerality in nature, she abstracts and reworks each composition until her expressive gestures and densely layered surfaces convey the complexity of her observations over time. Reveling in possibility, she adds, spreads, and scrapes away paint, creating relief-like topographies. Amid the ‘sudden strangeness’ of the pandemic, Li was fortunate to safely remain on campus, taking inspiration from flora and fauna that have fascinated her for more than 25 years...
Rocks, Trees, and Gardens: Paintings by Lois Dodd and Ying Li will open this Saturday and Sunday, July 10-11 from 1-5 pm, at Rosy End Post, 18 South Street, Greenport, NY. The exhibition will run for three weekends, through July 24-25.
Lois and Ying long have focused their paintings on the natural world. Close friends, they occasionally have journeyed together to paint side by side. During long careers, each artist has developed a style of painting that is uniquely her own, but their styles could hardly be more different. This show is an opportunity to see the work of two painters who use paint in radically different ways.
“I was here.
You were here.
I am here. You are here.
In her paintings, Kati Gegenheimer uses color, pattern, decoration, and symbolism as ways to express love, ritual, and radical sentimentality. Her sensitivity to touch and brushwork on the canvas as a love letter to being present in a moment; asking us to slow down to see the everyday magic that we often only glance out of the corner of our eye - a shimmer, a twinkle, a cloud passing in the blue sky, a butterfly hovering to look at you. Gegenheimer emphasizes this need to be present in the moment. She writes:
“Time stopped when you entered the room.
You are here for a reason, at this very moment.
Some would say it is luck, others would say it was meant to be.”
Max Mason considers himself a landscape painter — it’s just that many of those landscapes feature immaculately cut grass and bases arranged in a diamond shape 90 feet apart.
The Philadelphia-area artist will display some of his baseball-themed work in the exhibition “Making the Game,” which opens Sunday at the Butler Institute of American Art.
Youngstown, OH, May 18, 2021 – The Butler Institute of American Art at 524 Wick Avenue in Youngstown, Ohio is delighted to announce the opening of an exhibition of baseball paintings just in time for summer. Max Mason: Painting the Game will open Sunday, June 13, 2021 at 12:00pm in the museum’s Giffuni Gallery on the second floor, where the artist will present a gallery talk at 2:00pm. The exhibition will be on view through September 5, 2021. Admission to The Butler and Max Mason’s gallery talk are free.
The paintings of Max Mason are impressive on a variety of levels. He is a masterful draughtsman who can lay down paint in the manner of the old masters. Staying with the magical theme of baseball he presents a virtual clinic on composition and color usage. In a museum filled with exquisite paintings, the works of Max Mason more than hold their own. The Butler is delighted to present this outstanding exhibition of the work of Max Mason.
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to announce two solo exhibitions of new paintings by gallery artists, Rebekah Callaghan and Claire Kincade, and Pet Show, a group exhibition featuring the work of Joan Becker, Su A Chae, Eileen Goodman, Morgan Hobbs, Katie Hubbell, Darla Jackson, Christina Leone, Joseph Lozano, Douglas Martenson, Scott Noel, Bethann Parker, Frank Trefny, and Ted Walsh.
Rebekah Callaghan met the unique challenges of this past year by turning inward, moving away from observation and focusing more on her process and feelings. Callaghan scaled up the plant-based imagery. She played with color and pattern to fit the mood of the painting rather than limiting herself to a faithful adherence to the original source. . .
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to announce two solo exhibitions of new paintings by gallery artists, Natasha Das and Max Mason and a collection of mini exhibitions, featuring the work of Giovanni Casadei, Rhea Cutillo, Ying Li, Scott Noel, Thomas Paquette, Jeffrey Reed and Val Rossman.
Textures created with thread are to Natasha Das what brushstrokes are for other artists: fundamental, visceral, expressive elements. Das’ labor-intensive compositions convey her unique voice by representing an engagement with both abstraction and the weaving tradition of her native India, lending an autobiographical component to her work. . .
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. . .
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.
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.