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GMG Presents: Bruce Pollock: Nature + The Portrait of the Artist... And Other Things

Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to host The Portrait of the Artist… And Other Things, curated by local art consultant and former CEO of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA), Maida R. Milone. This sixteen-artist exhibition features works by Gross McCleaf artists, Christine Lafuente and James Stewart, as well as other artists, many with strong ties to Philadelphia and past group exhibitions with the gallery – Katie Baldwin, Jill Bell, Donald E. Camp, Vincent Desiderio, Marguerita Hagan, Darla Jackson, Robert Jackson, John Karpinski, Alex Kanevsky, Chelsey Luster, Kirk Maynard, Lydia Panas, Hiro Sakaguchi and Ron Tarver.

Curator Maida R. Milone organized the exhibition and selected the artists. She writes, “I spend much of my free time in art museums and art galleries wherever I go. I find looking at art, being literally surrounded by art, the calmest and yet most stimulating experience, and one of the most hopeful, too, that a person can have in this chaotic, often frightening world.

“While I am engaged by many genres of art and not surprisingly drawn strongly to certain artists’ work more than to others, I never fail to be fascinated by artists’ self-portraits, especially when I am glimpsing their other work at the same time. I often find myself stopping dead in my tracks in front of self-portraits, searching relentlessly for what the artists want to tell me about themselves and their times and their work generally. And, too, what they are saying about the nature of art and its role in self-revelation.

“We all spend so much time these days looking at (or consciously avoiding) selfies on social media. Given that contemporary preoccupation, I began to wonder if our doing that could significantly dilute the impact and significance of self-portraits – seen one, seen a million? -- or perhaps having just the opposite effect, make us appreciate even more these articulated acts of self-representation.

“With the explosion of visual self-reflective images, it is the right time, I believe, to consider the long tradition of artistic self-portraits and what that practice looks like in our current culture. How have artists working in a variety of media been impacted, if at all, by this trend to publicize personal imagery? This exhibition is an answer to that question.

“Believing that it is important for viewers to see an artist’s self-portrait in the context of their other work, I asked each artist to pair their self-portrait with another piece. For the artists, making this selection required them to consider how best to create a resonating dialogue with viewers; and for the viewers, the paired works are an invitation to an intimate exploration of these artists’ self-images and their work.”

Given the nature of this project, each artist was invited to describe their self-portraits in their own words. Read more on the exhibition page: CLICK HERE


“I am trying to envision the non-physical or spiritual part of nature. The forces and forms that are the motivation of growth and are hidden from view. A vision of nature that is expanded to embrace micro and macrocosmic points of view.”

-Bruce Pollock

Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition with Philadelphia-based artist Bruce Pollock, whose paintings of forms found in nature add to the ongoing tradition of landscape painting at the gallery. The exhibition, titled Nature, features three distinct areas of Pollock’s practice, namely his Ciphers, Plant and Planet, as well as Fractal Forest series. Each focuses on recurring patterns and perpetual sequences observed in the natural world. These phenomena are of significant mathematical and scientific interest, and also create the structure of Pollock’s painted form. There is an appreciation for the micro and the macro, the near and far, and the ephemeral and the infinite.

Unlike the traditional landscape format, Pollock’s paintings are oriented vertically. Instead of a horizontal vista that favors ground or sky, Pollock’s works are often symmetrically bifurcated by a strong central plant-like form in his Plant And Planet compositions. There is a sense of viewing the plant forms on a Z-axis, or rather over time intervals as opposed to a singular moment in nature being recorded. His saturated colors and bright schemas are at times more symbolic than literal. Reds and yellows seemingly indicate growth and life, while blues can be read as representative of the incremental patterns measuring and giving shape to planes and voids. In leveraging and nurturing these color relationships, Pollock expresses motifs of the metaphysical and the innate.

Conversely, a pattern of evenly handled shapes stretches across the entire pictorial field and beyond in Pollock’s Ciphers series. Conventions of landscape painting, such as emphasis on pastoral detail, are subverted for something more standardized in these works. Varying formulations of structure, such as spirals, rings, and cells, build painted atmospheres through uniformity, drawing attention to the similarities found in objects of nature. Simultaneously, Pollock pays homage to the natural phenomena’s unique complexities through techniques of rescaling and recombining aspects of their fundamental geometric forms. Pollock’s efforts embrace the idiosyncrasies of the micro within a macro perspective, fostering an awareness of both the volatility and order to the world surrounding us.

Pollock seems to seek an underlying code, or anticipate the method for organizing the intricacies of the world. Although Pollock’s practice began before the proliferation of digitally-produced imagery, there is a clear connection to the algorithm-driven, infinitely reproducible online realm. However, instead of the cold mechanical product of microprocessors, Pollock’s work has the warm touch of a human hand searching for meaning within the eternal energies and infinite patterns in everything under the sun. 

Bruce Pollock is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. He has exhibited widely including solo shows at the Shenzhen Art Museum in Shenzen, P.R. China; the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA; and other public and private institutions across the country. His work has been acquired by the The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, the Woodmere Art Museum, Cigna Corporation, Comcast and many others. His work has been featured and reviewed by many magazines, newspapers and art publications. He is the recipient of many grants and awards including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony Fellowship. Bruce Pollock lives and works in Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore.