The mission is simple: create.
The mission is simple: create.
In 2004 I began curating exhibits of then undiscovered artists with tremendous career potential, technical knowledge and psychic depth.
Matt Volpe is a full-time painter in South Philadelphia’s Italian Market neighborhood. A ‘round the clock’, prolific-type painter. A painter from head to sole, compelled to be an instrument for his work. The kind of work you’ll see in a thickly bound coffee table book in the next decade. So get close while you can.
Step in and saddle up. It’s Basquiat-meets-comic-book-stares-in-a-swirl-of-urban-drama—topped with a pinch of pathos. Take a sip, then take another. Volpe’s secret recipe will not be replicated.
Breaking apart each ingredient; high impasto layers offer stoke after stroke of sardonic commentary. Drink up. We’re trapped in the gaze, invited into a web of lustfully rich imagery held together by mixed type and pointed text. Each line scrawled and word underscores each individual character, they claw like refugees to the paint surface and toward the crowded borders. This density adds a precise and deliberate tension, holding each piece together. Like a baby swaddled, drunk from a womb-life of primordial dreaming. Or the man in the café, sipping Absinthe late into the night.
you may have permission to view. but you will get no apologies. opinions are welcome at your bequest. but most importantly, this is not about you
or is it?
here, the art object is in fact, the subject. a warm body chills when confronting this tricky, unconscious dynamic. the viewer becomes the viewed, frank and simple. but don’t worry, you're not being judged. its not about that either.
looking closer, the relationship deepens. here we untangle layers of painterly study, pure craft, fine artisanship. the work employs years of influences; basquiat, freud, schiele, klimt, holzer. rich colors, experimental contrasts, bold communiques and, of course, the existential ‘other’. it is direct and confrontational, yet not intimidating. almost tender and intimate, even in its directness. even while images overlap and themes entwine, these paintings do not mince words.
passages are what they may be, a finished conversation; a thought to the self; a string of emotions—the germination of these to which we were not privy. as thoughts round out, the work completes. but what meaning do we assign when it provokes a reaction? who feels? us, the artist, or maybe the work?
despite obvious provocations, each piece is intended to be a contained unit. a kind of existential measure of the world's outside influence against the one within. and so what we encounter could easily be in fact, the ruler of the mind. our unconscious barometer.
welcome to philly. you may know them by their mugshots, or by the omnipresent feeling of eyes staring at you from sign posts, garbage cans or the wall under the bridge you just passed.
so what are they doing inside a gallery?
here, we are family.
lighthearted, fun and bulbous. the characters of bob, nose and toro bounce around the city as your own personal tour guides, appearing when you least expect them, delighted to take you on a journey of the city as you may never have seen it before.
risking their identities, in a first-ever indoor show, the faces are at freejade for some up close and personal viewing.
you might not be surprised to know this is the work of street artists with fine arts training from some of the best schools in the country, but where's the fun in that, when the world can be your canvas?
The work of this exhibit was created using the Print Gocco system. In the 1970's Noboru Hayama, a printer and the Japanese inventor of the "print gocco" system, wished to develop a quick and easy household color printing system. Cleverly combining the basic principles of screen-printing and rubber-stamping, "print gocco" is a clean, easy, and fully self-contained compact system that exposes and prints all in one unit. Using flash bulbs similar to those found in old cameras, an original image is thermally imprinted on a master screen. Next, colorful prints are made by pressing the ink-applied master screen against a sheet of paper placed on a sponge pad.
Since the Gocco printer is basically a screen printer, each print is unique due to various factors such as, ink clogging, registration and so forth. These factors make the process of printing so addictive to us. We are constantly surprised at how the slight imperfections add to the character of the work.
The Design Bureau of Amerika lacks a buzz-word laden mission statement and long winded bios. Put simply, The Bureau is the collective efforts of designers Keith Bowman and Ty Burrowbridge. Originally started by Keith in 2003 The Bureau produces quality design for the masses by the few.
you are invited into to an intimate world where encounters become expressions, process describes meaning and connectedness is everywhere.
welcome to the work of emily erb, painted during her travels to the island nation of madagascar, off the southeastern coast of africa. the images you see here were conjured as she explored and absorbed the local energy.
erb's work became a communication tool, both to the world around and from within. drawing from her fine arts training at temple university's tyler school of art, these deeply personal pieces are the outgrowth of her tapestry of experience. home in philadelphia, erb continues her own work and also is an assistant to odili donald odita. together they are preparing for the odita's exhibition at venice biennale, 2007.
in looking, there's a subtlety--a quietness. at once, her pieces become a vortex for sound and color, atmosphere and motion. but then, before our eyes, it emerges. color, space and sound, all vibrating, rhythmically building and assembling anew, as the artist--not necessarily nature--intended.
it's a world of spatial opposites, where line comes last, finding it's way ominously from the background to the fore, through layers of paint and memory.
erb's surfaces are places where color beguiles and textural layers form the corporeal from canvas. it is as if her subjects--unconscious of our presence--would suddenly turn, to find us all here, looking.
the photographs in this show were taken within a five block radius of the freejade gallery. the work was created by two artists, transplanted to philadelphia, each with deep impressions of the essence of the city's raw, ever-churning, urban landscape.
each of the beautifully composed scenes frame at once, both abstract scenes and profound essence. smaller formats offer personal invitations. intense close up images create an intimate encounter with the thing itself. snapshots of moments in time capture the temporal--and the anatomy of a city.
a physical structure--design fingerprint--is one day a curious, yet familiar fixture and the next, an archeological archive of evolution.
consider the design of a structure against its backdrop as layers of time and space are built, interlocking in one, impermanent moment. while we may marvel at the craftsmanship of the human imprint, what do we make of the direct encounter with the thing itself? the thing can change: it can shrink, wear and decay, and eventually it will change form and return to it's origin in earth.
witness how a living breathing city grows over time, shedding old skin to grow new, adding rings of history to it's deeply rooted, richly woven biography.