Alex Queral’s solo exhibition “Face | Book – Phonebook Portraits”

November 1 – December 21, 2013

Queral_booksprints_install_lowres

Projects Gallery Philadelphia is pleased to present Alex Queral’s “Face | Book – Phonebook Portraits”.  In his third solo exhibition with the gallery, Alex explores the duality of the recognizable and the anonymous in modern society.  Works being featured include his signature hand-carved telephone books, as well as large-scale digital prints.

Born in Cuba with a migration to Mexico before landing in the U.S., the artist has experienced first hand the sense of invisibility.  Taking, until now, an easily discarded object like a residential telephone book with its lists of thousands of faceless names and numbers, Alex transforms them into three-dimensional portraits of the famous and no-so famous of today’s mass media.  Using the simple tools of an X-ACTO® knife and a little acrylic paint, his talented hands dissect, eviscerate and reconstruct these pages of soft material into incredible art objects.  Utilizing classical carving techniques on an unexpected material, Queral brings forth the individual from the faceless masses. The artist crafts recognizable visages, vaguely familiar but elusively foreign, as well as evoking his own cast of characters from the found sheets of paper.

What happens to these images when you enlarge them five fold, returning them to the cinematic context from which they came?  The graphic details become surprising clear.  The object transcends the material and becomes the focal point of discovery and serendipitous moments appear.  John Wayne’s given name (in the female) appears on his forehead; Clint Eastwood has a listing of funeral homes, perhaps a reference to the many men shot by Dirty Harry; Zimmerman is hidden behind the head of Bob Dylan However, with either media, the distinctly iconic work of Alex Queral cannot be denied.

Mr. Queral received a B.F.A. from the University of Washington, Seattle and a M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.  His works have been exhibited around the world and throughout U.S.; most recently at the Philadelphia International Airport and in Hong Kong.  They are in the collections of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!®, Sasktel Canada, Jerry Speyer and numerous private collections. His images have appeared in numerous books, including Art Made from Books; 500 Paper Objects: New Directions in Paper Art – A Preview; Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Enter If you Dare!; Playing with Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing and Reimaging the Book.  Queral’s work has gained International acclaim through numerous internet bloggers.   His carved telephone books and prints are exclusively represented by Projects Gallery.

 

 

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Craig Cully’s solo exhibition “Ardent Proponents of Iridescence”

September 6 – October 19, 2013

Large Kiss Blue Reflection Orange Ground

Projects Gallery Philadelphia is pleased to present Ardent Proponents of Iridescence, the first solo exhibition by Craig Cully in Philadelphia.  This native Philadelphian is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art who currently lives in Arizona.  He is a professor of painting at the New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

Cully came to Projects Gallery through a series of 2.5” x 2.5” Kiss paintings made during an extended separation from his wife, each painting executed in a day and each subject being devoured at day’s end.  This series has become a staple at numerous art fairs with Projects Gallery on an international stage, frequently purchased by art critics, gallerists and even other artists.  The extraordinary balances of painting skill, pop imagery and immense charm these works possess strikes all that have seen them.  The success of these in miniature scale, which is actually life size, has led to a series of larger scaled Kisses, allowing for intense exploration of the more abstract elements presented by a highly reflective surface in vivid color situation.  These abstracted moments immediately bring to mind the brilliant painting of Frans Hals, the Dutch master of lace and fabric, as well as the spectacular satin surfaces of the great American painter John Singer Sargent.  Yes, he is that good; and his transformation of the subject from the decadent seductive sweet with the equally seductive name to a poetic painting defies logic.

The ancients used art as a symbolic torch to illuminate mysteries in life.  At times the Greeks used life to show mysteries we were not even aware of, as when Aristotle observed that a simple stick had many properties that were not visible at first glance, such as its ability to become a weapon or create heat when burned.  He went even further when he noted that if he put a stick into a pond its reflection appeared to make it bend, so much so that it could deceive an onlooker.  He used this to demonstrate that there were more levels to reality than we ordinarily thought.  With Ardent Proponents of Iridescence, Cully does just that; he opens our eyes to a world of shifting forms and dancing colors, a world freed from the mundane reality of a simple forms to a world of feelings and sensations freed from gravity and function.  In other words, a world also proposed by Aristotle, the world of shapes and forms – abstraction.

Cully has a BFA from Temple’s Tyler School of Art and a MFA from The University of Arizona.  His works are in numerous private and public collections, including the Boise Museum of Art, the Museum of Art at Texas Tech University, the University of Arizona Museum of Art and the Tucson Museum of Art.  The artist created the album cover artwork for the rock band “Divine Fits”, which was recently featured on the Jimmy Fallon Show, the David Letterman Show and the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

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Frank Hyder’s solo exhibition “The Frontier”

April 5 – August 15, 2013

ImageProjects Gallery Philadelphia is pleased to present The Frontier, a solo exhibition by Frank Hyder. Works being featured include mixed media paintings on Mylar and illuminated sculptures.  This show is held in conjunction with Hyder’s installation “Sea Dream“ on display in Terminal C of the Philadelphia Airport.

Hyder has reached into his past and leans into the future with this dynamic series of works. For more than thirty years, innovative use of woodcuts such as “Sea Watcher” in the Philadelphia Museum of Art and shaman prints, again part of the PMA and the Library of Congress collections, have been signature works for this native Philadelphian and now Miami resident. In recent years, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Caracas and the Museum of Catholic Art and History in New York City have provided venues for his large-scale installations, combining sculpture, prints and painting to create narratives about the forest and traditions of the Americas.

The Frontier series began as a site-specific installation painting for the Miami Beach host site of the Select Art Fair during Art Basel Miami 2012. The main element of this installation was a 7 x 20 ft. mixed media work on Mylar that filled the stairway glass walls connecting two floors of the fair. Moving up or down these stairs immersed the viewer into the painting and environment of the forest. The work is peppered with digital prints on tracing paper, supplying sporadic bursts of color throughout. The forest is dominated by black and white contrast, a contrast that continues throughout the works of the show. Developing on the concept, Hyder has made paintings that focus on these prints and how they are fitted into the invented landscapes that surround them. He continues using this black-and-white-versus-color concept in a series of 3-dimensional LED illuminated prints on shaped Plexiglas, which create a small, lighted installation in one room of the gallery. The artist also steps off the wall here with freestanding sculptures from his “Chrysalis Series.”  These sinuous standing forms are abstractly animated by collaged black and white woodcuts and eerie luminous colored light.

This truly international artist has had over 100 solo exhibitions, including nine in New York City and throughout all of the Americas, Europe and Asia.  In the past year he has shown in Atlanta, Hong Kong, London, Miami, Singapore and Toronto.  He is one of the few North Americans to have had solo exhibitions in major museums in Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela.  Other solo museum exhibitions include the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art’s Museum of American Art, the La Salle Museum of Art, the Susquehanna Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum in California.  For the past several years, he has participated in “Giants in the City,” whose heroic inflatables exhibit during Art Basel Miami.

His works are in the collections of art museums in Philadelphia, Grand Rapids, Ontario, Caracas and Maracaibo, Venezuela, as well as the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Library of Congress and in numerable corporate and private collections.  Major awards include a Senior Fulbright Research Grant to Venezuela, U.S. Embassy Cultural Grants, MidAtlantic NEA, two Pennsylvania State Council Grants and an International Art Programming Network Partners Grant.  Public commissions include the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program “Hanging Garden of I-95”, “Honey’s” and “Bell’s Pond” wall murals; Terminal Freezer, Oxnard, CA, ceramic wall mural; and the Museo Jacobo Borges “Bridge of Life” ceramic walkway in Caracas, Venezuela. 

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Vivian Wolovitz’s solo exhibition “Branching”

November 2-December 15, 2012

Image In her second solo exhibition with Projects Gallery, Ms. Wolovitz presents a grouping of recently completed large and small-scale paintings.

The fields and woods of Chester County that surround her home and studio outside of Philadelphia have, for many years, played a central role in the landscape-based abstractions of Vivian Wolovitz.  It continues to be the muse for this current exhibition, “Branching.”  Wolovitz steps into the landscape here with a confrontational composition style, which gives us an intense view of the landscape from a shallow space.  She hovers over the core of thicketed tree trunks as if she has plunged into the densely limbed area as an adventurer searching for a long-hidden civilization.  This branch-filled environ serves as an arena for an exciting new series of works.  Through the tangled space, we have vivid reds, blues and yellows emanating from a distant source.  Is it the time of day we sense or the glow of a far off fire?  The artist leaves us with no answers, only questions.  As one peers into these thickets, eyes bouncing from one arrow-like branch to another, one realizes it is not the time of day we sense but rather the richly felt mood of the painter as she plunges into the space in her quest.  What does she seek in such a shallow and confined search?  It is the desire to confront the human condition.  A condition with no defined threat but clearly threatened.  Not by these hearty trees, but by a force unseen yet perceived.  She is not creating a dire view but rather a forceful optimism.  The passion of the artist to wrestle with these forces and emerge with a powerful visual memento is, in fact, a reassuring gesture.  Like a sentinel who watches the town as we sleep, a sentinel we do not see only sense as we greet the new day, Wolovitz rewards us with the sense that we can be at ease as the artist in the role of seer is in fact doing just that.  These are dramatic and expressive works, vivid in image and rich in content.  She continues to forge ahead on the narrow line between abstraction and image.  Boldly conceived and deeply felt, moving and unforgettable as images, these works prove to be among the artist’s most salient paintings to date.

Ms. Wolovitz received her M.F.A from the Maryland Institute College of Art and was a college professor for 30 years.  She has been a lecturer/visiting artist to Bulgaria and Mexico and received a Pennsylvania Council for the Arts grant for painting.

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Margery Amdur’s solo exhibition “Amass”

September 7-29, 2012

September sees Projects Gallery celebrating its eighth season opener with the second solo show of paintings and assemblages of Margery Amdur.  Ms. Amdur is well known to the Philadelphia art world for her imaginative mixed media constructions.  Using American kitsch as a launch pad for immense and complex contemporary art constructs, her works come alive with innovation, sensitivity and creative verve.  As she enters the world of kitsch, she also touches on traditional women’s art-making techniques and household games, such as paint-by-number kits.  All of this comes together in large-scale works on paper and innovative collages.  Ms. Amdur is neither a pure painter, yet she uses painting strategies; a printmaker, although she employs numerous printmaking processes; a sculptor, yet she frequently works openly on the floor and wall as would a classical sculptor; nor a textile artist, though her works flow filled with textiles and elements essential to the textile artist.  She has, at times, referred to herself as an installation artist, a painter and a sculptor; but in reality these titles all fall far from the mark when describing the unique form that has evolved into the Margery Amdur we see here.  In short, she is a builder of images, often seeming to build them right in front of our eyes.

The artist is fresh from a year and a half of work designing and overseeing the creation of a 4,000 sq.ft. public art piece, “Walking on Sunshine,” permanently installed in SEPTA’s Broad and Spring Garden Street station.  This immense, complex and delightful painting that one walks upon greets the weary or rushing traveler with a smile of color and light at their feet.  Its fluid and vivid shapes and textures brighten this formerly gloomy station with surprising aplomb.

Amdur, the relentless experimenter, enters these forms again in a number of works seen here with a liberating sense of play, surprising for a project that most artists would find exhausting.  Using this sense of childlike wonder, she emerges with a fresh take on her own creation, allowing the viewer an experience equal in uplift to the subway installation but adapted for a completely new space and audience.  Using every skill and technique that years of experimentation have taught her, she brings to Projects an exuberant body of work defiant in its nature but celebratory in its success to animate the walls of the gallery and lift our eyes to a new level of appreciation for this remarkable artist.

Originally from Pittsburgh, Margery Amdur received her B.F.A. from Carnegie-Mellon University and her M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  Margery has had over 60 solo and two-person exhibitions.  Her international exhibitions include Turkey, Hungary, Poland and England.  In addition to her studio practice, she has begun to curate and organize national exhibitions, including To Be Or Not To Be, A Painters Dilemma ‘2009,’ and Seeing Voices, The Authentic Visual Voice ‘2010.’  She is the recipient of more than a dozen awards and grants and has been reviewed in national and international publications, including Sculpture Magazine, Fiber Arts, New American Paintings, New Art Examiner, Art Papers, and the Manifest International Publication (INPA).  This past summer Margery was an artist in residence at Virginia Center for Creative Art, and will be exhibiting a floor installation in Art Prize 2012.

 

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Alejandro Mendoza’s solo exhibition “Location, location, location…”

April 6-28, 2012

Location, location, location… this famous phrase has a lot of meaning in the real estate market.   For Alejandro Mendoza, a refugee of Castro’s Cuba, location has another meaning.  “Location today means everything,” says Mendoza.   And he means it.  Since fleeing Castro’s shores, first to Mexico and then to Miami, he has been forced to deal with this concept of location again and again.  The highly valued freedoms of the free world are relative to location and access.  “ Constantly in our path we have to recalculate our location.  It has meaning for culture, color, race, language, intellect, money, power and, of course, art,” says the optimist Mendoza.  “Everybody dreams of a dream location because location has become a great goal in our life.  It is a socially empty concept and speculative.  It is one of the must radical modern concepts as a sign and symbol in today’s society.”

In this dynamic new body of work, Mendoza creates a non-existent topographic world, a world that alludes to land, trees, houses and geographic references.  It is a fanciful world that is non-specific and undefined on a map yet constantly creating a sense of location.  He poetically reveals, in an elegantly abstract language, the truths and myths of “Location.”  One stands in front of his objects and gets a sense of their location as they define their own borders; and yet, one feels the optimism of this artist searching for a sense of place, still questing a location.  This new work suggests maps and boundaries and tools for determining these concepts.  The truth of any map has always been the desired treasure of its maker.  The oldest map known to man was a map produced in Egypt showing the location of dolomite, a stone needed to carve other stones for the production of tombs and temples.  A meteorologist might present a map of wind currents or cloud patterns; a real estate developer would demonstrate a choice piece of land in relation to a prospective customer base.  What can one expect from a refugee poet/sculptor?  The cherished land of artistic freedom freed from boundaries determined by politics and economics, free from the limitations of the material world yet realized in a marvelous material form.  We journey here with Alejandro to a land not yet known but clearly visible to this artist’s eye.  As the land just over Jordan was referred to as the land of milk and honey, he allows us this moment to peer with him into the artistic mist and dream of a location free from limits, open to all and owned by no man.

Alejandro Mendoza lives and works in Miami and is the genius behind and curator of “Giants in the City,” a large-scale inflatable sculpture project developed for Art Basel Miami in 2009 and subsequently exhibited internationally.  His most recent solo exhibition was at the Coral Gables Museum, Coral Gables, Florida.  Projects Gallery Philadelphia is excited to present this elegant and poignant exhibition on the eve of its solo debut during New York City’s Pulse Art Fair this coming May.

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“Hands On” group exhibition by the Society of American Graphic Artists

February 3-25, 2012

Projects Gallery, in collaboration with the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA), presents Hands On, a group offering of thirteen highly accomplished printmakers that use hand-pulled processes to create their art.  These artists are the current council members of SAGA, a juried, not-for-profit national organization of fine art printmakers based in Manhattan.

Emphasizing such techniques as mezzotint, engraving, etching, lithography and silkscreen, SAGA is a consortium of printmakers who make prints that are rich, vital and relevant.  The Society has a long and distinguished history; its origins stretch back to 1915 when a group of printmakers founded the Brooklyn Society of Etchers. Over the years SAGA has grown to include printmakers from throughout the country and has organized numerous national and international exhibitions.  Early members included:  Henri Matisse, Kathe Kollowitz, John Sloan, Edward Hopper, Pablo Picasso, Mary Cassatt, Joseph Pennell, John Marin, Childe Hassam and John Taylor Arms.  For more information about SAGA, visit its website at sagaprints.org.  Hands On featured artists are:

William Behnken, a life-long resident of New York with an MA and BA from the City College of New York, where he has taught for four decades. He is the recipient of many awards and represented in numerous museum collections.  He is also an elected member of the National Academy of Design, where he taught printmaking from 2001 to 2007.  His work was the subject of a featured essay in the Spring 2007 edition of American Artist’s Drawing Magazine.

Joseph Essig received his BFA from the Philadelphia College of Art and his MFA at the Tyler School of Art.  He has received numerous prestigious awards, and his work appears in many private and museum collections. His prints explore his relationship with the Brooklyn waterfront, and his etchings utilize a la poupee inking and interpretive wiping to create abrupt contrasts and atmospheric effects to create dramatic moments.

Amir Hariri was born in Tehran and immigrated to the U.S. to attend college in the early 1990’s. He has studied printmaking (with specialization in stone lithography) with Michael Pellettieri, and painting with William Scharf at the Art Students League of New York. His work incorporates his studies in anatomy, architecture and mechanics into an organic, “bio-mechanical” unity. Overarching themes also include investigation of architectonic space and anthropomorphic anatomy.

Michael Hew Wing defines himself as a printmaker. To him, it is not only the love of the line, textures, and imagery created by etching techniques but the process that is equally and vitally important, specifically the struggle with the tools and plate to bring forth the image he is trying to achieve.
He received an MA from the Fashion Institute of Technology and a BA from Hamilton College. He has participated in numerous exhibitions in New York City and abroad, including Ireland, Australia and Spain. He was the recent recipient of the Chaim Koppelman Award at SAGA’s 65th Annual Members Show.

London-born artist Marion Lerner-Levine studied painting and printmaking at the Chicago Art Institute. Her images convey a sense of the magic and mystery of objects as if seen through a mirror. Recent woodblock prints and monotypes are concerned with landscape patterns and structures and with intimate city views from across narrow streets.  She has received numerous awards, including an NEA; and her works are in several public collections around the world.

After postgraduate study at the Slade School of Art in London, Tennessee born Barbara Minton received her MFA at Pratt Institute. Inspired by the interaction of nature and architecture in Brooklyn, she continues to work on a series of landscape etchings that draw the viewer into the intimate relationship between past and present. She has taught printmaking and art history at various colleges, and her work has appeared in many exhibitions and competitions.

Masaaki Noda was born at Hiroshima, Japan, in 1949. He graduated from Osaka University of Art 1972 and moved to New York 1977, where he studied with Michael Ponce de Leon and Michael Pellettieri at the Art Students League. He has had over sixty one-person shows throughout the US, as well as in France, Greece, China, Taiwan and Japan. Masaaki’s prints (mainly silkscreens) have been included in four hundred group and international venues around the world.  He serves as graphic director of the Audubon Artist Association in New York City.

Japanese artist, Tomomi Ono, studied traditional Japanese painting.  After living in Spain, she moved to New York in 1993, where she studied lithography at the Art Students League. Ono’s work has been exhibited in the US, East Asia, and Europe. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards; and her work is in prestigious private collections, as well as in major public collections.

London born Merle Perlmutter is known in the printmaking world for soft-ground mezzotint etchings. She is represented in museum collections around the world, has been the recipient of the CAPS grant and of 44 additional printmaking awards and was the 2009 honoree of SAGA.  She has exhibited throughout the world, and her etchings have been featured on television’s Channel 13.

Projects Gallery’s own Florence Putterman was awarded an NEA Grant in 1979 and has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the US and Europe. She received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Pennsylvania State University in 1988 and the Lifetime Achievement Award from SAGA in 2010.  Her works are in numerous museum and corporate collections, and she has received several purchase awards. Florence is listed in Who’s Who of American Art and Who’s Who in America.

Ellen Nathan Singer received a BFA from Columbia University and studied at the Art Students League of New York. Her printmaking includes woodcuts and etchings. Her work is in several notable collections, and reproductions have appeared in several publications. She has exhibited in many solo and group shows.

Oklahoma born Shelley Thorstensen lived in Austria and Germany before settling in Oxford, PA, on the edge of the Amish country.  Recent solo shows include the Painted Bride Art Center, Woodmere Art Museum and Philadelphia’s The Print Center.  She has a BFA from Syracuse University and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, where she teaches drawing and printmaking.
Steven Walker was born in Brooklyn in 1955 and grew up in Long Island. He studied art at Wagner College on Staten Island and New York’s Art Students League.

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