Monday, May 19, 2014

Shows to Hit (and Miss)

D. Read Lockhart, PAFA Annual Student Exhibition
 I had a lovely day of show hopping in Philly last week.  Unfortunately it started off a little rough.  

We began at PAFA's Annual Student Exhibition which I make a point of seeing each year, but not usually at the crazy opening.  It is such a crowded show, seeing it when no one else is around is the only way I can even mildly process it.  I have to say my overwhelming feeling was: it was exceptionally weak this year.  My take away from the MFA floor is the painting above.  It is the only thing that I loved.  But no one 'wall' held my interest or felt like a complete thought/investigation.  Maybe if there was less work everywhere or students had curated themselves better I would have seen more to latch on to.  But as it stood, it felt like a lot of posturing towards contemporary looking things but no underlying motivations.  I felt this last year too.

The undergraduate show was a little stronger, a few interesting walls but still in need of development.  I was impressed with the amount of commitment of hours from some students especially after having worked with undergraduates all year.

left: Maguire, right: Lovitz 
Next we jumped over to Space1026 where Adam Lovitz and Patrick Maguire have put together a really cohesive two-person show. (full disclosure: Adam is a friend and was one of the gallery goers I was with.  But, I only hang out with painters whose work is awesome;)  So this review is truthful)

Patrick Maguire

Adam Lovitz

far wall: Maguire, close: Lovitz

This wall was built by the pair and has installation sculpture built in.  You'll have to go to see it!

Patrick Maguire

Of course it is much easier for two people to make a space feel cohesive.  The sheer number of students at the ASE creates a cacophony of voices.  But, Lovitz and Maguire are working with a similar aesthetic as many in the ASE were attempting and curated in a way that made it feel meaningful.  The work looks the way it does as a result of a sustained investigation into surface, paint, color.  Not through jumping from one 'look' to the next.  

Everything was essential and that made viewers want to examine and try to garner content.  The work feels both microcosmic and larger than life, as if looking at earth from the moon.  The scale is not human, however it feels rooted in being a person but simultaneously, otherworldly.

Jun Kaneko

Pat Steir
The day ended at Locks and a look at the two new shows: Jun Kaneko and Pat Steir.  I really loved Kaneko's ceramic work, especially the slabs that were mounted to the wall and painted on (as seen above).  They were between sculpture, ceramic and painting in medium and felt both gesturing to serious modernist thought but also playful in a fresh, right now kind of way.

The Steir show had some interesting moments of color relationships in paint.  I thought the best pieces were the more limited/less primary relationships.  Worth a look.


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