Sunday, March 28

Friday Print Madness at the Crane

Friday night I headed out to Nexus to support my friend, Michelle Wilson's zine release. Go Michelle!She couldn't have asked for a better night for the final culmination of her months-long book bombs collaboration with artist Mary Tasillo, as the entire body of participants from the Southern Graphics Conference being held in Philly this week descended on the Crane. I have never seen that building so packed! They were bussing people in!Nexus has a fantastic exhibit curated by Rebecca Gilbert, full of all my favorite Philly Print people. Above is an installation/Print/Wall drawing by Katie Baldwin. I love how her characters and spaces have jumped off the confines of the page to live on this wall. The figures are actually hovering over a diamond-filled mountain.I'm really glad I went Friday night, as I'd totally missed Marisha Simons' lit-up ladybug tree when I went last week to the opening. I also got to talk with her and found out that the piece is actually interactive. Sensors pick up motion and the lights on the piece react to one's presence. The electronic aspect was all rigged through stitching with conductive thread (Very Exciting!). With the crowds, the piece was just continuously "on", but it's worth a return visit just to play.
I enjoyed Susan Abrams sculptural cicada wing piece made of assembled handmade paper. Susan has been part of Nexus for a while, and she's always had interesting exploration of materials and photographic imagery- sometimes on fabric. This piece has a lovely mark through space that is very graceful. A collaborative printed canvas windmill by Brandon Gardner and company of Alabama held the corner of the gallery. Although the artists weren't Philadelphians, I think I spotted Poe lurking on one side: What I really enjoyed about the Nexus show was the expansive use of print. I think it's great that artists are pushing the boundaries of their mediums- moving a traditionally 2-D medium to break into space, combining with technology, and printing on more than just Rives BFK.
This broad definition of print followed down the hall into the Icebox space in the Medium Resistance show. I loved the black and white origami growth in the center. Components of smaller elements making larger things fascinates me. Joking with another person, we imagined the whole thing could probably fold up flat to fit into a suitcase! (Sorry I missed the artist's name) Eva Wylie's printed, cut, and assembled compositions... She used to do screenprints on gallery walls as installations, and I always lamented that it was a waste of effort- they were too beautiful and intricate to get painted over at the end of a month. So I'm glad to see she's come off the wall.Then the piece de resistance of the Icebox exhibit was getting to see 3 Piper Shephard's!!!!
All 3 had 'carpet' feels compositionally and scale-wise. These 2 were in her more traditional cut canvas. (wonder if now that's she's gotten more well-known if she still cuts by hand or gets them lasercut now....)The real thrill was seeing this centralised carpet of pins with only a cut, patterned border.
Look at how intricate and painstaking! And this had to have all been done on location. It's one thing to slave hours in the studio, but on site for installation!!!
What a night! Tomorrow I'll post about my own opening that happened today. Excuse me now, I'm totally on an art high.

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