Stories: The Woodmere Museum’s 79th Annual Juried Exhibition of the Art of Metropolitan Philadelphia

These works selected in February 2020 are one year delayed in exhibition.

 

When these works were submitted,  word had been filtering out of China of the fact of Covid-19 and of panic and devastation. 

But we were not fully aware that the whole world was about to become prey.

 

 

 

Identity and Masks, 2015-2016; oil on transparent glass. 

Chenlin Cai, Chinese born 1984.  Loaned by the artist to the Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia. 

 

The artist, who explains that masks have long been worn in China where there are complicated relationships with masks,  has shown facial muscles and blood vessels on the exterior of these masks.

 

 

 

It is interesting that many of the works submitted in February 2020 deal with isolation, apartness, foreboding, interiority, absence.

 

 

 

 

NYP18 what’s going on out there #2, 2017, oil on canvas. 

John Costanza, American born 1924.  Loaned by the artist to the Woodmere Museum in 2021

 

 

 

 

Secret Place, 2019, oil on birch panel. 

Tracy Everly, American born 1968. Loaned by the artist to Woodmere Museum in 2021.

 

 

 

We cannot know whether this is about the existential condition to which we are all  periodically subject; some populations virtually all the time…

 

or whether this is related to the particular circumstances of the United States in February 2020:   three years of Donald Trump’s sustained assault against democracy resulting in a physical assault on the Congress of the United States in January 2021.

 

 

A related theme in this exhibition is the urge to find safe harbour. 

 

 

 

 

Elsewhere, 2017, steel wire and cotton paper pulp, pigment, rust sealant.

  Hannah Vogel, American born 1986.  Loaned by the artist to Woodmere Museum in 2021. 

 

The work imagines the forest nests of creatures who need to escape ground predators. The nests are, however, empty.  The mind starts wandering into why this may be.

The work speaks to the longing for safety in a dangerous world.

 

 

 

 

Finding a Path 7, 2020, oil on acid-etched tin. 

Kirby Fredendall, American born 1966. Loaned by the artist to the Woodmere Museum in 2020.

 

A lake in the Adirondacks.  A place dearer to the artist than any others and to which she returns to be grounded and reconnected with family.

 

 

 

 

The subject of this juried exhibition was Seeing the Story. 

This is the most vast subject that can have been set: 

 

 

stories being our primary tool for making sense of the world and of marking the passage of time.

 

Here a masterful representation condensed in one image by Abraham Murley

 

of our capacity to merge what we know, what we think we remember, what we have heard, and pure fiction into images which shift from moment to moment as we search for meaning and clarity.

 

 

The End of the World Monday Morning, 2016, acrylic and gouache on linen. 

Abraham Murley, Canadian-American born 1975.  Loaned by a private collection to Woodmere Museum in 2021.

 

 

 

 

And  Louise Vinueza, actually tries to lay out the  shifting steps of our vagabond mind before we reach the momentary freeze of a mental image which is captured by Abraham Murley above: 

 

She says: “I often begin a painting with an attempt to describe something real….I sometimes wish I could be more direct but I don’t know what I am after until it happens.”

 

 

A Passing, 2019, oil on panel. 

Louisa Vinueza, American born 1959.  Loaned by the artist to the Woodmere Museum in 2021

 

 

 

 

Here Barrett Capistran has almost nailed the ‘something real” even if it is in unlikely lumpen form……..’it’ being sentient human beings.

 

 

 

Lump, Fall 2019, ink and gouache on paper.

Barrett Capistran, American born 1996.  Loaned by the artist to the Woodmere Museum in 2021

 

 

 

 

Here a conventional depiction by Eliza Auth of our attachment to stories and of our use of them to evolve even our most intimate relationships. 

 

 

 

Harry Potter’s last chapter, 2019, oil on canvas. 

Eliza Auth. American born 1951. Loaned by the artist to Woodmere Musuem in 2021. 

The artist’s two daughters captured by a story.

 

 

 

 

Here, Charles Emlen has engaged us in an interesting experiment in suggesting that this real object may be something of use. 

But what? To what is it connected? What is it all about?

 

 

 

Gas Phase Orbiter, 2019, welded steel. 

Charles Emlen, American born 1957.  Loaned by a private collection to the Woodmere Museum in 2021

 

 

 

 

And, in an alcove, Stuart Shills has called us aside to an even more elaborate concoction which he admits came out of his subconcious.  He wants to delay us. 

 

He wants us to touch it and look up.  He wants us to wonder what this is about.  Can’t do that without concocting a story.

 

 

Touch and Look Up, 2020,, wood, graphite, mirror, paper and paint. 

Stuart Shils, American born 1954.  Loaned by the artist to Woodmere Museum in 2021

 

 

 

The gods and their superhuman attributes accompany this exhibition because they have fantastic stories to tell.

Their stories are so instructive that they have lasted centuries.

 

 

 

A Cure, 2018, oil on linen. 

Arthur Haywood, American born 1990. Loaned to Woodmere Museum by the artist.

 

  The artist’s vision of ancient Egypt

 

 

 

 

There is modern myth-making also.

 

 

 

Second Line, 2020, scratchboard. Photo from the artist’s website.

 Kate Samworth, American born 1967.  Loaned by a gallery to the Woodmere Museum in 2021.

 

Animals have taken back the world.  The funeral of a boar is in progress with music and singing.

 

 

 

There is a simple blue collar presented in a field of much less strident colour.

 

We ask ourselves is this just about the boldness of a blue collar or is something else going on?  Or has it gone on in the past and the blue collar is just the residue of an old outrage?

 

 

 

Blue Collar, 2018, oil on canvas.

  Betsy Bachelor, American born 1952.  Loaned by the artist to Woodmere Musueum in 2021.

 

 

 

 

If artists have a meaningful role to play in our society, then the stories they choose to present and the manner in which they present them are important.  In dire times, they are critical.

This is the 79th year in which the work of artists in metropolitan Philadelphia has been presented by the Woodmere Museum of Art. 

 

A significant record of the edifice of stories which have constructed the history of a city. 

This history inevitably influences her present and suggests pathways into her future.   A record of the greatest value.

 

 

 

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My Studio, 2001, oil on canvas. 

Ed Bronstein, American born 1944. Loaned by a gallery to Woodmere Museum in 2021.

 

 

 

Kingdom, May 2019, oil on canvas. 

Adelyne Rizzo, American born 1994.  Loaned by a private collection to Woodmere Museum in 2021. 

A conscious return to high romanticism.

 

 

 

 

 

Aftermath, 2010, oil on linen. 

Nancy Bea Miller, American born 1953.  Loaned by the artist to Woodmere Museum in 2021 

What, the artist asks, is the story here?

 

 

 

 

Centennial Avenue Morning, 2019, ink and coloured pencil on paper. 

Janice Merendino, American born 1952.  Loaned by the artist and her gallery to the Woodmere Museum in 2021.

  A portrait of a place allowing the artist to imagine the lives of her parents and grandparents.

 

 

 

 

Embark Discovery, 2018, oil on linen. 

Arthur Haywood, American born 1990. Loaned to Woodmere Museum by the artist.

  The artist’s vision of an ancient Egyptian scene.  Passengers use constellations to navigate the Mediterranean.

 

 

 

 

 

You Can’t Hurry Love, 2020, pastel on paper. 

Teresa Nicolo, American born 1955. Loaned to Woodmere Museum by the artist.

Heart-pain caught in a moment.

 

 

 

 

 

The Deep End, 2019, oil on canvas. 

Peter Quarracino, American born 1954.  Loaned by the artist and his gallery to the Woodmere Museum in 2021

 

 

 

A Constellation of Strange Victories, 2019, foraged robin skeleton, brass insects, leaf, robin egg, tea leaves, soil, monarch chrysalis, Japanese anemone flowers, epoxy resin, shadow box. 

Sadie Francis, American born 1981. Loaned by the artist to Woodmere Museum in 2021. 

The natural process of life, death, and decay.

 

 

 

 

 

Spider in His Peaceable Kingdom, 2019, oil on panel. Corinne Dieterle, American born 1952. 

Fairmount Park is a large natural reserve on both sides of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. The artist explains that Spider played in Fairmount Park when he was a child.  Today he lives in a tent on the west bank of the River.

 

  A Peaceable Kingdom being a reference to one of the most famous North American paintings: of both autumn in south-eastern Pennsylvania and the hoped for polity of William Penn’s Holy Experiment painted more than 60 times by Edward Hicks, 1644-1718.

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Burn: 41 55’35.7″N 74 51’12.0″W, archival pigment print. 

Jeff Brown, American born 1959.  Loaned by the artist to the Woodmere Museum in 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

Subconscious Wandering IV, 2018, watercolour on paper.

  Julia Way, American born 1975.  Loaned by the artist to Woodmere Museum in 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roman’s Pizza (Day) (above), and Roman’s Pizza (Night) (below), 2018, oil on panel. 

Daina Higgins, American born 1979. Loaned by the artist to Woodmere Museum in 2021 

 

This building sits on one of the many streets which were footpaths during the time of the Leni Lenape.  Become a major thoroughfare, its buildings were not historically protected until recently.  The twin of this building was pulled down; its architectural features visible.  It has become a fast-food place. 

This painting preserves part of a history otherwise lost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Portrait.  GO AWAY!, 2018, oil on linen on panel. 

Megan Cox, American born 1978.  Loaned by the artist to Woodmere Museum in 2021

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Suits, 2020, mixed media collage on wood panel.

Mikel Elam, American born 1964.

This is a masterful painting of a way of being widespread in our corporations and institutions: the deadness entailed in the requirement for total obedience to hierarchical values.  

Here, the man on our right is Numero Uno.  The others are henchmen, yes-men, implementors of the word from Numero Uno. 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Boy, 2019, oil on canvas. 

Robert Beck, American born 1950.  Loaned by a gallery to the Woodmere Museum in 2020/21 

The artist says that he is looking for an assessment of this image without relevance to anything around it or anything else.  That is why he painted this creature alone.  

 

 

 

Swim:  Locust Street, 2020; archival pigment print. 

Jeff Brown, American born 1959. Loaned by the artist to Woodmere Museum in 2021. The artist is talking about excessive behaviour and displacement.

 

 

 

 

The Judgment of Paris, 2019, oil on canvas.

Paul duSold, American born 1963. Loaned by the artist to the Woodmere Art Museum in 2021

 

 

 

The Letter A, 2016, oil on linen. 

Alexandra Tyng, American born 1954.  Loaned to Woodmere Museum in 2021 by the artist. 

 

A self-portrait of the artist at the age of 5 when she realized that her parents had lives of their own.  She would need to develop hers, too.

 

 

 

 

 

Standing Still, 2019, oil on canvas. 

Chris Cox, American born 1950.  Loaned by the artist to Woodmere Museum in 2021

This is one of a series of paintings in which the artist depicts otherworldly forms who come, in time, to create a community of peaceful interaction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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