Ideosyncrasy clay from Etta Wiinigrad, Muse Gallery

Ideosyncrasy clay from Etta Winigrad, Switch, ceramic with birdcage, $1500.00 Muse Gallery

First Friday in Old City Philadelphia has become an arts tradition among art lovers congregating to see the latest collections in the many fine galleries. There is so much to see and experience – the street fair vibe, the eclectic art, the interesting characters – all mashed together in the compact arts district. This post is about just four galleries on the West side of Second Street, Muse Gallery, a member run art gallery, 3rd Street Gallery on Second Street, also a member run gallery, Vivant Art Collection, curated by Florcy Morisset and Bluestone Fine Art Gallery, newly opened by the art entrepreneur Pam Regan.

Ideosyncrasy clay from Etta Winigrad, Muse Gallery

Ideosyncrasy clay from Etta Winigrad, Head with Red Bird, $600.00, ceramic, Head with Slit, $600.00, ceramic. Muse Gallery

One of Muse Gallery’s longest contributing members, Etta Winigrad’s kiln-fired creations, smoked with wood fire in her own process, will delight everyone, as will her motto: “It means whatever you think it means.” Show runs April 3 to 28.

Muse Gallery is filled with ethereal ceramic sculptures based on a theme of birds and men. Each piece plays a riff on the theme with ironic, sombre, silly yet poignant pairings of busts and birds. Like psychopomps the tiny birds seem to be escorting newly deceased souls to the afterlife, chirping a message in a language unknown. The sculptures are like memorials to moments in time.

Marjorie Grigonis, 3rd Street Gallery

Marjorie Grigonis, Touch Me, oil on wood panel, $800.00, 3rd Street Gallery on Second 

Marjorie Grigonis, 3rd Street Gallery

Marjorie GrigonisLife Under Water, collage, mixed media, $600.00, 3rd Street Gallery on Second

“My abstract drawings and paintings are the visual record of exploration, criticism, trial and error, and discovery. The process is both determined and spontaneous; it includes critical reworking and accident as I look for something I haven’t seen before.” – Marjorie Grigonis

Adding collage to the mix is a logical next step for the artist. Her visual syntax includes shapes and line that are strong and deliberate. The collage is more playful yet maintains the serious direction the artist is intent on following.

Once I was beset by anxiety but I pushed the fear away by studying the sky, determining when the moon would come out and where the sun would appear in the morning. (Louise Bourgeois)

Tecu'mish Munhake, 3rd Street Gallery

Tecu’mish Munhake3rd Street Gallery on Second

“After a 26 year career in government service, chronic health conditions  progressed to the point of my no longer being able to function in my work and I had to retire on disability.  I found this both very life shattering and  freeing.  I decided to take this as an opportunity to redefine my life by trying my hand at various creative endeavors  that I found interesting.” – Tecu’mish Munhake

Tecu’mish Munhake and DoN are both included in Creative Powers: Selections from Art Ability at the Delaware Art Museum through May 26th. Sunday, April 21st, Dr. Susanna Saunders, the curator of Art Ability will speak at the museum, many of the artists will be there and it’s free. DoN may even say a few words.

June Blumberg, 3rd Street Gallery

June Blumberg3rd Street Gallery on Second

June Blumberg, 3rd Street Gallery

June Blumberg, I Am Innocent, mixed media, 3rd Street Gallery on Second

DoN is familiar with June Blumberg‘s award-winning artwork with Da Vinci Art Alliance, her stirring images can be funny and quirky or dark and deep but always carry a strong narrative. There is a sense of naivete´with the crude brushstrokes and craft scraps but the result is always unusual and abstractly anthropomorphic.

“My paintings are explorations of my feelings and fantasies.  I paint animals and people because they make me incredibly happy.  I project my fantasies and inner pain onto them and pretend they are sharing my feelings.” – June Blumberg artist statement.

Sweet Dreams, Adams, Vivant Art Collection

Rainbow Face II, Lucscene, Vivant Art Collection

Rainbow Faces II, Lucscene, Vivant Art Collection

Sweet Dreams, AdamsVivant Art Collection

Adams is an artist from Haiti, the brilliant tropical colors and sensuous surreal landscape with figure is like a vision from a dream laying in the sun on the beach. The waking dream is filled with metaphors and memories of a happy life. The collection at Vivant reflects the vision of it’s curator, Florcy Morriset, who sees the connections between artists’ work and demonstrates how to collect art based on theme, style and decorative aesthetics. Lucscene‘s paintings echo the style of Adams creating a wonderful visual dialog of signs and significations.

Read DoN‘s review of Little Rock NineCharly PalmerVivant Art Collection on DoNArTNeWs.

Jazzed, Col Mitchell, Bluestone Fine Art Gallery

Jazzed, Col Mitchell, mixed media, 16″ x 12″, $320.00, Bluestone Fine Art Gallery

DoN is jazzed that Pam Regan has opened Bluestone Fine Art Gallery right in the thick of the galleries along Second Street. The collection will benefit from increased visibility and foot traffic, the space on North 3rd Street is exquisite but a bit remote from the core of the Old City art scene. Col Mitchell‘s cool mixed media piece, Jazzed, is in the lower gallery, a wonderfully intimate space filled with art, it’s quizzical and intriguing image peeking out from the subterranean art space. The kind of space you want to discover when you’re on an art crawl to discover new images and ideas.

Read DoN‘s review of the Attic Graffix show on which paired young artists with professional artists on art projects. – DoNArTNeWs

MASHUP, Jackson & Hipple, Bluestone Fine Art Gallery

MASHUP, Jackson & HippleBluestone Fine Art Gallery

MASHUP is the culmination of a sketch my one of Attic Graffix young artist’s with a professional from Bluestone Fine Art Gallery. Genius, right? The kids get a chance to see how artists work and the artists get fresh energy and ideas from the kids.

Writing this blog is so much fun, it’s like curating my own little art show. But visiting the real thing, meeting the artists and learning about their process and ideas is the main attraction to a night of art and culture. The next First Friday is May 3rd.

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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Tecu'Mish April 18, 2013 at 10:02 am

Many thanks Don for the mention and the great pics of fabuluous art. Hope to see you Sunday!

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