Arch EnemyEric Richardson, Three Kings, 2013, acrylic on wood, 30″ x 34.5″ at Arch Enemy Arts.

Arch Enemy Arts

Visiting Arch Enemy Arts is like an art gallery from a Philip K. Dick novel. Fine art, alien artifacts and mythological creatures from science fiction, fantasy and magic realism inform the art with codes, memes and metaphors. The spacious gallery is always packed with a crowd of interesting people, the art is mesmerizing and the vibe is high frequency. Located near the river on Arch Street, the gallery represents artists with a similar yet distinct progressive vision of the direction of contemporary art.

Arch Enemy is Philadelphia’s freshest new venue for the new contemporary art scene and is dedicated to exhibiting emerging and established artists focusing on lowbrow, pop surrealism, realism, decorative, figurative, urban, macabre and narrative style art in a wide range of mediums. In keeping with the Old City tradition, new shows open monthly on First Fridays and showcase solo, joint and bi-monthly group exhibitions.” – Arch Enemy

Eric Richardson‘s Three Kings uses shape, symbols and narrative to bring back the mystery and other-worldliness of a God. The painting reminds me of the times of the Urgrund, the Old Gods.

“Before the birth of the current universe, the Old Gods lived in the world of Urgrund where they waged a terrifying war with weapons that tore infinity apart. At some point, created the primordial annihilator known as Mageddon in the language of New Genesis. This weapon was deployed in the reign of the Old Gods where it was sent across the shining bridge to destroy the star-city of Joyous Home. Much of the events of this time was not known by the New Gods that became the successors of the Old Gods. (JLA v1 #36)” – 

Religious art in the old days was created to present a perspective beneficial to the leaders of religions. Three Kings uses it’s own visual language and iconography to narrate the unknowable image of a god that may be a child sleeping and dreaming our multiverse into being. Good art should scare the children. Recognize opulence.

“…a hell of a lot of  leftover childhood imaginings, and inspiration from the (ever popular) low brow art movement, he created what you see here; his canvas. As an artist, Eric wants to encourage the viewer to follow the movement of paint and feel the radiating power that lies underneath vibrant color. A can of spilled paint and globs of erratic color at a prop studio can inspire a new painting. Staring at the splattered floor becomes a theme, and then an image.” – Eric Richardson

Sheri DeBow, Arch Enemy

Sheri DeBow, The Castles of My MindArch Enemy Arts

Sheri DeBow, Arch Enemy

Sheri DeBowThe Castles of My MindArch Enemy Arts

The Castles of My Mind collection by West Coast artist, Sheri DeBow is adorable and scary simultaneously with fairy tale fantasy characters transformed into absolutely divine and delicate sculpture. I hesitate to call them dolls, they have a child-like naivete, not childishness, and are sophisticated in a way that transcends the meme of doll. Like mythological sirens, each sculpture transmits a story from mermaids to monsters, gods to starlets, flower girls and Killer Queens, each with a sophisticated song from a far away shore.

Caitlin McCormack, Arch Enemy

Caitlin McCormack, In Nidium, 2014, cotton string, glue, wood, steel pins, velvet, 20″ x 20″ framed. Arch Enemy Arts

“These works betoken an attempt to construct a personal taxonomy through the collation of symbols embedded in esoteric contexts. Each article imparts an obscure disclosure, which oscillates between sincerity and self-indulgent reticence. Works available for sale – Caitlin McCormack

Using cotton thread and glue, pinned to velvet, Caitlin McCormack mimics that fascinating moment when you’re walking in the woods and you find a skeleton bleached white lying in the moldering leaves. A whole movie plays out in your head as you try to divine what you’re seeing. Is that a cat or a raccoon? A mouse or a bat? Some people collect bones and skulls I’m more of a fossil collector myself, but there is an inherent symbolism about life and death. The skeletons that Caitlin designs communicate her own semiology and takes you to to the back room where the collector, a magnifying glass under a lamp’s glare, is alone with his finds, looking for answers. Every time I see one of her works I am impressed by the science of her art and the memories they stir.

Caitlin McCormack, Arch Enemy

Caitlin McCormack, Ruins II, 2014, cotton string, glue, wood, steel pins, velvet, 10″ x 10″ framed. Arch Enemy Arts, 109 + 111 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 (215) 717-7774. Sunday: 12-6pm, Monday & Tuesday: CLOSED. Wednesday: 12-6pm, Thursday: 12-6pm, Friday: 12-6pm, Saturday: 12-6pm

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Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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