Chattersphere, Kelly Kozma New Works at Paradigm Gallery + Studio
“Paradigm Gallery + Studio provides an artistic space for both the visual and performing arts, with a focus on dedicated, emerging Philadelphia-based artists. We provide artists with individualized attention, strong promotional support and a transformable gallery space to make their own. We strive to make art accessible to the whole community through free bi-weekly events and support work that welcomes a wide audience.
Paradigm’s current development is supported by: The Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts and the Wells Fargo Fellowship Program.” – Paradigm Gallery + Studio
I first met Sara McCorriston, the curator and mastermind of Paradigm Gallery + Studio at The Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts. She was developing her business plan for the fledgling art gallery on South Street between 20th and 21st Streets, a small storefront, and practically no one knew it was there. The block has since been redeveloped with restaurants and shops, the old gallery is now a Rita’s Water Ice, but Sara and her business partner Jason Chen could not wait for the influx of new residents or the business just wouldn’t make it. So, they moved to 4th Street near Passyunk Ave. near the emerging hip restaurant scene and their art business started to get better. By showing unusual and amazing art by Nosego and Kyle Fisher the gallery became known as one of the best places in town to experience exciting new talent. They also involved the neighborhood by creating Social Practice projects with community based art projects that brought neighbors into the fold with easy projects like painting blocks of wood and displaying them all on the gallery walls.
Now, the gallery has moved up the block closer to South Street to a large refurbished space that used to be a fabric store on Philly’s famous Fabric Row. When the space became available Sara and Jason jumped at the chance to have a larger space to show not only one-person shows but selections from past exhibitors. Thinking it would take all Summer to get the space ready they were pleasantly surprised when their landlord rehabbed the space with smooth white walls, new track lights and a gleaming hardwood floor. All they had to do was move across the street and hang the art. The premier show is called Chattersphere, New Works by Kelly Kozma, an amazing thought provoking exhibition of ethereal mixed media artworks that mashes fiber, painting, printing and collage into trippy masterworks that inspire and enthrall viewers.
“My work is extremely process driven. There are elements based on probability and chance, as well as ones that incorporate exceedingly planned out details. Often I use dice as a way of determining which colors to use, while other times I will draw a thousand tiny bricks by hand. Combining these methods creates an organic rhythm that could not exist if I were making all of the choices solely on my own accord.” – Kelly Kozma artist statement
Chattersphere incorporates a couple of themes that Kozma has been exploring: the White Frame Series and Mixing The B Sides. Kozma eloquently explains the themes on her website.
“The White Frame Series began in 2011 when I first started exploring the idea of using methods of probability and chance in my work. This series consists of hand-embroidered works on paper. They begin with a drawing and evolve into a somewhat three-dimensional, textile based piece. In recent years they have continued to grow more elaborate, and with each piece I create, it feels like I’ve uncovered a new intimate world for the viewer to explore.”
“Mixing The B Sides is a series based on the backsides of other works. After completing the piece, Six More Weeks, I realized there was so much stitching detail on the back, and I was losing it the minute it was framed. In an effort to utilize this imagery, I began having the backsides digitally scanned and printed, which I then draw, paint and embroider back into.”
The effect is no less than magical. While I was in the gallery chatting with Jason I watched visitors explore the art by getting closer and closer, trying to discern what they were seeing. The exuberant abstracts are colorful, mysterious and hallucinatory like nothing I have seen before. Color soaked, textural and strange the works are at once weird and wonderful. I always say, ‘Art should scare the kids.’ But Kelly Kozma’s art has a child-like abstractness that is as confounding as a jigsaw puzzle and as entrancing as staring through a telescope into the cosmos. One patron said she was inspired to start painting again, a sure sign that the art is striking the right chord with her audience.
Currently Paradigm Gallery + Studio is open on Saturdays but the show is up through June 21st and Jason tells me they are planning to add more days of operation. Currently the business partners are hard workers with day jobs but that doesn’t stop them from promoting their artists to their best ability. I think the best thing I like about their gallery is that they let the artists be artists and handle the business and promotion so that the artists can do what they do best. With the bigger space I’m looking forward to the parties and opening events even more.
Closing Reception : Friday, June 20th, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, 746 S 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147, www.paradigmarts.org
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Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.
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