Constance Culpepper, 3rd Street GalleryConstance Culpeppertea + morocco, oil, pastel, oil pen on canvas, 36″ x 48″

Coming Home, Constance Culpepper, 3rd Street Gallery

Third Street Gallery on Second has moved a second time, across the street into a high ceilinged room with a welcoming entrance. The gallery pairs member artists in random order to exhibit a duo show with the results always interesting, even challenging, the shows spaced about eighteen months apart. The roster is always different and there are a few group shows in between to mix it up.  Constance Culpepper Coming Home and Edwina Brennan Adventures in Color is as harmonious and complementary, as if the artists had collaborated. But it’s a delightful exquisite corpse with similar color palettes but completely different styles of painting. Edwina said to me, “I am the outside.” Meaning her abstract drawings with paint are airy with swaths of clear space. “Constance in on the inside,” Constance Culpepper‘s paintings are a big collection of large paintings of exotic still life set in interiors lush with color. There is a serious amount of brush mileage in the easy going lifestyle portrayed in the paintings. Mark-making and a clear vision of her color palette describes modern life and sensibilities with shapes that rekindle memories of travel, comfort and sensuous happiness.

“My paintings are studies in domesticity and the commonalities of personal experience. I explore the emotional context of interior spaces and the value individuals place on the utilitarian objects that fill them. My large-scale canvases depict furniture, dishes, silverware and fabrics that are my belongings and family heirlooms, yet could have come from anywhere. I use these vibrantly colored objects along with a variety of geometric patterns as substitutes for the real occupants of the setting. By magnifying the composition, I seek to engulf the viewer and draw them into an intimate, personal space.” – Constance Culpepper artist’s statement.

First Friday in September was hot and muggy, Constance Culpepper‘s art a cool counterpart to the late Summer environment. I talked with the artist while visitors to the gallery did the art shuffle around us. I asked Constance about her show with Edwina Brennan?

“With the schedule you rotate through and I like showing with other people. Being with new people every time and seeing how your work works together. Or works against each other. This show? I like it! I’ve always been happy with whoever I show with, I’ve shown with Jacqueline Unanue before, also large paintings but totally in a different color palette and still I think the energy of both worked. And with Edwina I feel there’s a sort of sparseness but yet there’s so much vibrancy and energy that it works. And some of the color palettes go back and forth. So it works that way.”

Edwina’s work represents the outdoors and your work is indoors. So where are you working?

“I have a studio at The Mills in Manyunk. I’m in the second building but I’m moving to the first one, I’m just waiting for the space. I want to move to a bigger space, I need more room. I usually work on two or three paintings at a time and right now working on three, it’s just too crowded. So, I’ve been working just two, I’ll have a bigger space and work bigger.

InLiquid sets up shows around the city and I just showed at River’s Edge Gallery, which is part of the Bridgeton House. It’s beautiful, on the Delaware north of Hew Hope. I had twenty paintings hanging, and they bought one! So one stayed behind. It was great because it’s a really beautiful space. It’s nice to see when you go somewhere else you see a Philadelphia artist.”

‘Philadelphia art’ is the top search term for DoNArTNeWs.

“I think it’s because Philly get’s a lot of press as undervalued and underrated. So?”

Constance Culpepper, 3rd Street Gallery

Constance Culpepperthe hot seatoil, pencil, pastel on canvas, 48″ x 36″. 3rd Street Gallery 45 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 , 215 625 0993, through September 28th.

Read my interview and see the Edwina Brennan Adventures in Color video by John Thornton Films on DoNArTNeWs.

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Written by DoN Brewer except where noted. Photo courtesy of Constance Culpepper.

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