Jeff Stroud, High Wire Gallery

Jeff Stroud, Highwire Gallery

 Local Art, Open Call, Highwire Gallery

February First Friday on Frankfort Avenue offered an inviting and imaginative exhibit of art by Philadelphia local artists. Each year Highwire Gallery has an Open Call for art offering, artist a great opportunity to show their work in an established, artist run gallery. The back room of the long, deep gallery featured photography by several Photographic Society of Philadelphia Members – Jeff Stroud, Rob Lybeck, Ray Cavicchio and David Swift.

Jeff Stroud is showing a group of photographs that contrasts highly focussed sinuous subjects like vines and spoons against soft focussed backgrounds, light on his subjects creates a luminous quality that is quite magical.

Jeff Stroud, Ray Cavicchio, High Wire Gallery

Jeff Stroud, Ray Cavicchio, Highwire Gallery

Jeff Stroud‘s work is paired with Ray Cavicchios hard lit landscape photograph with the view staring into the setting sun. The effect Ray Cavicchio captures is alien and other worldly as the drift wood reaches for the sun like an extra terrestrial being. The contrast between the two artists describes how landscape photographs can be as different and unique as each photographer.

Ray Cavicchio, High Wire Gallery

Ray Cavicchio, Highwire Gallery

Ray Cavicchio is the curator of Clique Photography Gallery and Studio, 101 W. Merchant Street, Audubon N.J. 08106. Phone (856)-323-8499. The prints are by Valerie Bruder Photography. The top photo won Best in Show for photography at Highwire Gallery; Ray explained he used Photoshop to add the lighting effect to the Flat Iron Building creating a unique vision of an iconic architectural landmark.

David Swift, High Wire Gallery

David Swift Photography, Highwire Gallery

David Swift presented a pair of lovely black and white female nudes, shot in the studio, the lighting on the radiant skin creates a glow of sensuality, a welcome jolt of beauty and sultriness often absent in art galleries. David Swift also has a solo exhibit of his photographic artwork at Cups and Chairs Tea Room, in Queens Village.

Rob Lybeck, High Wire Gallery

Rob Lybeck, High Wire Gallery

Rob Lybeck took a field trip to Seaside Heights, NJ after Hurricane Sandy, the first day people were permitted to return to the beach to check their home. He and a group of photographers captured some incredible images from the trip but this picture of the roller coaster out in the water, cradling the setting sun, is saturated with metaphysical meaning about what modern life is like and will be like forever on.

Can You Hear Me Now? Henry Gepfer, High Wire Gallery

Can You Hear Me Now? Henry Gepfer, High Wire Gallery

Can You Hear Me Now? print, wood and twine, Henry Gepner is a winner of The Print Center’s 87th Annual International Competition, juror Irene Hofman, Site Santa Fe. This piece will be featured in an on-line exhibition.

Dan Rhodes, High Wire Gallery

Dan Rhodes, High Wire Gallery

The February exhibit at Highwire Gallery is an open call show featuring the work of local artists. Come see the paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, and fiber art produced by over 35 of Philadelphia’s finest! Come see who won the Best of Show Award, and will receive a month-long exhibit in the gallery’s annex space! – Highwire Gallery website.

Laura Cantu Hertzler, The Apartment, oil on panel,High Wire Gallery

Laura Cantu Hertzler, High Wire Gallery

DoN talked with Highwire Gallery member artist, Ted Mosher about the Local Art show.

“It’s Highwire Gallery‘s Annual Open Call Exhibition, which features primarily Philadelphia artists who have submitted work to the gallery on an open call basis. And the gallery has been doing this ever since we came to Frankford Avenue about six years ago.” said Ted Mosher.

Constance Culpepper, High Wire Gallery

Constance Culpepper, oil and pencil on canvas, High Wire Gallery

Ted Mosher explained, “This is a cooperative gallery, one of Philadelphia’s oldest living cooperative galleries. Highwire Gallery was started in the early 1990s, for many years we were on 2nd Street in The Clay Studio building and then for four or five years we were on Cherry Street at the Gilbert Building which was demolished to make room for the Philadelphia Convention Center. And so we jumped out of the way of the wrecking ball, when the building went down there, we came up to Frankford Avenue.”

Paula Cahill, oil and graphite on canvas,High Wire Gallery

Paula Cahill, High Wire Gallery

What’s your feelings about that transformation of the Frankford Arts District?

“It’s great! We’ve been here since near the beginning, it’s been a really nice thing to see. One of the things about the Open Call exhibition is that it features local artists. And ever since we’ve moved here, it has been a real source of engagement for the gallery with our neighbors. And so we have locals submitting their artwork. We really, really like that. It’s so great. We’ve been doing this for six years.” said Ted Mosher.

Ties That Can't Be Broken, Angela McQuillan, High Wire Gallery

Ties That Can’t Be Broken, mixed media on canvas, Angela McQuillan, High Wire Gallery

 “I’m a member of Highwire Gallery and we’re always interested to see the work of local artists. We’re always looking for new members who might fit in to the gallery. I mean, we are member run and so we depend on the energy and the balance of our member artists. We always want to find new people and new energy to bring into the gallery, that’s our reason for being. W’ve done that for twenty years now.

DoN commented that a gallery lasting more than five years is kind of amazing.

Ted Mosher, “And make the rent.”

Josephine G. Viviani, High Wire Gallery

Josephine G. Viviani,  High Wire Gallery

Josephine G. Viviani, (top two paintings) acrylic on canvas anb Michael MoffaComposition #26, Concentric Circles Series, Highwire Gallery 

DoN asked for tips on how to enter a show like Open Call, Local Art?

“Bring your work and a check. The meaning of open call is that you get in. As opposed to a juried art exhibition, it’s a different matter, and in that case, I think every artist after a certain point has the experience of submitting artwork for a juried exhibition. And either getting in or not. This is a good way to jump into it, make contacts. We did, I think for the first time this year, internally juried the work submitted for Best in Show. We don’t usually do that but I think this year, particularly given, the quality of artwork that was submitted here, we felt that it was really appropriate. It’s killer. Just stellar artwork.”, Ted Mosher.

DoN gushed over the fabulous Constance Culpepper paintings, Local Art at Highwire Gallery is truly stellar, like a galaxy of art stars on a Winter’s night.

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Lybeck February 13, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Thank you, DoN Brewer!

Greg Lightcatcher February 21, 2013 at 11:41 pm

The Highwire Gallery looks like the place I want to plan to visit; a wide diversity of work and inspiration. Some succeed and some don’t; some are intriguing and some startling, some trashy or boring and some elegant. Gotta get there!
An aside: The other day I was hungry and went to my favorite fast food place. There is a comfort for those of us who find the world too speedy to sit back and enjoy a known recipe. After eating and falling into a reverie, things seemed slowed into a wonderful smoothness. The counterpersons and servers moved fluidly and cooperatively. Were they dancers? The burgers, those 50 something, 8 billionth , just kept coming. But from where/ And what was it that continued to draw person after person to this MacDonalds as if it were a shrine, a little solace. I know it’s just lunch (and fatty at that) but I liked it. Will contemporary art last so long or is fast food addicting. Hmmmm.

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