Young Visions, Artists' House Gallery

Young Visions, Recent Graduates of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Other Regional Schools, Artists’ House Gallery

Artists’ House Gallery has been an Old City arts district destination for decades; First Friday visitors pack the house to view artwork by many of Philadelphia’s most accomplished artists every month. I missed January’s First Friday art crawl but visited the gallery on Sunday and had room after room of artwork virtually to myself and time to talk to the gallery curator without distraction. Tony Morinelli, the manager and curator of Artists’ House, made the bold move to dedicate most of the gallery to emerging young artists mostly from PAFA – the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts – and the high level of artworks is amazing.

The galleries are filled with outstanding artworks including paintings, sculpture and furniture that are inspiring, confounding and unconventional. Offering the artists the opportunity to show their work in a commercial gallery is generous and wise since it gives them a chance to have their work seen and for us, the viewers, a chance to see exciting new work by young artists. The Young Visions exhibit is a show that you should not miss, there will be an artist’s meet and greet on Sunday, January 25th, 2:00 – 4:00pm.

Artists in Current Exhibition: Aluise, TheresaDubinski, GeoffGaleas, SantiagoHagopian, KalaMadonna, BrianMcGlynn, MeganNeilson, PatrickVowles, MervynRatterman, IsaiahShaw, SterlingSchukis, EvanThomas, TrevorWard, Jason, and Williams, Ali

Young Visions, Kala Hagopian

Young Visions, Kala Hagopian, oil on canvas

Kala Hagopian is a fine artist and muralist based in Philadelphia PA. Her work explores figures and animals in intricately patterned landscapes. Sometimes the landscape itself is the subject of the painting. In part, her work draws inspiration from the beauty and complexity of nature. Her paintings invite the viewer to step into a world that is familiar yet dream-like. Her subjects often come from personal connections and life experiences.” – Artists’ House Gallery

Turning the gaze from male to female is a delightful and timely concept with Kala Hagopian capturing male beauty and the gaze with astonishing wit and skill. The patterned walls and textured floor, painterly realism and human sensuality captures a modern moment with the male figure staring out from the composition in a sexy, contemporary study that doesn’t feel academic yet is authentically feminist. The male figure man-spreading, requisite tattoo, manly jewelry and free-balling blue jeans captures modern maleness in a most blatant and confrontational study. With the advent of Instagram and Tumblr, men have come to accentuate their beauty, narcissism is the new norm, and the artist captures this moment as if it were a new Thomas GainsboroughThe Blue Boy.

The large painting is skillful and bold and challenges any male artist to step up to the plate and compete on common ground. The expressive hands, the self absorbed gaze, the atmospheric naturalism and nuanced composition describe our modern time in a narrative that is at once historic and contemporary.

Young Visions, Kala Hagopian

Young Visions, Kala Hagopian, Salamanderoil on canvas

Young Visions, Artists' House Gallery

Young Visions, Recent Graduates of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Other Regional SchoolsArtists’ House Gallery

Young Visions, Santiago Galeas

Young Visions, Santiago GaleasOstro, oil on canvas, Artists’ House Gallery

Ostro is a large canvas that anchors the gallery with an exciting combination of alla prima and expressionist painting that is active, loose and filled with movement. The gestural strokes evoke a dream like scene of totems and myths, the figure seems to encompass a world of cultures from East to West. Influences of Sargent and O’Keefe are evident but Galeas has found a style all his own that finds a space somewhere between abstraction and atmospheric naturalism. Bold slashes of color and exquisite detail feels modern and fresh, the figure study and composition creates a sense of history and timelessness.

Young Visions, Santiago Galeas

Young Visions, Santiago GaleasSanctuary II, oil on canvas, Artists’ House Gallery

Young Visions, Megan McGlynn

Young Visions, Megan McGlynn, Neuron Table, Artists’ House Gallery

I am such a geek that I immediately recognized the seemingly abstract shape within the modernist coffee table as a neuron. I mentioned it to Tony right away and he confirmed it was and explained how the artist usually does drawings but found a way to express this most important subject in a new and unique manner. The table seems like an anachronism in a room full of paintings but the piece of furniture relates to the same neural pathways we use to experience art. The abstract shape represents the highest functioning form of humanity, the divine composition explores our ability to see, experience and understand our environment. The table becomes the environment without irony or surrealism, offering a teaching moment that is beautiful, luxurious and intellectual in a manner that is accessible and sensitive.

“I am interested in the architecture of human perception. While artists throughout history have used instinct to share something profound about the human experience, modern neuroscience is revealing the basic physiological occurrences that allow for vision, sensation, emotion and memory.Inherent components of these overlaps in the biological and technological worlds are the systems by which we communicate: mathematics, language, and art. ” – Megan McGlynn

Young Visions, Patrick Neilson

Young Visions, Patrick Neilson, oil on canvas

The self portrait by Patrick Neilson has an historical context that is revealed simply through color and shape. The hat and coat, the beard and gold button seem as contemporary and urban as any young man you may see on Philadelphia streets. But the painting also brings forth memories of war, heroism, determination and duty that is also part of the fabric of the city. The artists decision to focus on a milataristic figure resonates with modern life and it’s connection with the not too distant past. Youth must make decisions to be warriors, their idealistic vision is stark and focussed on winning. The wrong decision means life or death, victory or failure, war or peace. The artist asked that his other paintings be removed from the gallery to lend focus on the historical context and thrilling content of a contemporary figure drawn from the past into the future.

Lorraine Reisenbach, who founded the gallery will receive a special award on Sunday, February 8th. The February show atArtists’ House Gallery will focus on women artists.

Artists’ House Gallery 57 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

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