Spring Arts - Galleries: Fiber and other marvelous media

If fiber art still brings your mom's macrame to mind, rather than the awesome textile sculptures of Sheila Hicks or Nick Cave, you've clearly not been getting enough of it. So plan to hang out in some galleries and museums when FiberPhiladelphia 2012, this year's iteration of the biennial international and regional festival, takes over the city in March and April with exhibitions of fiber/textile art planned for more than 40 venues.

Also this spring, painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and installation are everywhere in Philadelphia galleries in equal measure, while group shows, formerly relegated to summer and recessions, have become the main event.

- Edith Newhall, who writes about galleries for The Inquirer

Spring Arts - Galleries:

FiberPhiladelphia 2012 (Multiple venues, March 2 to April 30) For an overview of fiber art as cutting-edge contemporary art and fiber and textiles still firmly (and blissfully) rooted in craft, see "A Sense of Place" at the Philadelphia Art Alliance (Feb. 2 to April 8), Wexler Gallery's "Narrative Thread" (March 2 to April 28), Snyderman-Works Gallery's Eighth International Fiber Biennial (March 2 to April 28), and "Outside/Inside the Box" in the Crane Arts Building's Icebox Project Space (March 2 to April 15). (www.fiberphiladelphia.org)


Mia Rosenthal/Sharka Hyland

(Gallery Joe, March 2 to April 21) Rosenthal is showing new drawings in homage to the Hudson River School in her signature doodle style; Hyland's pencil-drawn reproductions of writings from literary works are similarly carefully wrought. (215-592-7752; www.galleryjoe.com)

Emmet Gowin (Swarthmore College's List Gallery, Feb. 28 to April 1) The photographer known for his images of his own intimate domestic life and of the human impact on the landscape - and who is a visiting artist at Swarthmore College - will have a survey of his family portraits, aerial views of landscapes, and recent images shot in Panama. (610-328-7811 or www.swarthmore.edu/Humanities/art/Gallery)


A Closer Look 8 (Arcadia University Art Gallery, Feb. 28 to April 22) Adelina Vlas, an assistant curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has organized this show of drawings by five artists - Dechemia (Isobel Sollenberger and John Gibbons), Sebastien Leclercq, Josh Shaddock, and Brent Wahl. (215-572-2131 or www.arcadia.edu/gallery).

Willie Cole: Deep Impressions (Rowan University Art Gallery, through March 10) A survey of the artist's drawings, prints, and sculptures that infuse everyday consumer products with an unexpected spirituality, organized by guest curator Patterson Sims. (856-236-4521 or www.rowan.edu/artgallery)

Kelli Connell: Double Life (Gallery 339, May 11 to July 21) The Chicago photographer has been taking photographs of one woman - the same woman - for the last 10 years, but her manipulated tableaux portray two, sharing such everyday activities as laundry, playing pool, and sex. (215-731-1530 or www.gallery339.com)

People's Biennial (Haverford College's Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Jan. 27 to March 2) The debut of a biennial that will present works by artists working outside the mainstream, this first one, organized by Harrell Fletcher and Jens Hoffmann, focuses on artists from Scottsdale, Ariz., Portland, Ore.; Rapid City, S.D.; Winston-Salem, N.C., and Haverford. (610-896-1287 or www.haverford.edu/peoplesbiennial)

Orly Genger (University of the Arts' Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, Jan. 17 to Feb. 29) Sculptures constructed from painted climbing rope that suggest drawings in space and reference minimalism from a feminist point of view. (215-717-6480 or www.uarts.edu/about/rosenwald-wolf-gallery)

Germán Gómez (Bridgette Mayer Gallery, April 3 to 28) Known for his frayed photographic portraits, the Madrid-based artist will have a mini-retrospective of works from series completed in the last decade, including compound portraits from "De padres y de hijos," contorted nude figures, and images of tattooed criminals. (215-413-8893 or www.bridgettemayergallery.com)

You, Me, We, She (Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Feb. 23 to March 31) A number of female artists are responding to community or a collective identity in their practices, and this show features the works of 18 of them, including the groups Art Book Club and Disband. (215-545-7562 or www.fleisher-ollmangallery.com)

Orit Hofshi (Locks Gallery, March 2 to April 13) Expressionistic, large-scale woodcut prints with ink drawing in them, by the PAFA-trained Tel Aviv artist. (215-629-1000 or www.locksgallery.com)

More spring gallery happenings of interest in the region:

Doing Time/Depth of Surface (Moore College of Art & Design, Goldie Paley Gallery, Jan. 27 to March 17) Large-scale monoprints, photographs, video, and sound works by Spanish artists Patricia Gómez and Maria Jesus Gonzalez, commissioned by Philagrafika and created during a six-week residency at Philadelphia's Holmesburg Prison. (215-965-40027 or www.galleries@moore.edu)

Of the Ordinary (Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Feb. 9 to April 15). Photographs appropriated from various sources by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Alyse Emdur, Jason Lazarus, Ofer Wolberger, Ron Jude, and Christian Patterson. (215-232-5678 or www.philaphotoarts.org)

Craig Holden Feinberg (Drexel University's Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, May 14 to June 8). Posters and other artworks by Feinberg, who, as senior art director at Unison in Washington, has developed social awareness campaigns for the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and the World Health Organization. He has also worked for the United Colors of Benetton. (215-895-2548 or http://www.drexel.edu/westphal/resources/venues/LeonardPearlsteinGallery/)

Rebecca Saylor-Sack (Seraphin Gallery, Feb. 24 to March 25). Colorful, gestural abstract paintings that suggest landscapes and natural events. (215-923-7000 or www.seraphingallery.com)

Matt Haffner (Pentimenti Gallery, March 24 to April 28). Haffner's dark narratives, drawn from his memories of growing up in an industrial steel town, and from stories he heard as a child, are brought to life in his recent works on paper and a large installation. (215-625-9990 or www.pentimenti.com)

Jan Baltzell (Schmidt Dean Gallery, April 20 to May 19). Recent lyrical abstract paintings that continue the artist's use of a de Kooning-esque palette of yellow, pale blue, orange, and pink against a white background. (215-569-9433 or www.schmidtdean.com)

"Becoming Something Else" (Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art, Jan. 12 to Feb. 18). Works by Anita Allyn, Micah Danges, Todd Keyser, and Leigh van Duzer, all of whom use photography or actual photographs in their works in unconventional ways (267-519-3884 or www.rebekahtempleton.com)

Emma Wilcox: "Where It Falls" (Print Center, April 13 to July 28). Black-and-white photographs that suggest mysterious narratives to do with crime and violence, all shot within a five-mile radius of Newark, N.J. (215-735-6090 or www.printcenter.org)

   - Edith Newhall