Galleries: Two solo shows of lighter, brighter, meditative works
The airy, mildly geometric works on paper by Nicole Phungrasamee Fein and Alex Paik are well paired in two solo shows at Gallery Joe.
Fein, who is having her third one-person show there, has left her monochromatic palette behind. Now, her tiny, square watercolor paintings of meticulously rendered lines are placed against spectrumlike arrangements of sunset hues like the hazy skies of Los Angeles or Long Island City (and maybe our own Essington). These are profoundly quiet works that suggest a meditative state.
The gallery's vault space is lightened and brightened by Alex Paik's small folded-and-painted-paper constructions. His first solo show here consists of nine works from his continuing series "Prelude and Fugue," all painted (and drawn with color pencil) in whimsical combinations of the cheery colors of flags and children's toys and books. Some are so open and delicate, they seem to hover against the wall, while others suggest a relative sturdiness.
Trained as a classical violinist, Paik takes inspiration from musical structures, but his pieces also bring origami, fairground architecture, and minimalist sculpture to mind.
Gallery Joe, 302 Arch St., 12 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. 215-592-7752 or www.galleryjoe.com.
Through Nov. 10.
Sakaguchi at Seraphin
Hiro Sakaguchi's paintings and sculpture at Seraphin Gallery continue his fantastical reimaginings of places and things, but the places and things seem somewhat less benign than they used to.
The imagery in Sakaguchi's acrylic-and-ink paintings has also become more complex and dense, and occasionally veers into abstraction. Gravitational Pull, the show's largest painting at 72 by 96 inches, suggests a suburban development being sucked up by a cyclone. Carpet Flowering, another large work, resembles a floor covering patterned with flowers, airport terminals, and jets in flight. Sakaguchi's simpler compositions are still in his repertoire, too, such as the sweetly zany Re-Commission of a Battleship - a battleship reinvented as a kind of Noah's ark. His wooden sculptures of spools-as-army-tanks perched on green circles of felt, and a felt-covered table on sawhorses called Battlefield for Spool-tanks, are like elements from his paintings, enlarged and three-dimensional. They could use a whiter, plainer space (i.e., one in which they are not surrounded by paintings), but they demonstrate Sakaguchi's uncanny ability to tap into early memories and transform them according to his whims.
Seraphin Gallery, 1101 Pine St., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. 215-923-7000 or www.seraphingallery.com. Through next Sunday.
One might expect a series of paintings inspired by the cruise-ship industry to parody the people likely to travel on cruise ships - think updated Love Boat on canvas. But Dan Schank's ornately rendered paintings at Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art depict nothing of the sort. They're more like that scene from On the Beach when Gregory Peck realizes half the world has died of radiation poisoning.
Schank's examination of that business - and of the post-'50s hedonism that spawned it - has resulted in an entirely dystopian view of escapism by sea. An empty ghost ship is seen en route to nowhere, tossed in churning, postapocalyptic oceans, decorated with hippie rags. Scary, shabby, '60s swinger-type resorts are devoid of people.
Makes you glad you just went to a gallery.
Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art, 173 W. Girard Ave., 12 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. 267-519-3884 or www.rebekahtempleton.com. Through Saturday.
Railroad, white and blue
The Clay Studio has not one but two excellent shows this month. "Blue & White" features works by six contemporary ceramic artists who play on the tradition of blue-and-white china, which has been around, first with Islamic tin-glazed tile of the ninth century, then 14th-century Chinese porcelain pots, 16th-century Delft pots, and early-19th-century English and American Willowware. Charles Wing Krafft's blue-and-white porcelain versions of a hand grenade and a rifle take the show's theme to its extreme.
"Peter Morgan: All Aboard," an installation of Morgan's charming, hand-built, ceramic train cars on a wooden train track, draws on his memories of real trains and Lionel toy versions of them, but is brought up to the moment (and local) with a pink boxcar emblazoned with the Club Risqué logo.
Clay Studio, 137-139 N. Second St., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. 215-925-3453 or www.theclaystudio.org. Through Oct. 28.