Galleries: 'Outside of Time,' beautifully and mysteriously


Since their spring appearance at Arcadia University - in which they showed huge poured-plaster reliefs, one gradually revealing the contours of Marilyn Monroe reading James Joyce and the other of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool - the artist duo Dechemia (John Gibbons and Isobel Sollenberger) has been exploring the concept of the end of time, not as the end of the world but as a metaphor for change. They've also been revisiting their earlier images, among them doorways, sacred geometry, and mirror reflections, as evidenced in their current show, "Outside of Time," at Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art.

The show's star and largest work, Milky Way, is a multipanel poured-plaster relief that measures 12 by 6 feet. It is probably modeled on the galaxy but appears to be entirely abstract. Mirror Solve, of poured plaster pigmented with ink, which gives the plaster a hue that seems to morph from pewter to indigo before your eyes, is another particularly beautiful and mysterious piece.

Dechemia's transformations of materials are often as mesmerizing as the image (or lack of imagery) they present, as is the case with two small reliefs that would seem to be pieces of rice paper cut into grids and painted with ink-pigmented plaster. Tufts of paper left exposed show how delicate a support rice paper could be in other artists' hands.

Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art, 173 W. Girard Ave., noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. 267-519-3884 or Through Dec. 22.

Two at Pentimenti

Jackie Tileston's latest paintings at Pentimenti Gallery show her working very much in the same vein as in her last show here, creating seamless universes from such diverse sources as Chinese landscape painting, physics, and digital imaging. But her brushwork seems increasingly fluid and her palette increasingly vivid, and areas of her paintings suggest a process of melting. (Wonder what inspired that?)

Not that Artforum magazine ever needed help with its design, but Francesca Pastine, a San Francisco artist who is having her first solo exhibition here, has made it even more visually absorbing by cutting shapes into issues of the famously thick and square glossy with an X-acto blade - an act she considers a kind of unsolicited collaboration with the magazine and the cover artists (Bridget Riley, Kara Walker, Glenn Ligon, and others). Pastine cuts at an angle, leaving the edges of pages, and any number of fleeting art-world trends, temptingly exposed.

Pentimenti Gallery, 145 N. 2d St., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. or 215-625-9990. Through Dec. 15.

Teachers' pets

Artists' House Gallery, a stalwart of representational art and Old City but generally not given to ambitious solo or theme shows, clearly decided it was time to raise its profile. And what better way than to ask several well-known professors at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to pick a few of their favorite former students?

The resulting group show, which honors PAFA, features the works of nine faculty members, each one's efforts shown alongside those of the alum of his or her choice.

No surprise that figurative sculptor Kate Brockman would choose Julia Stratton, Shane Stratton, and Stephen Layne, all figurative sculptors, or that figurative painter Scott Noel would select three painters whose works are very much in the same style as his.

What is surprising are the picks that seem to have nothing in common with the chooser, as in figurative painter Al Gury's selections of Joseph Lozano, David Campbell Wilson, and Reza Ghanad. Ghanad's painting The Madness of Don Quixote, of shifting planes of high-key colors interspersed with two portraits, seems especially at odds with Gury's quiet painting of two nudes, At Home.

Elizabeth Osborne's choices make the most interesting use of the show's theme. By presenting four artists - Joan Becker, Michael Bartmann, Ruslan Khais, and Anne Seidman - who work in modes distinctly different from her own but whose paintings share a similar palette or transparency of medium, Osborne has put the focus entirely on her choices, making her own distinctively Osborne-esque painting, Red Wave, a kind of reference point.

Artists' House Gallery, 57 N. 2d St., noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. 215-923-8440 or Through Dec. 2.