Fleisher Art Memorial 124th Annual Student Exhibition

Philadelphia’s Fleisher Art Memorial is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year!  And it’s also mounting its 124th Annual Student Exhibition.   And what a difference 125 years makes!  Fleisher now offers classes in digital photography, animation, video art, and digital illustration  in addition to the traditional fine arts mediums that  were its forte back in 1898.  The works in the show are a mix of the old mediums and the new.    

Click on the dot next to the above pictures so see the slide show.

There is too much work for me to show it all here. If you are in Philadelphia, stop by and take a look. Many of the high-quality artworks are for sale. The show is free, open to the public, and runs until January 27. Fleisher is located at 719 Catharine St, Philadelphia, PA 19147.

Handmade x El Mercado Cultural

I will be joining the Open Studio Potters selling my handmade pottery and ceramic jewelry at Fleisher Art Memorial’s annual holiday handmade gift show on December 3.

Earrings galore made from ceramic porcelain clay

A selection of porcelain clay pendants paired with different metals and upcycled jewelry parts

Tiny ring bowls and vessels suitable for storing your baubles

Lots of one of kind earthenware mugs decorated with my handmade silk screens and stencils. There’s something for everyone. For more information on this year’s show and a complete list of artists, press here.

Phoebe Murer at POST

I know mixed media artist, cartoonist, painter and printmaker Phoebe Murer from Fleisher Art Memorial where we both serve on the student advisory committee. So I jumped at the chance last month to tour her studio which was on this year’s Philadelphia Open Studio Tour, sponsored by CEVA, the Center for Emerging Visual Artists.

Phoebe’s work can be startling for those expecting portraits, still lifes and studies. Yes, there are some of those because she is a formally-trained artist. But, as a self-described person “on the spectrum,” she has had to navigate the sometimes brutal institutions and bureaucracies that occasionally seem to do their utmost to suck whatever is unique and creative out of us. If you are not on the spectrum, but are even a little bit different, you surely know what I’m talking about.

Phoebe takes these experiences and makes art out of them. She uses conventional art materials and mixes in a healthy amount of wit, humor, truth, love, and perspective. The emotional kind.

A self portrait

More Self Portraits

I learned that when Phoebe was in high school, she made a collage at the end of each year. Later, she made paintings of some of the collages

Phoebe keeps rats as pets, and they are very important in her life. (Before meeting Phoebe’s friends, the only rats I had ever met were in my kitchen late at night, or in the crawl space beneath my old house. ) She has a little rat cemetery behind her house and paints a sleeping beauty portrait of each furry friend after they die. Rats live about six years, so there have been many rats in Phoebe’s life.

A “mask-ini” rendering of an imaginary bikini made from COVID masks. A humorous reaction to the difficulties mask wearing can cause for some on the spectrum

Screen prints

Water scene.

To see more of Phoebe’s work, go to her website here, and her Instagram feed here. Read an article on Phoebe’s work at Fleisher Art Memorial here.

Some words about this year’s POST tours.

I didn’t go to many other art studios this year. Why? Read on. The way POST works is that art studios in certain neighborhoods, like South Philadelphia or West Philadelphia, are open to the public on a given weekend day. In the past, CEVA provided easy access to the addresses of art studios that were participating on a given date. So if I wanted to visit several studios that were participating on, say, October 15 in South Philadelphia, I could find their addresses together on a list and plan my route.

This year, CEVA provided a link to a poorly-designed interactive map which was extremely cumbersome to use on your phone. I was not the only person who had this problem. There were brochures that listed the addresses of which studios were open on a given date by area, but they were scarce to the point of non-existence, (although someone at a South Philly studio cheerfully told us we could pick up copies at CEVA’s office in Rittenhouse Square, a mile and a half away. )

There were booklets that gave the addresses of the studios, but these were listed in alphabetical order by name of the artist and not grouped by date or part of the city. The QR code in the booklet inexplicably took you to the same thing. It should have taken you to a downloadable PDF with the addresses for each studio participating in each neighborhood on a given day. I truly hope CEVA does better next year. POST is a wonderful program.

Diálogo 365: New Rhizomes

Art-based community engagement has always been a cornerstone value of Fleisher Art Memorial. 360 Culture Lab is an example. In this program Fleisher teams with local Venezuelan and Indonesian cultural organizations to mount cultural exhibitions and arts experiences by lending resources, gallery space, and expertise, so these organizations can share their culture and traditions with the larger community.

Diálogo 365: New Rhizomes, a collaboration with Casa de Venezuela, showcases the work of 19 artists who have roots in several Latin American and Caribbean countries. The artists use a variety of mediums to connect the viewer to the places in their lives.

Untitled HenryBermudez
Henry Burmudez Untitled
Untitled HenryBermudez(detail)
Henry Burmudez Untitled
Patricia Patzi Armor Propio
Patricia Patzi Armor Propio
Patricia Cazorla One Walk (detail)
Patricia-c=Cazorla-one-walk-detail
NancySalmeNoMoreNoisySilence
Nancy Salme No More Noisy Silence
Lina Cedeno & Pedro Ospina Untitled(2)
Lina Cedeno & Pedro Ospina-untitled
Kalena Marshall Arroz y no Gandules
Kalena Marshall arroz y no gandules
Idalia Vasquez-Achury 12,980 Masque
Idalia Vasquez Achury 12,980 Masque
Gallery
Doris Nogueira-Rogers Amazon's Genesis (2)
Doris Nogueira-Rogers Amazon’s Genesis
Doris Nogueira-Rogers Amazon's Genesis (1)
Doris Nogueira-Rogers Amazon’s Genesis

Press here for more pictures from the 360 Culture Lab project.

Young Artists at Fleisher Art Memorial

I didn’t have regular art classes when I was a child. I went to a Catholic grade school and art class happened a few times a year. The teacher, usually a nun, would give each child one piece of art paper, a box of eight Perma Pressed crayons, and a postcard with a religious painting on it. A painting like The Last Supper, or The Flight into Egypt. We were instructed to copy the painting onto the art paper with our crayons. That was it. I remember one nun must have been having a particularly bad day because she informed us that she would inspect our work carefully when the class ended. If there was a trace of white anywhere on the paper, it would mean detention for a week for the hapless child artist. We spent most of that class filing our crayons to nubs on the rough art paper terrified of the prospect of detention with this whack job dressed in a habit. To be fair, not all of them were quite so bad. I finally got to take a real art class in the 7th grade with Sister Louise who was a great teacher. I still have the box of pastels from that class.

I’ve always loved children’s art. I’m not sure why. Children’s art displays a simplicity and an honesty that can get suppressed as people grow older. (See above for one example of how this happens). We know now that art is important to a child’s development, and not just a frill. I mean, there was a time when going to school after the second grade was considered a frill, right? Art education, like all education, costs money. You need more than supplies and teachers, you need access in the first place.

Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia offers low cost art classes for children and teens. Every year, Fleisher puts on a Young Artist Exhibition. This year’s exhibit closes on July 29. It’s always better to see the work in person, but in case you can’t, here are some pictures.

Flag Day in Philadelphia

I volunteered for another Color Wheels last weekend and the theme was Flag Day. We parked the Color Wheels van outside the Museum of the American Revolution, and set up tables with art supplies and blank flags to decorate.

Now you might wonder what Flag Day is and why we celebrate it in the United States. Even though we didn’t have an official flag when the Revolutionary War, started, the Continental Congress soon got around to designing one in 1775. Legend has it that Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag, right here in Philadelphia. Some say that this story originated with some tall tales perpetrated by her relatives in the 1870’s. There is a paper trail showing that she was contracted to sew flags for the US government in 1777. More information here. The Betsy Ross house, where Ross purportedly lived when she sewed the flag, is only a few blocks from the Museum of the American Revolution.

Most of the people who dropped by to make flags were from out of town. And interestingly, I didn’t see many kids try to reproduce the American Flag. A couple of flags I recognized were the flag of Suriname, and the flag of Israel.

Do you see a flag in the pictures that you recognize?

To learn more about Fleisher Art Memorial, who sends the Color Wheels van all over Philadelphia, press here.

New Mugs at Fleisher Handmade Art Market

Here are pictures of a few of the mugs I’ll be offering at this years’ Handmade Art Market at Fleisher Art Memorial. If you live in Philadelphia (or are visiting) catch me and the other Open Studio potters.

See more work from the Studio Potters gang on my Instagram account here, here, and here.

Fleisher’s 122nd Annual Faculty Show

Some selected works from Fleisher’s 122nd annual Faculty Show. The works this year range from oils and photography to collage, prints, mosaic, mixed media, sewing and ceramics,

Robert Reinhardt The Circle Game
Kayoko Paw Bowls
Marie Elcin Touch
Inga Kimberly Brown Captivating Ron
Fran Gallun Flight of Fancy
Daisy Diamond Vessel of Sewn Memory
Dianne Koppish-Hricko Cycle
Claire Brill Loss
Carol Stirton-Broad Perceptions (#1 Red Sky)

The show closes on September 24, so you still have time to check it out in person. Fleisher is located at 719 Catharine St, Philadelphia, PA 19147. For more information, press here.

Not Your Mother’s Majolica

Majolica glaze is a white tin or zinc-based glaze that provides a smooth coating on terracotta clay and acts as a perfect foil for underglaze decorations which are painted on top of the Majolica glaze.  The beauty of the Majolica is that it doesn’t move,  so anything you paint on top of it stays put.   For an explanation of the process, press here and here.

Here are some classic examples: tiles from Portugal.

MajolicaTilesPortugal

So I probably should not have been delighted when I took this out of the kiln.

8-out-of-the-kiln

And yet, I was.   To be fair,  I didn’t start off conventionally.  I took a terracotta bud vase, dipped it in a cone 04 dipping glaze called Ice Blue (you can get the recipe in a free booklet on the Ceramic Arts Network site here. ) 

The glaze has chunks in it and it’s supposed to run and collect in crevices.  It can look interesting when you use it on white earthenware (see right) and beyond boring over terracotta (middle). 

We have a bucket of Majolica glaze in the studio and I decided to experiment.  I had to dip the vase three times to get a good coat, letting the glaze dry completely between coats.  You can see the crackling and crazing from the Ice Blue glaze in the right hand picture below that might have looked interesting had it been on the right kind of clay.

7-underglaze-decoration

I let the glaze dry overnight before adding the underglaze decoration.

7-underglaze-decoration

And here’s what I got!  This was fired at cone 06.  I surmise that the Majolica and the underglaze shifted because the Ice Blue glaze beneath it moved.  I am not sure what I expected.  Not everyone will like this, but for me it was a pleasant surprise.