There’s a little bit of everything this spring: new digital prints of Depression-era Kodachrome photos, painfully current Jeffrey Stockbridge photographs of opioid devastation in Kensington, sculptures exploring myths, teetering architectonic assemblages, a show of art books in conjunction with the celebration of Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday, and more.
Painting still reigns, though. Among the season’s must-see exhibitions are Scott Noel’s latest figurative paintings, Sarah Gamble’s cosmic abstractions, and a “reunion” in Old City of works by three artists long associated with a prominent gallery there.
Ebony G. Patterson: If We Must Die … (Feb. 11-April 20, Rowan University Art Gallery). Neo-baroque installations and a video by a Jamaican-born artist whose works address aspects of black youth culture and use beads, glitter, and other materials associated with Carnival celebrations. (856-256-4521, sites.rowan.edu/artgallery)
David Goerk, Barry Goldberg, Steve Riedell: New and Recent Work (Feb. 16-March 23). Paintings by three artists who have shown with this gallery for more than two decades. (215-925-5389, artnet.com/galleries/larry-becker-contemporary-art)
Michelle Marcuse (through Feb. 24, Grizzly Grizzly). New constructions by a South African-born Philadelphia artist that dwell on the impermanence of the built world, fashioned from found materials. (grizzlygrizzly.com)
Scott Noel: The Academy and the Alcázar (through Feb. 28, Gross McCleaf Gallery). Recent paintings, including a view of a friend in Noel’s city garden, views of the city as seen from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art’s Hamilton Building, and group portraits of the artist’s students, models, and friends posed to enact dramas and mythic pageants. (215-665-8138, grossmccleaf.com)
David Hartt & Tim Portlock: Fallow Fate (through March 19, Locks Gallery). Hartt’s photographs of ordinary urban and natural landscapes disrupted by architectural and industrial ruins — paired with Portlock’s dystopian, digitally rendered visions of sites in Philadelphia, Camden, and Las Vegas. (215-629-1000, locksgallery.com)
Branching Out: Changing Approaches to Art in Wood (through March 24, List Gallery, Swarthmore College). A group show of artists working with wood in innovative ways, curated by Center for Art in Wood founder Albert LeCoff and his wife and collaborator, Tina LeCoff. (610-328-7811, swarthmore.edu)
Sarah Gamble: New Paintings (through March 30, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery). Works that evoke the expansiveness of celestial bodies. (215-545-7562, fleisher-ollmangallery.com)
Jeffrey Stockbridge: Kensington Blues (through March 30, Paul Peck Alumni Center, Drexel University). Photographs from the last decade documenting the opioid epidemic in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood. (215-895-2586, drexel.edu)
Jason Lee Starin/Paula Winokur (through March 31, Clay Studio). Starin’s large sculptures inspired by oddities in the natural landscape, plus a memorial tribute to Winokur. (215-925-3453, theclaystudio.org)
Writers Making Books (through April 21, Arcadia Exhibitions, Spruance Gallery). A group exhibition inspired by Walt Whitman’s role in the presentation and production of his many editions of Leaves of Grass. Included are books by local writers Andre Bradley, Randall Couch, Marianne Dages, Ditta Baron Hoeber, and William Pym. (215-572-2131, gallery.arcadia.edu)
FSAs/OWI Collection from the Library of Congress: America Photographed in Color, 1939-1943 (through April 28, Atrium Gallery, Haverford College). New digital prints of early Kodachrome color photographs by photographers who were commissioned by the Farm Security Agency and the Office of War Information to document America as it emerged from the Depression and began preparations for World War II. (610-896-1267, exhibits.haverford.edu)
Soy Cuba/I am Cuba: The Contemporary Landscapes of Roger Toledo (April 6-June 2). Paintings by this Cuban artist explore mobility and stasis in his country. The show was organized by Penn art history students who traveled to Havana to meet him. (215-898-3617, arthurrossgallery.org)
Hannah Wilke: Sculpture in the Landscape (April 25-July 13, Temple Contemporary, Tyler School of Art, Temple University). The admired conceptual artist, a 1962 Tyler graduate, gets a close-up in her photographs of vagina-like objects sculpted from chewing gum. (215-777-9139 or tyler.temple.edu/temple-contemporary)