The artist Julian Hoeber grew up in Philadelphia in a house designed by the Philadelphia architect Frank Furness. “As a kid, I imagined living inside a carved walnut newel post that looked like a miniature gothic tower,” Hoeber wrote a couple years ago in an essay for Art in America. “I remember staring at an expanse of plaster filigree on the ceiling and wondering about what the world could be.”
Hoeber, now 45 and based in Los Angeles, has made his mark in the art world by realizing his daydreams about existing things and their fantastical possibilities. He has had 17 one-person shows since 2002, and his artworks are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Dallas Museum of Art, among others.
University of the Arts’ Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery now has a survey of Hoeber’s eclectic creations on exhibit, through Sept. 13.
His mostly aluminum table, Flying Table Prototype, could be a nod to Eero Saarinen’s classic round table — and to flying saucers.
Architectural Models is a group of foam-core models for houses that tilt sideways. They’re crowded haphazardly on elegant wall-mounted wood shelving, suggesting an eccentric architect’s dreams that never came true.
Brutalist Dollhouse, an architectural model in white Ultracal and epoxy, would seem to be riffing on Louis Kahn, Laurie Simmons, Sol LeWitt, and the marvelous Dalí house in Portlligat, Spain. It’s sitting on a piece of glass supported by a cube-shaped, steel frame, and while you would not expect a cement structure to have such a minimal pedestal, the contrast of heaviness and transparency is magical.
Two meticulously constructed wall sculptures of string pulled taut inside geometric wood frames recall works by the Russian-born Constructivist sculptor Naum Gabo.
Hoeber’s paintings are similarly wide-ranging in their references. His collages on stretched raw linen, fashioned after trendy “vision boards,” are physically appealing — sharp against a background of raw linen — but their combination of knowingness and obfuscation can seem pretentious.
Some other paintings here are actual paintings, and to me, they’re more interesting. The semi-abstract San Gabriel (2015) seems to reference the history of painting in California as well as the San Gabriel Mountains. It’s both a handsome painting and a West Coast mystery.
Through Sept. 13 at Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, University of the Arts, 333 S. Broad St., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon-5 p.m. Saturday. 215-717-6480 or uarts.edu/about/rosenwald-wolf-gallery.
In Rani Road, Saleem Ahmed’s first photographic series about growing up in the Indian city Udaipur, the Philadelphia-based photographer viewed his hometown through the lens of the women in his family. In his new series, Land of Kings, a Print Center exhibition organized by Evan Laudenslager, Ahmed has sought out the male gaze from that same city.
I wouldn’t initially have thought of these images, mostly street scenes, as particularly representative of that masculine viewpoint because few humans of any gender are shown, but they capture empty spaces typically inhabited by men.
Through Aug. 30 at the Print Center, 1614 Latimer St., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday (closed Saturdays in August). 215-735-6090 or printcenter.org.
Adam Lovitz’s recent paintings and sculptures at Tiger Strikes Asteroid are more than they seem, with human-made detritus from all over Philadelphia worked in.
His recyclings are fairly obvious in his sculptures. They’re less so in his wonderfully quirky paintings, which mix faintly recognizable images with words — and with unexpected found materials like schist.