Tiger Strikes Asteroid is 10 years old, with a four-city group show to celebrate
Also in Philadelphia art galleries this month: The city's first solo show by international abstract painter Ruth Ann Fredenthal.
There once was just one place called Tiger Strikes Asteroid, the artist collective founded in Philadelphia in 2009 by the artist Alex Paik. Then Paik moved to New York and started a New York TSA in 2012. Next came a TSA Los Angeles, in 2014, followed by a TSA Chicago in 2016.
All of the TSAs operate as individual entities but maintain the focus of the first TSA, presenting diverse exhibition programs inclusive of both emerging and mid-career artists.
All four are now celebrating the 10th anniversary of the original TSA with “Orbits,” a four-city group show. The catalog, available to local art fanciers for $10 at the Philly Tiger Strikes Asteroid (now in the Crane Building on North American Street, after many years on 11th Street), has profiles of the artists from all four locations.
A committee of Philadelphia TSA members selected Phoebe Grip, Pepón Osorio, Joyce Owens, and HK Zamani for their “Orbits” iteration, and it’s a terrific combination.
Osorio, internationally known, Philadelphia-based, and arguably beyond “mid-career,” is the anchor of the show, with his two freestanding floor sculptures constructed from everyday materials and found objects.
Orbiting around Osorio’s works are Brooklyn artist Grip’s white, skeletal wall sculptures, Philadelphian-turned-Chicagoan Owens’ African-inspired masks, and Los Angeleno Zamani’s dreamy, beautifully colored abstract paintings.
Through June 15 at Tiger Strikes Asteroid, 1400 N. American St., noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment. 484-469-0319 or tigerstrikesasteroid.com.
Sister act at Larry Becker
If Ruth Ann Fredenthal’s last name sounds familiar to Philadelphians, it’s probably because they know of (or personally knew) her late brother, sculptor Robinson “Robin” Fredenthal, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s architecture program whose monumental geometric public sculptures have become icons of the urban landscape.
One such work, White Water, originally situated in a courtyard behind 401 Market St., was recently donated to the Woodmere Art Museum, where it now commands a bluff overlooking Germantown Avenue.
Ruth Ann, a longtime New Yorker and internationally known abstract painter, is now having her first one-person exhibition in Philadelphia, at Larry Becker Contemporary Art, where she was part of a group show in 2013. (Her works are also part of Italian collector Giuseppe Panza di Biomo’s esteemed Panza Collection, alongside the LeWitts, Mardens, Naumans, Rymans, and Serras.)
At first glance, Fredenthal’s paintings appear to be monochromatic, but they’re composed of several colors, all closely related in hues and values. Look long enough, and those subtle color variations reveal themselves as the light in the room changes.
Ask the gallery’s proprietors, Larry Becker and Heidi Nivling, if they’ll dim the lights, and you may be better able to discern interlocking areas of different colors in each work.
The paintings in Fredenthal’s show date from 1975 to 2019. They’re small, and most are square. One outlier, the only painting from 1975, is large and rectangular, and was made before she stopped working on rectangular canvases.
She also stopped using cotton canvas and has painted since the late 1970s on oyster linen, which is smoother than regular linen and which allows her extremely delicate brushwork to be seen in the multiple thin layers of oil paint — a classical Renaissance technique.
Fredenthal has said she wants her paintings to reflect the refrain of Charles Beaudelaire’s poem “L’invitation au voyage”: “There, there is nothing else but grace and measure, richness, quietness, and pleasure.” She has succeeded in every way.
Through June 15 at Larry Becker Contemporary Art, 43 N. Second St., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and by appointment. 215-925-5389 or artnet.com/galleries/larry-becker-contemporary-art.