Selections from Amsterdam Drawing: Paul van der Eerden, Christine Hiebert, Ronald Noorman" is not Gallery Joe's final show in its present location. A brief show of gallery artists will follow later in the spring - then it's goodbye until the gallery reopens in a new space, when and where as yet to be announced. But this exhibition is the last to demonstrate the gallery's remarkable taste in drawing as well as its knack for putting together works on paper that you otherwise might never have encountered side by side in the same show at the same gallery.
The idea for the show began percolating when the gallery participated in Amsterdam Drawing, an art fair, last September, and saw an opportunity for a Philadelphia show pairing the works of its featured artist, Christine Hiebert, with those of Paul van der Eerden and Ronald Noorman, Netherlands-based artists whose drawings were being displayed by two other participating galleries. (Van der Eerden, represented by Galerie Bernard Jordan, won the fair's coveted EPOS/Press Oeuvre Prize, awarded to artists who have produced a large and significant body of works on paper.)
Hiebert, a Swiss-born artist based in New York whose last solo show here was in 2013, has begun to incorporate color in her super-active line drawings, which lends them an illusion of depth that is less pronounced in her black-and-white work. Squint and you might see architectural and landscape forms in them.
Van der Eerden claims an affinity for the work of Bruce Nauman, Donald Judd, R. Crumb, and William Copley (a.k.a. CPLY). Copley I can see, in the cartoony shapes of the figures that inhabit van der Eerden's small pencil-on-paper drawings, but the simple austerity of his lines and the oddness of his visions made me think of the works of the late Chicago imagist Christina Ramberg.
Looking at Noorman's small, unframed gouache and charcoal drawings, each of which suggests an exercise of free association - and together, an unusual talent for letting his hand and mind meander - I wondered how any potential buyer could pick just one, as his images, though individual, seem to build on each other. They're ostensibly abstract, but it's hard not to see things in them, such as birds on a telephone pole, or a pair of eyeglasses. Then I noticed that the gallery smartly framed one of them and set it slightly apart from his other works, as if to say, "Yes - you can." Yes, you could.
Locks Gallery has come up with two shows that perfectly capture the unpredictable nature of seasons in the era of global warming. On the ground floor, you're lured into a world of gardens, lush color, and painterly abandon. On the second, to a winter wonderland (that is, if you still take a childlike delight in snow after this past winter).
Downstairs, Jane Irish's new paintings stir thoughts of springtime in Italy. Irish, who visited Florence in 2013 at the invitation of the writer and curator Carl Brandon Strehlke to study its Medici palaces, palazzos, and sculpture gardens, is showing the results of that sojourn, a series of gouache-on-Tyvek paintings of baroque interiors and manicured landscapes that show off her painting skills while also being drippier and more energetic than ever. The informality of her paint handling elevates the beauty of these romantic sites.
Irish also is showing two wide-mouth ceramic vases, one from 2008 and the other from 2015, each one painted, respectively, with an early and revised iteration of a poem by Thomas Devaney.
Upstairs, Kate Bright's glittering, snow-laden landscapes conjure the hush of winter.
Bright's previous paintings of snowy forest scenes incorporating real glitter have had clearings and paths in them; these new paintings depict close-up views of brambles and shrubs that, from a distance, bring to mind Diane Burko's headlong photographs of nature (and to a lesser degree, Ray K. Metzker's late, more disorienting ones). Up close, though, they have surprisingly tactile surfaces.