As gallery owner Tony Seraphin tells it, he was not quite aware of Yvonne Jacquette's stature in the art world when, a year or so ago, he offered the admired New York painter a solo show. (As he subsequently learned, Jacquette's paintings and prints are in the collections of most major U.S. museums, and her New York gallery, DC Moore, has been giving her one-person shows at regular intervals for years.)
That impulsive gesture has culminated in a show that plays to everyone's strengths. Seraphin Gallery has an extremely handsome exhibition that accords perfectly with its taste for colorful, expressionistic painting (and that raises the bar for future shows); Jacquette is revealed as doing some of her most exciting work to date.
Jacquette became widely known in the late 1970s for her paintings of nocturnal views of Manhattan as seen from planes, but most of the paintings in "Yvonne Jacquette: Aerials," which date from 2007 to 2015, are of nighttime Manhattan from the perspective of tall buildings. Only four paintings, from the 2007 series "Maine Night Lights," of views of lights on the ground at night observed from a helicopter over Maine, are "aerial" in the strict sense.
Jacquette's New York City, though obviously contemporary, judging from all the new skyscrapers and high-rises, pulses with syncopated rhythms that recall an earlier Manhattan. In these paintings, the Gershwins, Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings of New York's American Radiator Building and Shelton Hotel, and Piet Mondrian's Broadway Boogie-Woogie come to mind. This is especially true of the paintings from 2013 and earlier, which stay relatively true to the Manhattan skyline and focus on the interplay between shapes of buildings and grids of illuminated windows, as in Late Sun Above Madison Sq. Park II (2012).
More recently, Jacquette's paintings have begun to suggest collages of city views and disrupted rhythms. In her aptly titled Delirious Manhattan (2014), the city's skyline looks tipsy, with abstract geometric elements appearing out of nowhere, superimposed at Jacquette's whim.
Charles Sheeler's exacting precisionism is echoed in Jacquette's 2015 Snowy and Rainy Rooftops (one of the only two paintings of daylight views in her show), but whereas Sheeler would have let you know his vantage point, Jacquette's scene of water towers, fire escapes, and windows is born of multiple perspectives and sites. New Highrise Hotel, Old Chelsea (2014) is a pastiche of water towers and prewar and brand-new architecture into which Jacquette has painted what appear to be enlarged sections of blueprints.
Poetic license aside, you realize the artist has captured the essence of contemporary New York in her latest paintings. The overlappings of old and new architecture and high-rises in progress are very much like collages, especially as seen by an elevated eye.
Seraphin Gallery, 1108 Pine St., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. 215-923-7000 or www.seraphingallery.com.
Through Dec. 6.
Strokes and stripes
Time is running out for excellent exhibitions of two Philadelphia painters working in distinctly different modes.
In the past, Jan Baltzell's paintings have struck me as fleeting moments rendered in paint. The relationship between her colorful brushstrokes on white (Mylar) backgrounds and the paintings of her mother, the late Philadelphia painter Jane Piper, who also favored white backgrounds in her abstract compositions, was clear, but Baltzell's paintings had a malleable quality, as though in flux. Where Piper's abstract riffs were hard-edged, Baltzell's were smooth, smudgy, sinuous. De Kooning seemed more a mentor than Piper.
I've since learned that the landscape painter Gretna Campbell, who was an instructor of Baltzell's at PAFA (where Baltzell now teaches), was an influence on her, and that has made me see her paintings in a different light. I see an underlying structure I didn't discern before. Her show at Schmidt Dean makes a strong impression with a large, roiling abstract painting in the entrance hallway. In the gallery, the paintings seem to float, still lifes in motion. And there's that de Kooning pink.
Anna Bogatin's second solo show with Larry Becker Contemporary Art reveals her as a more confident, mature artist, unafraid to push her paintings to the limit, something any contemporary painter given to painting stripes and repetitive marks would have to do. Bogatin is clearly aware of the parallels between her efforts and those of earlier stripe and mark makers such as Agnes Martin and Edda Renouf, and she carries out each of her paintings with a similar obsessiveness and conviction. But she differentiates herself by her laborious, slightly imperfect paint application on canvas that gives the effect from a distance of a woven fabric, and by her unexpected, often bold, color combinations. Bogatin's Stronger, from 2015, with its eye-popping composition of vertical stripes of all widths and contrasting colors (pale violet, orange, burnt sienna, among others) aligns her more with Gene Davis and Bridget Riley, but is distinctly hers.
Schmidt Dean Gallery, 1719 Chestnut St., 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. 215-569-9433 or www.schmidtdean.com. Through Nov. 28.
Larry Becker Contemporary Art, 43 N. Second St., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 215-925-5389 orwww.artnet.com/lbecker.html. Through Dec. 5.