In Philly galleries now: Jane Irish, Anthony Campuzano, more must-see art
Jenny Cox's first solo exhibition and a politically charged show at Marginal Utility are also standouts.
Without question, Jane Irish's Antipodes, a remarkable floor-to-ceiling installation of paintings at Lemon Hill mansion, deserves every bit of the attention it has attracted. That whole-house art takeover is a true tour de force for this Philadelphia-based painter and ceramicist. But it should not overshadow her current show at Locks Gallery, which contains some of the most sumptuous paintings Irish has ever made.
The 15 paintings in the Architectures of Resistance show — on paper, Tyvek, and large-scale canvases — all focus on interiors of houses in various parts of the world. Some are imposing, as in Palazzo Francavilla (2016) from Palermo, Sicily; some are grand but a little more lived-in-looking, as in Untitled, New Orleans (2016).
Irish has always been generous with color, and never more so than with these paintings. There's an electric jolt of orange on a ceiling in the house in Plantation (2017), and that same color predominates in Villa Sant'Isidoro De Cordova (2016). Dramatic violet appears several times, as well.
A subtle theme of resistance is an undercurrent in these paintings. It's overt in Plantation, which depicts a veranda in an unidentified, partially imagined house. Window views show a Mississippi plantation on the right and a south Vietnamese rubber tree grove to the left.
All of the these sublime, mysterious images of old houses suggest that time and persistence shall overcome.
Through May 25 at Locks Gallery, 600 Washington Square South, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Information: 215-629-1000 or locksgallery.com.
Tabloid punch, refined
Anthony Campuzano, a Philadelphia-born-and-based Tyler School of Art graduate who has had one-person shows in New York and elsewhere (including Philadelphia's ICA), is showing his recent efforts in a solo show at Fleisher/Ollman, the gallery that has represented him from the beginning of his career.
"Venture Inward" reveals Campuzano in a quiet, introspective phase, though he's still taking inspiration from his exceptionally broad range of interests, in this case Frances Farmer, Emily Dickinson, James Thurber, and Georges Braque, among others.
The pulsing New York Post-type headlines, ransom-note-like lettering, and eye-popping color combinations are mostly gone, with the exception of Pick 2 (Study), a bold composition of primary colors and black.
Elsewhere, that overt graphic punch of his earlier work has been replaced by much subtler color and more arcane imagery. His materials — ink, graphite, wax crayon, watercolor, and colored pencil on illustration board and paper — remain the same.
Campuzano is sharing the gallery with Jenny Cox, a local artist who began painting and drawing in 2011 after observing her peers at the Center for Creative Works (formerly the Lower Merion Vocational Training Center) in Wynnewood, a studio and exhibition space dedicated to artists with developmental disabilities.
Her marker drawings are vividly colored, playful conglomerations of lozenge-shaped forms containing words. They pair well with Campuzano's darker, referential compositions. "Like Logs" is her first one-person show.
Through June 2 at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, 1216 Arch St., 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, Noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Information: 215-545-6140 or fleisherollman.com.
Politics straight up
At least two Philadelphia artists are not on board with our current president and his administration — to put it mildly.
Sarah McEneaney's drawings over newspaper photos of Donald Trump and Leroy Johnson's caricatures of political figures (on the right and the left) make up the trenchant two-person show "#wehavenopresident" at Marginal Utility.
Leave your politics at the door, if you can.
Through May 13 at Marginal Utility, 319 N. 11th St., Noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Information: marginalutility.org.