Jennifer Levonian, Smells Like English Boxwood, 2006-8
stop motion animation using watercolor and collage
Post Christmas is a slow time for gallery sales--which explains why some galleries go to emerging artists shows at this time of year, testing the waters to see who's got the right stuff. Since the New Acropolis show in Jan. 2004, we have been looking forward to the annual melange of new and surprising art at Fleisher-Ollman to brighten up our post-holiday-season blues.
This year,the exhibit is named Street Button.
Jennifer Levonian, You, Starbucks, 2006
stop-motion animation using watercolor and collage
I especially enjoyed the videos by Jennifer Levonian, using a stop-action animation technique similar to Martha Colburn's in Don't Kill the Weatherman (posts here and here) in her installation at the Rosenbach. The moving elements in the drawings are herky-jerky, and the subject matter is a little loopy. One video has to do with Philadelphia's Colonial reenactments, and one uses the dialog (monolog) from the film Last Year in Marienbad to accompany a video about Starbucks love. Pretty funny. I like Levonian's technique, and am looking forward to see where she goes with it.
Andrew Gbur, untitled collage, 21 1/2 x 27 1/2 inches
Andrew Gbur's modest mix of cut paper and drawings and mysterious use of symbols--familiar and not--intrigued me.
Andrew Gbur, ( left to right) Burned CD, 2004, white out and ink on paper, 9 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches; 2004 (cut shape), 2004, ink on paper, 9 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches; Sunflower Ashtray, 2004, white out and ink on paper, 9 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches
Gbur seems to be mining some of the same territory as Richard Tuttle without leaving the picture frame. He's also using sincere materials from the past--the old school paper, the misbegotten alphabet--to contextualize rather arch imagery from the present.
Because the rest of the exhibit showed familiar work, however, the show lacked some of the edge of its predecessor Fleisher-Ollman emerging artists exhibits--New Acropolis, Junto, Meatball, and Morgellons.
Yvonne Lung, Chinese-out detail, with The Color of my Flesh, in background
Eva Wylie's full-blown installation at Moore College trumped her smaller effort here. Jamie Dillon's deadpan pedestals? Saw them at Vox. Except for her wonderful F-word take-out boxes, Yvonne Lung's two installations loudly echoed work by Janine Antoni, Byron Kim, and Felix Garcia Torres.
Perhaps I was just feeling jaded that day. I did enjoy everything. but I was looking to have my Street Button pushed a little harder.
Andrew Brehm's low-tech/high-tech assemblage installations, had funny moments; Gregory Brellochs' biology-science-inspired drawings ratcheted up the gross meter with faux gross matter, taking a material step beyond his recent Fleisher Challenge exhibit; Stephanie Beck's lovely cut paper Dencity, echoing a piece she showed at Tower Gallery, showed some denser thinking. And Ryan P. McCartney's minimal materialism expressed some roughness in a genre that's often precious.
And in case you were wondering (we were)--
The exhibit, curated by Claire Iltis, Heather Shoemaker and William Pym, is named Street Button because Fleisher-Ollman is in 1616 Walnut Street, a building that uses the European system for numbering its floors. Iltis emailed us this explanation after we groused in the Liberta Awards post that we just weren't getting the names of the F/O shows:
We've been of the opinion that it's better to have fun with the titles than attempt to draw false relationships between the work, or settle for something banal like "Fleisher/Ollman Gallery's Annual Winter Invitational." Instead, we've picked buzz words or themes from our lives in and and around the gallery.
"Street Button" refers to the button on the elevator here at 1616 Walnut, which delivers you to the street. "1" is the button which takes you to the gallery. 99% of first-time visitors to 1616 do not see the "street" button, they simply hit "1" to get out, and by my calculations the phrase, "push the street button" has been uttered in the gallery somewhere around 10,000 times in the last five years.
For more images from the show, here's my Flickr set.