There is no doubt about it. Some visitors to Moore College of Art & Design’s “Emerging Philadelphia” exhibit will be surprised by emerging artist Shona McAndrew’s life-size papier-mâché figures of nude and partially clothed young women in intimate domestic situations.
They’re on display in the spacious, glass-encased gallery in Wilson Hall that shares the college’s entrance, and that openness just up front is refreshing. Provocative new art has always had the power to stop people in their tracks.
McAndrew is one of three artists with solo shows currently on display at Moore under the “Emerging Philadelphia” umbrella, celebrating newcomers. Also here are Stacey Lee Webber’s money-themed sculptures and Matt A. Osborn’s inventive paintings and drawings.
Whatever one makes of McAndrew’s female figures – one is seated on a sculpture pedestal that is probably intended to suggest a toilet, with a length of toilet paper in hand – these women are individuals depicted in the intimacy of their own home, not stereotypes painted with a broad brush to replace one type of woman or another.
Whether they like it or not, his characters represent real human beings and our commonplace personal behaviors. They push all the wrong buttons for me, but they also force me to confront my own, perhaps rigid, expectations of how I think people should look.
Webber’s show impressed me with the artist’s handiness and incredible attention to detail. Here’s someone who doesn’t let those boring pennies weigh down her wallet — she welds them into facsimiles of three-dimensional tools, like a shovel, a pair of stirrups, or a mallet.
She also works with dollar bills, meticulously embroidering them with colored thread to create portraits of famous historical figures in costumes of her own imagination. Unlike McAndrew’s exhibit, which has no real physical boundaries, Webber’s exhibit in the dimly lit Goldie Paley Gallery has the gravitas of a museum exhibit.
Osborn doesn’t quite fit the “emerging” theme – I remember seeing his clever, caricatural drawings in an exhibition at the Pageant Gallery in 2009 – but his paintings and drawings at Moore’s Levy Gallery make a nice counterpoint to the works of McAndrew and Webber.
Osborn always reflects on his daily observations and invents characters to stage stories that suggest roots in legends and folklore. The images of his recent large paintings, such as blue dog head and Pale Rider, struck me as enlarged elements of his drawings. I applaud this artistic momentum — borrowing from oneself!
Through March 14 at Moore’s Galleries, 1916 Race St., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. 215-965-4027 or moore.edu/the-galleries-at-moore.
The 30 large-format color photographs in Theo Anderson’s exhibition, “The Great Lakes Landscape 2010 to 2016,” now at Haverford College, come from a larger series of his “American Episodes.” The particular geographical orientation of this exhibit draws attention to the Allentown-based photographer’s expressive use of color and scale.
His images of Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior capture their vastness, often including images of visitors, as in his 5 people, Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising, Michigan. Squint and you might see these five tiny characters on the right.
Often its views of lakes and sandy beaches suggest views of the Caribbean Sea. Nineteenth-century American landscape painting seems to be as much a touchstone for Anderson as American color photography in the vein of Stephen Shore.
As is usually the case with exhibitions curated by William Earle Williams, Haverford’s curator of photography and photographer himself, Anderson’s exhibit is accompanied by all sorts of fascinating ephemera. Included here are a first edition copy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Hiawatha’s Song and a 45 rpm record of Gordon Lightfoot’s 1975 hit The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Through April 26 at the Atrium Gallery, Haverford College, 370 Lancaster Ave., Haverford, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. and Sun. 610-896-1000 or haverford.edu/fine-arts/exhibitions.
Tiger Strikes Asteroid’s group show, “Preserving a Find,” curated by TSA members Megan Biddle and Adam Lovitz, brings together works that suggest relics in one way or another. The impressive lineup of performers here includes Patrick Maguire, SaraNoa Mark, Monica Palma, Liza Samuel, Dominic Terlizzi and Thaddeus Wolfe.
For me, Samuel’s four paintings are the oldest works, with materials like clay, forage animal bones, chlorophyll and various minerals. Mark’s carved ceramic sculptures also evoke a distant past. They could pass for fragments of architecture.
Through March 28 at Tiger Strikes Asteroid, 1400 N. American St., from noon to 6 p.m. 484-469-0319 or Tigerstrikesasteroid.com.