I took advantage of POST (Philadelphia Open Studio Tours) on Sunday. There are so many artists opening their studios to visitors that they are spread over two weekends each October. Broad Street is the dividing line between the two tours. Last weekend studios west of Broad were open. This weekend it was east of Broad. We were able to catch a few studios in Kensington and Fishtown.
1st stop was Coral Street Arts House where Christine Blair curated a show of artists who live in the converted factory building. CSAH is a project of New Kensington Community Development Corporation that provides live/work studios for artists.
Christine is a printmaker and instructor at Fleisher Art Memorial. (Full disclosure: I’ve studied silkscreen with Christine since 2003, and this year I started teaching a silkscreen section at Fleisher alongside her). The show is hung in the community room just off the lobby. The room is light and airy, but it is challenging to use as a gallery. The exterior wall is brick and has regular window openings. The opposite long wall has several glazed openings that provide borrowed light to the adjacent hallway.
Christine piece is a meditation on her mother’s live and long struggle with cancer. She uses silkscreen to create collages of family photos and sentences her mother wrote after a stroke robbed her ability to talk. The triptych captures Christine’s emotions and memories reflecting back on her mother’s life.
At the Crane Arts Building, things were hopping. There was a wedding reception going on in the Icebox, the big space at the north end of the building. And a dozen artist’s studios were open. I was interested by a number of artists, while not printmakers, use silkscreen in their art practice.
Dianne Koppisch Hricko is a fiber artist who uses silkscreen as a stencil to apply layers of transparent dye ont flowing silk fabrics. She uses the patterns on her screens to create layered & lyrical designs. Her scarves are twisted and puckered and fastened with magnets that can be placed as needed without piercing the fabric. She also prints on fabric to make half and full kimonos in translucent silk. She has exhibited large wall pieces in juried shows around the country. The silkscreen stencil is central to her creative process.
Virginia Bradley is a painter who silkscreens printed images from art history onto her large canvases. Images from historical texts emerge from layers of abstract color to engage in a conversation about the origin and meaning of her images. The merging of historical imagery with contemporary color and form create a sense of familiarity with something that is new and contemporary. She is Professor of Art at the University of Delaware and has exhibited widely.
Bohyun Yoon and Wonjung Choi use silkscreen to print brightly colored faces onto glass panels hung from full height metal frames. The frames are set up to create a space to walk into with a spotlights hanging from the center, causing the panels to glow from within in strong color while throwing shadows on the walls outside the frame. The printed faces lose their saturated color when their shadow is projected onto the wall, but the individual panels become one continuous over-sized shadow on the wall. The work is in its initial stages and will be impressive when displayed in a final form. Bohyun is a CFEVA Fellow and teaches at Tyler School of Art.