Gross McCleaf Gallery
127 S Sixteenth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Current Exhibitions



Douglas Martenson
Painting Arcadia

December 3 - 31, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, December 5, 5 - 7 pm

Douglas Martenson, Event, oil on canvas, 32 x 44 inches  


Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to announce Painting Arcadia, a solo exhibition featuring new paintings by Douglas Martenson. The exhibition runs from December 3 - 31, 2014. There will be an opening reception for the artist on Friday, December 5, 5 - 7 pm.


Martenson captures qualities in landscape painting that haven't been a major concern in contemporary art for most of the last century. If particular attributes of Modernist Art brushed aside the quest for beauty in favor of novelty and experimentation, then Post Modernism's deflated aesthetics reversed this course allowing for a reintroduction of classical painting albeit in a different context.The landscape paintings that Douglas Martenson both observes and invents, is the melding of the Classical and Romantic aesthetic. The classical components in the landscapes are derived from balance, harmony and technical unity. However, while Martenson's paintings are brilliantly executed, his paintings move past the classical mode and into a romantic intensity of expression. At the painter's disposal are tone, mood, and movement; devices that work together to create dramatic theatrical effects. Martenson's paintings ask timeless questions, disregarding the charge for the "new" in favor of more eternal inquires. 


Martenson's paintings take the spectator on an arresting visual journey to the boundaries of the woods and the sky - as if the artist is asking the question, "Where does nature end and civilization begin?" In Martenson's tent paintings, the temporary structures rise up to meet the sky but also call attention to their own constructed vulnerability. The suggestion is that humanity wants to be a part of this transcendent expanse but remains necessarily rooted in finite time and place. The Pennsylvania, New York, and Maine topography serves as an inspiration and backdrop to express these very concerns.


Douglas Martenson is an Associate Professor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. He has recently curated two exhibits on Contemporary Tonalism, The Artist's Response to Nature: Tonalism, Historical and Contemporary at PAFA and Tonalism at Gross McCleaf Gallery where the artist has shown his work for well over two decades. Martenson has exhibited widely both regionally and nationally.

Giovanni Casadei




Giovanni Casadei
Everyday Light

December 3 - 31, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, December 5, 5 - 7 pm




Giovanni Casadei, One Stem, oil on panel, 7 x 9 inches  


Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new still life paintings byPhiladelphia artist Giovanni Casadei.  The show, titled Everyday Light, runs from December 3 - 31 with a reception for the artist on Friday, December 5 from 5 - 7.

Casadei's still life paintings are informed by an inquisitive eye and reveal his fascination with light.  Casadei says of his work, "I am in love with light.  Light gives form to perfect objects but also decomposes objects and lets us experience the immense variety of nature's abstraction, giving us the opportunity to see the common with an uncommon eye."  


Casadei's paintings convey an Old World appreciation of detail while at the same time they have a truly modern sense of spontaneity and freshness. Using the Renaissance painting technique called sfumato, having colors blend softly into each other without sharp outlines or hard edges, Casadei provides just enough light to give objects their form and placement while still allowing the viewer's eyes to fill in additional information.

Growing up in Italy, Casadei had ample opportunity to examine first-hand the richness of European painting.  His uncle picked him up every Sunday, taking him to museums where Casadei saw and was influenced by many of the world's finest works of art.  Inspired by this early exposure, Casadei enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.  In 1983, after coming to Philadelphia, the artist resumed his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where he met Seymour Reminick, who became his mentor and friend.  Casadei says of this relationship, "Seymour gave me the support to make my own mistakes and learn from them. His love for art, painting, and human beings was contagious. This love is an integral part of my vision as an artist. He reinforced my belief to follow my heart and what I love in life."

Casadei has shown extensively throughout the United States, and is currently an instructor at the Fleisher Art Memorial and the Wayne Art Center.