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

Christine Lafuente, Peonies and Wildflowers



Christine Lafuente

March 4 - 27, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, March 6, 5 - 7 pm

Christine Lafuente, Peonies and Wildflowers, oil on linen, 11 x 14 inches  


Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of works by Christine Lafuente. The exhibition, Perennial, runs from March 4 - 27, 2015, with an opening reception for the artist on Friday, March 6 from 5 - 7 pm.


Perennial refers to the flowers that are one of the Lafuente's favorite subjects, but it also refers to her desire to engage repeatedly a select range of meaningful subjects and places throughout the seasons and from year to year. The artist paints both still-life and landscape with accomplished, energetic brushwork, paired with a subtle, yet vibrant palette. Lafuente's work embraces all seasons of the year - allowing the viewer the opportunity to remember spring mornings saturated with the smell of freshly cut flowers, the quiet of brisk and snow-covered winter afternoons, and the cool summer mornings of coastal Maine.


Lafuente takes the complex experience of looking and makes it appear spontaneous and direct. The artist says of her work,


This exhibition includes subjects I return to again and again, year after year. These subjects serve as touchstones in my relationship with seeing and painting. Some are obvious: snow in winter, the sea in summer, daffodils in the spring, then peonies, and eventually zinnias in the autumn. But also there is the interiority of winter: lemons and bottles in the short sharp afternoons. Painting by the sea in Maine (Mount Desert Island) over the past six years has changed my approach to perceptual painting. The constant flux of tides, currents, weather, and light make it impossible to actually paint from direct observation for any substantial duration. The process of painting from a "moving target" has further opened up what it means to paint from visual perception.


I have adjusted my practice by extending the prequel to painting from observation (mixing and adjusting composition) until I can come at a painting all at once, as well as the sequel to painting from observation. This can be anything from a second or third painting (smaller, more poetic) to continuing a painting from memory back in the studio (usually larger with many layers). 


Furthermore, there is a way in which returning to subjects every year comes out of nostalgia and memory - and so, even though I am painting peonies from life on a porch on a long summer afternoon, I am also painting many years of peonies on that particular porch, urged on by recollections of sweetness.


Christine Lafuente is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and studied at the Barnes Foundation and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 2004, she received her MFA in Painting from Brooklyn College in NYC. Lafuente is an award-winning artist and has taught at numerous institutions including Pratt Institute, PAFA, and the Fleisher Art Memorial. The artist has shown her work both nationally and internationally and has been represented in Philadelphia by Gross McCleaf Gallery since 2001.



Tiffany Tate, Topsoil



Sow Your Rows
Joan Becker
Jesse Friedman
Ben Jones
Aubrey Levinthal
Joseph Lozano
Tiffany Tate
Magda Vitale

March 4 - 27, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, March 6, 5 - 7 pm

Tiffany Tate, Topsoil, inkjet print, 39 x 39 inches  


Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to present Sow Your Rows, to complement and compliment the 186th annual PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, the world's largest and longest-running indoor flower show.  The exhibition at Gross McCleaf Gallery features the works of Joan Becker, Jesse Friedman, Ben Jones, Aubrey Levinthal, Joseph Lozano, Tiffany Tate, and Magda Vitale and runs from March 4 - 27 with an opening reception for the artists on Friday, March 6 from 5 - 7 pm.

"There are always flowers for those who want to see them." - Henri Matisse


Gardeners create rows of roses, lines of lilies, displays of daisies, and sometimes stretches of sunflowers. Albeit, the impulse to create and compose with flowers is not limited solely to the gardener. Artists have always been inspired by flowers, directly and indirectly. Sow Your Rows features the work of seven artists who use flowers as a vital component of their work. With paint, paper, or camera, these artist create or capture flowers and plants, tapping into a connection that is shared by all - artist, gardener, and spectator alike. These artists sow their own seeds and the fruits of their efforts yield different harvests.


Joan Becker's large floral watercolors are lyrical depictions of the seasons, grand in scale and delicate in touch. Jesse Friedman's thick paint and exuberant color allude to a found connection with the form and feeling of a dandelion while Ben Jones plays with shapes as plants, flowers, and other objects float around in a dense and playful visual field. Painting from direct observation as well as memory, Aubrey Levinthal and Joseph Lozano discover different moods and tones as their paintings feature flowers but reveal much more. Tiffany Tate moves freely between floral patterns and plants as inspiration for her photographic works. Abstract artist, Magda Vitale, begins with a floral inspiration allowing paint and imagination to inform her expressive paintings.