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


David Brewster
Temples, Gables, and Thunder

October 1 - 31, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, October 3, 5 - 7 pm


Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to announce Temples, Gables, and Thunder, a solo exhibition of new work by David Brewster. The show runs from October 1 - 31, 2014, with a reception for the artist on Friday, October 3, from 5 - 7 PM.


Brewster has been showing at GMG since 1992. Each exhibit has proven to be a progression and continuation of themes from the past combined with a restless desire to explore something new, whether it be subject matter, technique, or scale. The search for new inspiration has led the artist from the oil refineries and abandoned houses of Philadelphia to Ireland's verdant landscape and ancient farmhouses; from the lush hillsides and farmlands of New England to the dry windswept deserts of California. In the winter and spring of 2014, Brewster spent three months in Thailand drawing and painting. He says, "During this time I made many drawings and watercolors, and was deeply moved by the interconnectness of the daily lives of the Thai people and the Buddhist religion."


Bolstered by a fresh inspiration, Brewster combines what he has gained from his experience in Thailand with a continuing response to a more familiar landscape. The farmhouses, outbuildings, churches, and bridges of Vermont take on new meaning when seen through the artist's eyes as a contemporary version of an emerging culture. Domestic temples inhabit a landscape that, despite its bucolic appearance, still bears the ravages of recent flooding and the ongoing challenges caused by man's intervention. Brewster's painting technique is visceral, enhanced by his choice of the paint roller and his hands as tools for applying the medium. He says, "...the energy and velocity of how I move paint increasingly becomes a subject in itself, conditioned by and expressive of the pace of our modern existence. Letting the stroke expand and travel and become something in its own right, I liberate myself from descriptive tendency."


In an essay for the catalog accompanying this exhibit, Todd Keyser, critic and former Assistant Director of Gross McCleaf writes, "Brewster's painting, as a whole, continues the ongoing relationship between American Abstraction and Romanticism. What best exemplifies Brewster as an American Romantic are the binary themes embedded in his paintings, which are a celebration of American capitalism, ingenuity, and creativity while simultaneously an expression of the darker aspects of this enterprise. Brewster's paintings are layered with meaning that points to complex and conflicting forces in the world. The spectator is confronted with scenes of construction sites, graveyards, and flooded roads. These subjects are entropic and emphasize violent change. Such choices denote that Brewster's Romantic painting is a project that is always on the move and has yet to complete its course." 


Roger Chavez
The Poetics of Immensity

October 1 - 31, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, October 3, 5 - 7 pm


Gross McCleaf is pleased to present The Poetics of Immensity, a solo exhibition featuring recent paintings by Roger Chavez. The exhibition runs from October 1 - 31, 2014 with an opening reception for the artist on Friday, October 3 from 5 -7 pm.


With control and restraint, Roger Chavez creates paintings of apparent simplicity. The simplicity is deceptive, though, because his works succeed in existing with seemingly opposing qualities: intimacy and vastness.


The French philosopher, Gaston Bachelard (1884 - 1962) describes the quality of immensity, or of intimate vastness, that Chavez seeks. He writes:

"Immensity is within ourselves. It is attached to a sort of expansion of being that life curbs and caution arrests, but which starts again when we are alone. As soon as we become motionless, we are elsewhere; we are dreaming in a world that is immense. Indeed, immensity is the movement of motionless man. It is one of the dynamic characteristics of quiet daydreaming."

Identified by the artist as existing within the history of still life painting, there is an ambiguity of scale that contributes to these paintings existing with an enduring ephemeral quality. Chavez readily admits his subject but refuses to identify the specific objects that inform these works by leaving them identified only numerically. It is his balance of specificity and openness that is helpful in providing a beginning but leaves the viewer's curiosity unabated and his imagination stirred.


Roger Chavez is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a recipient of numerous awards including the Lewis S. Ware Traveling Scholarship, a scholarship at the Vermont Studio Center, and a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Chavez has taught at numerous schools including the Maryland College of Art and Design, Manayunk Art Center, Ursinus College, and served as a visiting critic at the University of Chicago. Currently, he teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Recently, Chavez was awarded the Ballinglen Foundation Residency for 2015.


Directions I Links I Submissions I Home I Subscribe to email list