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

James Stewart, Wedding Dance



James Stewart
Recent Work

June 3 - 30, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, June 5, 2015, 5 - 7 pm

James Stewart, Wedding Dance, oil on canvas, 47 x 62 inches  


In this recent body of work, Stewart explores human interactions. Whether he is depicting the give and take of a doubles’ game of tennis, the patterns of a ballroom filled with people dancing, an orchestra unified in making music, or the reaction of an audience to an unseen performer, the artist embraces the group dynamic of individuals united in a common response to a shared experience. The unique rhythms of the compositions, created by people mingling and interacting, represent occurrences that are becoming uncommon in contemporary society where we are frequently isolated by technology. James Stewart’s paintings celebrate beauty in crowds and joy in people coming together.


Stewart says of his current work,


In this group of paintings, I set a couple of parameters for myself such as general proportion of the painting and figure size or scale but from there I gave myself complete liberty to explore motif, feeling, process, and painting style. This freedom helped to create an interesting time in the studio and luckily it slowly developed into work I could pull from for a coherent exhibition.


Stewart looks to the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists as his choice of artistic precedents. Echoes of Degas and Manet can be seen in his subject choices and the cropping of scenes, while the influences of Bonnard and Vuillard are evident in his soft-focus brushwork, broad two-dimensional patterning, and despite a somewhat muted palette, surprising moments of vibrant color.  His gestural vocabulary includes subtle combinations of lyrical line, negative spaces and under-painting, which lends a refined definition to some figures and objects while maintaining the delicate evanescence of others. 


Stewart attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and is currently a resident of Fredonia, Pennsylvania. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship for painting in 2007.



Brian Boutwell, Hogging and Sagging



Brian Boutwell
Amanda Bush
Lauren Garvey
Todd Keyser
Bertha Leonard
Susan Lichtman
Max Mason
Mary Putman

June 3 - 30, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, June 5, 2015, 5 - 7 pm

Brian Boutwell, Hogging and Sagging, oil on canvas, 48 x 42 inches  


Gross McCleaf invites viewers to find the fun in the selected works of Brian Boutwell, Amanda Bush, Lauren Garvey, Todd Keyser, Bertha Leonard, Max Mason, and Mary Putman.  These artists engage and depict the things we do to entertain ourselves in our spare time. The works show that fun does not always have to be a grand adventure, a big gesture, or a hyperbolic story. They celebrate the kind of fun that neither shouts nor clamors for attention but can be found with select company of a few friends, around the family table, or even in the quiet moments spent by oneself.


Brian Boutwell’s nautically informed abstractions feature disarming simplicity of color-shapes and textures that are the by-products of seeking something never before seen.  Evoking the shapes of ships and full sails, his work hints without telling.


Amanda Bush’s illusive portraits are playgrounds for the viewer to look through and at figures hiding in her colorful, imaginary landscapes. Her paintings also bring to mind a child’s propensity to see faces where none may exist.


Lauren Garvey paintings evoke playful scribblings that bring to mind sidewalk chalk drawings and graffiti art.  At the same time, she creates complex spaces inhabited with ordinary objects treated in ways that are anything but ordinary.


Todd Keyser has taken photographs of playgrounds on which he has superimposed painted shapes – engaging a conversation with the artist about what is there and what isn’t. 


Having grown up in Atlantic City, Bertha Leonard’s work evokes a nostalgia for times pastdepicting and celebrating family fun during lazy evenings at the shore - when a game of jacks can be a serious matter.


Susan Lichtman’s paintings are fun in the sun with figures enjoying the leisure and laziness of sunny days. Figures and landscape merge to create patterns of vibrant color and dramatic shape.


Nothing evokes fun more than America’s national pastime.  Max Mason’s paintings capture the allure of the crowd and the spectacle of the game – giving new appreciation to the abstract beauty of baseball.  


In her paintings, Mary Putman explores the personal iconography of her childhood – an outing with her father, cowboy hat on head. Capturing the memory of a brief respite between adventures, Putman touches on the passage of time and our memories.

Mary Putman, The Cowboy and Her Grandpa


Mary Putman, The Cowboy and Her Grandpa, acrylic on panel, 20 x 31 inches