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

Alexis Serio
The Grand Getaway

April 2 - 25, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, April 4, 5 - 7 pm

Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to present The Grand Getaway, a solo exhibition of paintings by Alexis Serio. The show runs from April 2 to 25, 2014. There will be an opening reception for the artist on Friday, April 4, 5 - 7 pm.

Alexis Serio is not interested in landscapes, per say, but in transitory moments that occur in the landscape: for example, the sun as it rises and sets; cloud formations as they move across the sky; and the shadows cast from trees as they stretch across a field.  Since these experiences are fleeting, in order to recreate them the painter must work from imagination and memory. The overall effect is that of the essence of a visual experience rather than an actual one.  


Alexis Serio's solo show, The Grand Getaway, transports the viewer to alien landscapes where bold colors and boundless lines mesmerize and intrigue.  Perhaps influenced by the artist's recent painting residency in Iceland, the scenes could be interpretations of witnessing for the first time, a landscape so foreign and magnificent.  As a result, Serio's paintings are abstractions - they are not non-objective nor are they naturalist impressionist paintings.  Her canvasses and watercolors are connected in a personal way to the artist's perceptions and experience.  Her paint handling is broad, soft, and yet filled with intent.  Serio's paintings are not unlike the work of Richard Deibenkorn in that both painters are interested in a certain kind of visual play. One in which, the use of color, along with composition and drawing, serve to direct the beholder's eye around the canvas and into it.

Serio says of her work,


"My paintings are selective and ideals of the truth. They are reflections of my past, the days that I have drawn out in my mind as precious time. The landscape provides stillness and solitude, a moment to reconnect to a personal history within the world....The majority of my paintings are depictions of heightened dramatic lighting - dusk or dawn. I use both soft rendering and thick application of the paint to create an interchange of perspective. Areas that I consider transient are treated more subtly and areas that show drama and strength are treated with physical build up on the surface. The exchange between light and shadow, permanent and fleeting are exaggerated to present a space that at once may deny a sense of reasoning yet connect with a sensual reality for the viewer."


Serio is a graduate of Syracuse University and received her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania.  She has had numerous exhibits both in the Philadelphia area and in Texas where she is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Tyler. 



Paper Works
Martha Armstrong
Ken Kewley
Marlene Rye
Marc Salz
Karen Segal
Stuart Shils

April 2 - 25, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, April 4, 5 - 7 pm

Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to present Paper Works, a group exhibition featuring Martha Armstrong, Ken Kewley, Marlene Rye, Marc Salz, Karen Segal, and Stuart Shils. The exhibition runs from April 2 - 25, 2014. There will be an opening reception for the artists on Friday, April 4, 5 - 7 pm.

The work on paper is almost always represents the initial spark of an idea - allowing the idea to take some kind of concrete form before it is transferred into another medium.  In this exhibition, the work on paper is considered as an autonomous work - exploring both its unique qualities and breadth of possibilities.   


Martha Armstrong's pieces, mostly from the 1970's, combine painting, drawing, and collage and are being shown for the first time. They bear a handsome resemblance to those of earlier artists such as Arthur Dove, Stuart Davis, and Wassily Kandinsky whose works on paper frequently equaled and sometimes exceeded the impact of their canvasses. Geometry has a strong purpose in the formal properties of Armstrong's compositions. By emphasizing the geometric over the natural, Armstrong reveals what is usually concealed by the viewer's inability to see beyond the empirical - thus making the familiar, in this case "nature", unfamiliar.


Collages by Ken Kewley recall the work of Pablo Picasso and George Braque, but without, in the words of one curator, the "old chairs, broken bottles, and cigarette packs" that populate the images of the Cubists.  Kewley's collages, even though they are made of discarded paper, portray a neater and cleaner world than that of the older Modern masters. Slices of cake and pears sit effortlessly on white tablecloths. Kewley's pieces are small in scale, but their intense graphic quality calls the viewer to attention.


Artist Marlene Rye uses pastel to capture what she sees as the spirituality of nature.  The American painter, Charles Burchfield, depicted this spirituality or vitality in nature by exaggerating the effects of light on objects and forms.  Rye continues this exploration by giving herself the opportunity to unlock the subjective experience of nature's mystery.  She says of her work, "(I) am interested in returning to a time when nature was more than a a time in your childhood...when the imagination runs free. Here is a world not yet defined, not yet labeled and categorized."


Marc Salz's paintings are formally influenced by Matisse and other early American Modernist painters.  The artists' paintings are biomorphic - there is a fluidity that is suggestive of an almost marine-like environment. This inflection brings other kinds of associations with it.  The floating tendrils and small colorful dots that occupy Salz's paintings bring to mind the early formations of life on earth and are teaming with a sense of primal activity.


Karen Segal's oil pastels are landscapes that can be seen from different vantage points all at once. They are cubist drawings, and because of that, she is able to depict more than one view - fracturing the space of the landscape into many. Like Cezanne, Segal is able to assemble forms in space without the use of classical perspective, "allowing each to be independent within the space of the picture while the relationship of one object to another takes precedence over traditional single-point perspective."


Recent monotypes by Stuart Shils extend what can qualify as a response to a moment in time and place. As the artist states, "it seemed important also to examine what goes on with a longer interval of time between the moment of contact and the making of a response. Instead of looking out at a motif and then turning to the canvas, perhaps I could wait say days, weeks or months.....on return to my studio [I] begin to reconstruct what that might look like in the form of opaque and translucent layers of etching ink pressed out onto paper."   



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