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

Elaine Lisle, Fall Reflections



Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes


Amanda Bush
Mariel Capanna
Michael Ciervo
Alyssa Deville
Jesse Friedman
Yoni Hamburger

Mariel Herring
Morgan Hobbs
Aissulu Kadyrzhanova
Adam Lovitz
Mickayel Thurin

August 5 - 28, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, August 7, 2015, 5 - 7 pm

Mickayel Thurin, BP on Green, acrylic and collage on canvas, 16 x 12 inches


“Head, shoulders, knees, and toes…”


A simple nursery rhyme we sing together as a way to stay limber, to stay in sync, and learn our parts. We cover the length of our bodies, locating and naming the human landmarks that we share. It’s a children’s song about similarities and common ground. In Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes Amanda Bush, Mariel Capanna, Michael Ciervo, Alyssa DeVille, Jesse Friedman, Yoni Hamburger, Mariel Herring, Morgan Hobbs, Aissulu Kadyrzhanova, Adam Lovitz, and Mickayel Thurin use the figure – in part, in whole, or simply suggested.


Touching base by painting faces, Mickayel Thurin’s portraits of family and friends reveal a unique way of seeing and paying attention. Brush strokes and fabric swatches are combined to create portraits as individual and vibrant as the sitters themselves. Straying subtly from the expected, Yoni Hamburger’s paintings reveal a reality near but not the same as ours which feels all the more faithful for the departure.


Alyssa DeVille dreams up fantastic people in fantastic places, imploring us to imagine the unknown origins of intriguing strangers. Freed from the expected, Jesse Friedman creates new meanings and uses for parts of the body that are recombined and repurposed. Figures and their environments ebb and flow in Amanda Bush’s strange places where people and place are inseparable.


Taken from ordinary moments of daily self-care, Mariel Herring’s self-portraits capture both the strangeness and the invisibility that we experience from living with our same body every single day. Wading through the mass amount of digital avatars and images, Michael Ciervo makes individual works from specifically selected images and transforms a replicable source into a specific singular painted object.


Setting aside conventional depictions, Adam Lovitz’s works stretch our ability to recognize another person and require a complicit imagining to find a familiar face. Aissulu Kadyrzhanova paints, revises, and reimagines figures until they achieve the seemingly contradictory qualities of being specific and general, individual and universal.


Departing from the primary role of figure, Mariel Capanna relegates people to the periphery as fellow observers. Humans are never the focus as they exist in the realm of lawn chairs, ladders, chickens, pools, and tractors.  The viewer never sees the figures in Morgan Hobbs’ works; the figures are one-step removed but their presence lingers.


The works in Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes call for us to shed the familiarity we may have with the figure that can breed invisibility and see the works, ourselves, and one another with fresh eyes.


“…knees and toes…knees and toes.”