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

Douglas Martenson



Douglas Martenson

October 4 - 28, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, October 6, 5 - 7 pm



Martenson's annual visits to Maine, travels to upstate New York, and leisurely walks through remote sections of the outskirts of Philadelphia, serve as a source for his chosen subject matter. But - more importantly - these interludes allow time for reflection.  Martenson provides not only a representation of the natural world but also an interpretation of the emotions felt, but infrequently articulated.


There is indirect human intervention in Martenson's landscape - the building up and the destruction.  In these paintings, although usually only implied, man has a function as both the custodian and the user of nature and is reminded of his own fragility and impermanence.  Piles of tree branches are burned to make way for new growth; party tents are erected, serve their purpose, and are taken down.


Martenson's paintings fit soundly in the realm of Contemporary Tonalism with its rejection of American Abstraction and Conceptual Art.  In the catalog for the exhibit The Artist's Response to Nature curated by Martenson in 2014, he says,


...the aim [of the Tonalist Painters] was to draw the viewer into the scene, to make the beholder inhabit the space - to feel something.  This is still a relevant objective for the contemporary artist.  Art has often historically been considered a mirror held up against society, a phenomenon that is reflective of its era....Artists working towards this concept of reflection and thoughtfulness are digging deeper than ever into the subject, and their finding and advancements are further enhanced by the discovery by each of his or her own personal subject that serves to best represent this vision.  


Transience, the title to the exhibit, is in itself a paradox.  Nature has preceded and will supersede man's presence, but is forever changing. The artist, by virtue of observation and interpretation, makes permanent a fleeting moment. Martenson explores the ephemeral qualities of the observed world whether he is looking upward at cloud formations or outward toward the meadows and trees.  His paintings offer us the opportunity to pause and reflect so that we might not simply reconsider beauty but also appreciate and be grateful for it.


Martenson is a Professor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and teaches Drawing at the University of Pennsylvania.  He has been exhibiting in Philadelphia with Gross McCleaf Gallery for over two decades and has shown his work regionally and nationally throughout the United States.  




People Places Things


People Places Things
Perky Edgerton
Elizabeth Geiger
Kurt Moyer
Scott Noel
Thomas Paquette

October 4 - 28, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, October 6, 5 - 7 pm



Using paint, brushes, and canvas, representational painters reflect what they see. Perky EdgertonElizabeth GeigerKurt MoyerScott Noel, and Thomas Paquette have spent their lives mastering the challenge of creating work closely informed by observing the world. These artists in People Places Things all paint the specific as they engage the landscape, still-life, and the figure - presenting common subjects for our consideration. Each one offers a unique vision while embracing the incredible challenge of presenting the three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface. They have taken aspects of life; the objects they see, the places they go, or the people they meet, as the source and inspiration for their works with their unique perspective on that which is commonly shared.


Drawing from observation and memory, there is a creative evolution that takes place in the act of painting that allows Perky Edgerton to adapt and react during the process of applying the paint.  The brushwork, texture, and color relationships complement and accentuate the artist's subject matter.  Edgerton received her MFA from Tyler School of Art at Temple University and is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania


Elizabeth Geiger challenges the logic of perception through a searching application of paint. She creates new realities on her canvases that are indebted to and originate from direct observation of a subject. The investigation of multiple iterations of the same still-life set-up, reveals the range of possibilities in the most familiar of objects.  Geiger studied at the University of Virginia, the Vermont Studio School, and the New York Studio School and resides in Staunton, VA


Kurt Moyer finds inspiration in the natural world, the language of paint and the study of master works by artists who have come before him. His subjects focus on familiar themes of landscapes and bathers, a theme reinforced by many visits to the Barnes Foundation while Moyer wasgrowing up inSoutheastern Pennsylvania.  Currently living in Rochester, NY, Moyer graduated from Kutztown University.  The past few summers, he has taught a workshop at the JSS in Civita Castellana, Italy.


A well-known force in the art scene in Philadelphia, Scott Noel is a professor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  His masterful figure paintings range from traditionally-influenced nudes to direct contemporary presentations of character and composition. Painting directly from the model using an alla prima technique, Noel's unique vision captures both the immediacy of the specific model as well as putting the figure into the historical context that it deserves.   


Thomas Paquette is known for his evocative paintings of the natural environment.  He was the recipient of fellowships and several honors, including artist residencies at the American Academy in Rome, at three U.S. national parks, and a three-year residency-fellowship from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, in Miami. Paquette lives and paints on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania.