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

Trudy Kraft, Avian Ancestors 3



Trudy Kraft
Avian Ancestors

November 4 - 28, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, November 6, 2015, 5 - 7 pm

Trudy Kraft, Avian Ancestors 3, acrylic on panel, 8 x 10 inches  


Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to present Avian Ancestors, an exhibition of works by Trudy Kraft.  Kraft began her artistic journey as a realist oil painter. Growing up in Texas surrounded by decorative arts of the southwest and her four years spent living abroad in Japan has provided    strong influence in her development. Both Western and Non-Western cultures have inspired Kraft in her pursuit of making works that combine abstraction and imagery. Kraft says of her recent paintings, "Many traditions continue to influence my work; most recently I have been drawn to American folk art. It is 'naive' in the best sense, a fresh way of looking at things."


With a destination in mind, Kraft begins her paintings and in the process of creating them allows for digressions and diversions. By giving herself room for discovery, earlier works reveal new possibilities for subsequent versions.  In addition to an open-minded process, Kraft frequently uses a stylized image - in many cases a bird - that becomes part of the decorative patterning but still remains recognizable.   Kraft says of the choice of her favorite motif,


"I have long been interested in the relation between movement and stillness. We know that everything changes, yet we also experience moments of deep stillness. Birds achieve both with apparent ease - they are unfettered in flight and unruffled in repose."


Other works in the show are pure abstractions - consisting of clusters of dots and geometric forms.  But, even then, there is a sense that these patterns could be the result of visualizing organic structures on a microscopic level and references to Islamic and  Buddhist symbolism are unmistakable.   


In a 2011 review, Roberta Fallon effectively sums up the motivation for Kraft's inspiration and methodology, "Each work is a journey taken by the artist into the place where intuition meets skill to become something new. And she's giving the viewer ample opportunity to take those myriad journeys with her. And each piece is a celebration of energy by an artist for whom art is an expression of positivism."


Trudy Kraft graduated from Hamilton College and trained at the Art Students League in New York City. During her residence in Kyoto, Japan she studied calligraphy, woodblock printing, and other traditional genres.  Kraft is a resident of Haverford, PA.


Deirdre Murphy, Edge of an Instant



Deirdre Murphy
Winds of Change

November 4 - 28, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, November 6, 2015, 5 - 7 pm




Deirdre Murphy, Edge of an Instant, oil on canvas, 38 x 46 inches  


Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to present Winds of Change, an exhibition of new work by Deirdre Murphy. This is Murphy's first solo show with Gross McCleaf.


Murphy brings the concept of nature paintings into the 21st century transforming ostensibly traditional subject matter into an exploration of time and space. In the exhibition catalog, Margaret Winslow, Associate Curator for Contemporary Art, Delaware Art Museum shares her thoughts on Murphy's recent paintings:


"Murphy is a keen observer of the relationships between the micro and the macro, those points in space that align travel routes to constellations and flight trajectories to wind currents. She approaches this interest with the attentiveness of a scientist, observing, researching, and tracking changes. The shifts that occur-the effects of global warming on raptor migration-are noted but not critiqued, and similarly the industrial patterning created across a morning sky is handled with care and precision devoid of appraisal. Murphy's paintings link nature's aesthetics in a manner similar to how a social graph makes users aware of their interconnectedness; the formal similarities are emphasized for the viewer's contemplation." 


The artist informs and relocates our appreciation of natural phenomenon through geometric interventions and creates structure from the seeming randomness of nature.  Lifelike renderings of birds contrast starkly with the synthetic palette Murphy uses for the ground and the abstract lines and forms that radiate throughout the compositions. She implores the viewer to stop and pay close attention to "a moment between action and stasis....that tenuous point where journeys past shift to trajectories forward." (Winslow). 


Murphy has received numerous awards and grants, most notably the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowship and a Leeway Foundation Award.  She was recently an artist-in-residence at the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary (Kempton, PA), Vermont Studio Center (Jackson, VT), and Pouch Cove Artist Residency (St. Johns, Newfoundland).  The artist earned her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 where she is currently on faculty, and her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute (1991).  


Murphy has shown internationally in South Korea and Italy; has had six solo exhibitions in Philadelphia; and participated in numerous group exhibition in New York, Delaware, Minnesota and Oregon.  Her work has been exhibited at institutions including the Philadelphia International Airport, the Palm Springs Museum of Art, the Biggs Museum in Delaware, the New Bedford Museum in MA, and the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington.