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

Mariel Capanna, Homesteading




Mariel Capanna

January 4 - 27, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, January 6, 5 - 7 pm

Mariel Capanna, Homesteading, Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches  


In a way, this exhibit is a culmination of a road trip that Mariel Capanna began in 2014 supported by a grant from The Kittredge Fund (Cambridge, MA).  Beginning in Philadelphia and ending in Arizona, Capanna spent a year traveling the country gathering information and memories.  In an article she wrote about her trip, the artist says:


When I drove away from Philadelphia…I had with me a cooler, a small cook-stove, a sleeping bag, and a one-person tent. A cross-country road trip demands no explanation; Why go? Because: America! But I can be more specific. At a time when art is increasingly focused on issues of personal identity, I wanted to learn about my own Americanness. I wanted to super-saturate my eyes with images of Americanness by driving on highways and on back roads toward cities, large towns, small towns, ghost towns, farmlands, city parks, state parks, national parks and BLM wilderness in order to piece together a sweeping view of the nation.”


Looking at Capanna’s paintings, one is reminded of the selectivity of memory and especially memory through the fog of time.  Distortions of scale, improbable relationships, ambiguous space, and the omission of detail here but exquisite attention to detail there, all remind one that these paintings are compilations of recollections, not direct observations – a pictorial equivalent to literary stream of consciousness writing.  At the same time, Capanna never loses sight of the fact that ultimately she is creating a visual experience. There is a subtle combination of sophistication and gentle naiveté in the way she handles her subject matter and her paint application.  Capanna’s paintings are rich in detail, color, pattern, and variation of brushwork. 


The paintings in the current show are, in Capanna’s words, “attempts to make sense of the mess of memory -- memory on a personal scale and on a cultural scale….More often than not, what catches my eye is not the focal subject of an image but a peripheral moment: an odd still life object in the bottom left corner of a photograph; a cypress tree on the horizon line. Each painting is a collection of scattered peripheral moments, gathered together in one place.”


Capanna studied at McGill University in Montreal and received her BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  She was a recipient of The Cresson Travel Scholarship and an Independence Foundation Visual Arts Fellow which supported a semester of study in Florence, Italy.  Capanna has been included in numerous exhibits locally and nationally.  This is her first solo show at Gross McCleaf Gallery.





Planted a Thought
Julia Clift
Mark Green
Joseph Lozano
Justin Webb

January 4 - 27, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, January 6, 5 - 7 pm

Justin Webb, ROY G BIV, Egyptian, Pyramid, Snake, Eyes, Diorama - Pt. 2, Oil on canvas, 8 x 10 inches  


Ideas come and go, thoughts are fleeting, and inspiration emerges from unexpected sources. Planted a Thought features the works of four painters who cultivate their creativity through the reconciliation of disparate influences and fascinations. Imagination, construction, and memory collide in Mark Green's work, the photographic and observed combine in Julia Clift's paintings, seen and constructed settings takes front stage in Justin Webb's works, and Joseph Lozano's digital media-informed paintings make fragments whole.


Julia Clift seeks out inspiring locations which she then paints and photographs. She then returns to her studio and uses what she has made to construct collages that capture essential qualities of these places. These collages then serve as departure points for even further distillations captured in paint. 


Mark Green builds houses in paint. Beginning with a rough shape and form he injects light, atmosphere, color, and structure to his narratives that influenced by an inherited passion for architecture. Green's paintings drift between seemingly ordinary portraits of domestic structures to uncanny homes seen through a strong filter of memory swayed by time, emotion, and affection.


Joseph Lozano collects digital imagery and paintings emerge from these fragments that are repeated, relocated, combined, composed, and are finally painted on a physical surface. Floating hands hold plants, a flamboyance of flamingos, blue oranges, and even an occasional laocoön exist anew and are removed from initial context creating new visual fictions.


Justin Webb paints everything in its precise place. His theatrical constructions and presentations flirt with reality but something is overtly artificial. With a repeating cast of objects and spaces, constructed and observed, he paints are both the setting and the focus for viewers willing to explore these nearly familiar places.