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GMG Presents: Kati Gegenheimer: Stars Align, Sterling Shaw: Unreliable Narrator + Ed Bing Lee: Festivity

“I was here.
You were here. 
I am here. You are here.
Stars aligned.
Stars align.”

In her paintings, Kati Gegenheimer uses color, pattern, decoration, and symbolism as ways to express love, ritual, and radical sentimentality. Her sensitivity to touch and brushwork on the canvas as a love letter to being present in a moment; asking us to slow down to see the everyday magic that we often only glance out of the corner of our eye  - a shimmer, a twinkle, a cloud passing in the blue sky, a butterfly hovering to look at you.  Gegenheimer emphasizes this need to be present in the moment.  She writes:

Time stopped when you entered the room.
You are here for a reason, at this very moment.
Some would say it is luck, others would say it was meant to be.”

The title of the show, Stars Align is particularly appropriate since the works in this exhibition were made in the winter of 2020 and spring of 2021 - shortly after Gegenheimer moved back to Philadelphia, just as the pandemic was coming to an end and at the time the opportunity for Gegenheimer’s first solo exhibition came together. It was important to the artist that this inaugural show took place in Philadelphia, given her personal history in the city.  The artist says, “In nature, stars don’t really align but in a metaphorical sense, situations do come together like magic. When this happens, and you can recognize it, it can be like music, it can be like a painting.  When the elements come together harmoniously, they can transform into something completely new.”

Gegenheimer received her BFA in Printmaking and Art History from Tyler School of Art and Architecture in 2007 and her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale School of Art in 2013. Her most recent group exhibitions include Good Pictures, curated by Austin Lee at Jeffrey Deitch, NY, NY and In Between the Lines, curated by Karen Tepaz + Jason Segall, Steuben Gallery at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. An excerpt from a larger research project about Painters and Teaching was recently included in Precog Volume 6, titled On Teaching, Art and Webs, Kati Gegenheimer & Jenny Snider. Stars Align is Gegenheimer’s first solo exhibition. She is newly represented by Gross McCleaf in Philadelphia, PA. Gegenheimer lives and works in Philadelphia.


Bible stories, nursery rhymes, and references to mythology intermingle in Sterling Shaw’s dream-like narratives. While his approach to surface and media is varied, Shaw’s dedication to storytelling is apparent throughout the entire body of work. In many cases, the protagonists find themselves swept into mysterious situations and settings, as forces of nature factor into the stories.  Shaw’s larger-than-life figures inhabit and stride through their environments like giant deities; however, they are deities with human flaws. Not wanting to be strictly allegorical, Shaw seeks a reaction to his subject matter that invokes a shifting interpretation depending on the individual associations made by each viewer.

Shaw says, “My early life was overflowing with wonderful strong women. Women are the  ‘heroes’ in my life: my support, my teachers, my wise counselors, my advocates…The women in my paintings are deities - major, minor, lesser, semi, and demi, similar to the gods of ancient  Greece. The divine figures of my paintings usually have their faces covered, as a viewer may  only be permitted to see her face with her permission.”

In his recent work, Shaw has further focused on drawing in his painting practice. His initial charcoal images were derived from a stream of consciousness approach, allowing the figure to be revealed.  Later in his process, Shaw incorporates collage techniques where he juxtaposes unconnected objects and settings and the final painting emerges.  Regardless of the medium, Shaw’s skillful hand and meticulous eye for the human form is always present as he masterfully moves among aqueous media, charcoal, Conté crayon, and ink. 

Sterling Shaw is a product of Philadelphia’s public school system. He received his Certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts in 2004 and MFA in 2020. His work has been exhibited at The Painting Center New York, The Woodmere Art Museum, Delaware  Center For Contemporary Art, Rosenfeld Gallery, The Main Line Art Center, Seraphin  Gallery, Artists House Gallery, and Gross McCleaf Gallery. His work belongs to various private and public collections, including the permanent collection of The Woodmere Art  Museum, the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Petrucci  Family Foundation Collection. This is Shaw’s first solo exhibition with Gross McCleaf.


Ed Bing Lee’s intricate, knotted sculptures are elegant, humorous, and festive. Gross McCleaf is pleased to exhibit a grouping of work from several series created over the course of the last 17 years. Some from the “Delectable Series” playfully depict food, while works from the “Chawan” series appear as functional objects, bowls, and cups - chawan literally meaning “tea bowl” in Chinese. While Lee constructs each object in detail, the work immediately presents as soft, threaded sculpture rather than trompe l'oeil or facsimile. Challenging our expectations about the world, the artist plays with textures in ways that are reminiscent of Claes Oldenburg’s “soft sculptures”.

Drawn by the immediacy of the process and the satisfaction of an art form that is reliant on meticulous handwork, Lee has perfected his painstaking knotting practice over a career spanning more than 40 years. The artist constructs each sculpture out of thousands of tiny knots from various kinds of thread, ribbon, and lacing. To create shapes, Lee alters the tension of the thread, changes the style of knot, or selects a different material. Lee likens the additive nature of his process to the painting style of pointillism, most known through the works of George Seurat who created painted forms through the repetition of small, dot-like brushstrokes.

Born in 1933, Ed Bing Lee started his career as a commercial fabric designer in New York and Philadelphia. He later taught at Moore College of Art and Design, University of the Arts, and the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Lee is the recipient of numerous awards including the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship, the Farelli Award for Excellence in Fiber, and a Pew Fellowship in Crafts. His work has been exhibited nationally and is included in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Daphne Farago Fiber Arts Collection, and the Franklin Mint in Los Angeles. This is Lee’s first solo exhibition with Gross McCleaf Gallery.