“I want to work directly with the subject as much as possible. Most of my painting sites are familiar to me. My goal is to keep finding new subjects to paint, in the city and elsewhere, with a beautiful sense of light and some bit of life.”
- Larry Francis
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to feature a solo exhibition by Larry Francis, a much-beloved painter of the Philadelphia regional scene. Francis is a thirty-year veteran of the Gross McCleaf roster and has consistently painted engaging, everyday scenes of identifiable neighborhood locales. You Are Here is another achievement in his pursuit, featuring over twenty new landscape and cityscape paintings of sites mostly within fifty miles of the Schuylkill.
Beyond his virtuous handling of painting and sensitivity to the color of light, Francis has a way of finding the charm in quotidian imperfection. His sidewalks have cracks, and his street signs are crooked. Yet, regardless of the defects, there is tangible warmth and familiarity. The dated restaurant advertising, vine-covered walls, and corner store bodegas may be accurate reflections of a routine place, but it is the place we call home. Even the figures in Larry’s scenes are unassuming and regular. Francis is everyman’s artist. He has found a way to deliver what is commonplace, as he says, “...with a beautiful sense of light and some bit of life”.
Francis studied painting at PAFA, where he was awarded the J. Henry Schiedt European Traveling Scholarship in 1970. He has received numerous awards, including the Julius Hallgarten Prize from the Academy of Design, New York, the Mary Butler Award from the Fellowship of PAFA, the Charles Knox Smith Founders Prize at the Woodmere Art Museum, and a Prize for Painting at Cheltenham Art Center. His work is in many public and private collections, including the Noyes Museum of New Jersey, Woodmere Museum in Chestnut Hill, and the Federal Reserve Bank, Philadelphia. Francis is represented by Gross McCleaf Gallery.
“I put a lot of care into the surface texture of the painting. It must set the tone or add subtext to a painting on a visceral level. It’s a main part of seeing the painting.
- Ted Walsh
A devoted realist, Ted Walsh paints familiar rural scenes and curious portraits of unnamed characters in his solo exhibition, Out Here On Our Own. His quiet works hum with an uncanny undercurrent, inviting the viewer to complete a mysterious story only partially revealed within the picture.
Similar to the setting for a film, the structures within Out Here On Our Own create a mood and have a personality of their own. Farm houses stand on lonely, barren landscapes and birds swoop from above, perhaps searching for mice or carrion in the crunchy fields of dead grass. Although there is no indication of disrepair, the buildings feel empty. The structure in The Red Barn lacks any doors or windows, while other façades have no roads or driveways leading to them. Walsh’s figurative paintings also have a cinematic quality to them as the subjects appear suspended in a state of frozen contemplation; arrested in the midst of an ongoing activity. Some stare at unknown objects that lie just outside the scope of the painting, leaving few hints at the sitter’s fixation.
Walsh utilizes traditional painting methods with particular attention to the quality of the paint application. He layers both transparent and opaque pigments on a burnt sienna underpainting, providing a warm glow to his neutralized palette. The texture of the paint is surprisingly rich and varied, while the expressive brushwork adds another dimension to the narrative. Thinly brushed areas expose sepia tones beneath, evoking a kinship to works of the old masters, and creating a sense of timelessness in each image.
Ted Walsh exhibits paintings throughout the United States, and his work is in both public and private collections around the world. He graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia with a MFA and earned his BA from Drew University in Madison, NJ. Walsh was awarded two Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grants as well as First Prize in Painting at Art of The State at The State Museum of Pennsylvania. He has twice been the resident artist at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, PA, once at Rocky Neck Artist Colony and the First State National Historical Park in the Brandywine Valley. Walsh has been a professor, visiting artist speaker, critic and workshop artist at various colleges and art centers throughout the northeastern United States. He lives and works in New Jersey.
Gross McCleaf Gallery is pleased to host Centerpiece, marking Howie Lee Weiss’ first major exhibition in Philadelphia in thirty years. The exhibit will feature a selection of new works from his Centerpiece and Nature series in a variety of sizes and formats. Weiss' framed, vine charcoal works on paper depict stylized imagery crafted with his exacting and heartfelt touch. The Centerpiece Series - some bursting with growth, others sublimely trim - portrays positive, celebratory compositions.
Narratives unfold in Weiss’ large-scale drawings, often including plants, birds, fruits, and humans. Figures investigate their surroundings, curiously prodding at holes in the ground or peering skyward at the heavens, evoking a sense of wonder and enchantment. In smaller works, Weiss challenges his imagination by engaging in rigorous investigations that explore the possibilities for his imagery. Wall ensembles of small drawings display subtle variations of cups, fauna, grids, and simple landscape features. Each drawing is fully and thoughtfully perfected, yet different from the next. The collections highlight the infinite opportunities for variety that exist even amongst a narrowly defined set of formal parameters.
Weiss’ relationship with his materials is an important feature of the time-intensive process that constitutes his work. Soft, warm, and supple, vine charcoal is a prehistoric drawing tool that artists have utilized since antiquity. From cave paintings to the drawing classrooms of today, the humble stick of charcoal persists as a fundamental material; a burned branch that has been carbonized by exposure to high temperatures in low-oxygenated environments. Weiss takes the application of this vine charcoal to new heights in his drawings on Lenox 100, an American-made cotton paper. He slowly develops his imagery in a process of building up and wiping away charcoal lines. Moving from a gestural stage into a perfected and precise image, a chronicle of the undertaking remains somewhat visible between the clean edges of finalized forms. In the end, Weiss’ drawings are iconic and timeless, celebrating curiosity, investigation, and wonder.
Weiss is a Pennsylvania native who currently lives and works in Baltimore. He earned his MFA from Yale University and his BFA from MICA. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally in New York, Washington D.C., Italy and Japan. Weiss is a longstanding professor at MICA in Baltimore and also MICA's Summer Program in Italy. Weiss has also served as visiting professor at Princeton University and faculty at Chautauqua Institute. Howie Lee Weiss is newly represented by Gross McCleaf Gallery.