April's First Friday Openings Showcase a Riot of Color and Texture

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Apr. 3, 2012

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Stranger Things Have Never Happened at Gallery 309

If you’ve watched Resurrect Dead: The Mystery Of The Toynbee Tiles—Philadelphian Jon Foy’s film about the bizarre tiles embedded in numerous streets in Philadelphia and around the country—then you know Justin Duerr. He’s the guy who’s obsessed with finding the elusive tiler and who leads the wild investigation that unfolds. (If you haven’t seen it, Gallery 309 is screening Resurrect Dead on April 13 and 27.) A similar spirit of wonder is alive in Duerr’s drawings, many of which depict fantastical lands and cityscapes where humans and unusual creatures converge. Gallery 309’s exhibit of Duerr’s work includes 13 large drawings made with Sharpies, colored pens and highlighters, and a series of smaller drawings requiring a magnifying glass to see. “The story started around 1995, with roots as far back as 1986,” Duerr says about the narrative running through the large pieces. “It started out pretty violent, and then turned into a more nuanced tale about the relationship between some basically immortal warrior-queens who try to subvert the forces that caused primordial cosmic suffering, and also they’re architects who build actual utopian cities with just their thoughts.” The smaller works are designed to force people to pay attention and, as Duerr says, to foster a sort of meditative trance akin to the one he experienced drawing them. “The flood of detail,” he says, “causes an experience perhaps more akin to looking through a kaleidoscope than a magnifying glass.” (Elliott Sharp)

Fri/6, 6-9pm. Through April 30. Gallery 309, 309 Cherry St. 464.483.3309. gallery309.com

Phoning It In From Yogyakarta at Space 1026

Yes, Yogyakarta is a real place. Located on the island of Java—the most populated island in Indonesia—Yogyakarta is considered to be the center of artistic life in the country. And while the work of young contemporary Indonesian artists remains largely unknown overseas, the commercial and DIY art scene in Java actually rivals that of many European and American cities. During a recent trip to the country, local installation artist and photographer Lee Tusman was so overwhelmed by its flourishing DIY youth art scene, he’s now invited several young Javanese artists to phone in their work (via the Internet) to have it printed and showcased here in Philly. The exhibit, which Tusman hopes will be the first of many, features the work of more than 10 different artists active in a variety of mediums—from contemporary painting and drawing to photography and screenprinting. This includes the politically driven cartoonlike posters from the underground art collective Taring Padi, and Wedhar Riyadi’s vibrant punk-rock inspired paintings. Drexel University Professor Brent Luvaas, who has toured the region extensively documenting their DIY subculture, will also be contributing a slideshow of his photographs of street wear and street life in Java. (Nicole Finkbiner)

Fri/6, 7pm. Through April 27. Space 1026, 1026 Arch St. 215.574.7630. space1026.com

Threaded Interface at Grizzly Grizzly

With all the textile art exhibitions that have cropped up across the city over the past month in conjunction with FiberPhiladelphia, Threaded Interface certainly has an innovative edge. The collaborative, interactive installation of Detroit-based artists Annica Cuppetelli and Cristobal Mendoz, combines reactive video projections with physical structures, turning fabric from a flat plane into a three-dimensional form. The entire gallery space will be filled with fields of vertical and parallel lines made of accumulations of synthetic fiber and illuminated with a video projection generated through a custom software program. What exactly is this “interactive” element, you ask? Well, the physical movements of the audience are registered by a video camera that feeds its image to the computer, dictating the direction and strength of the moving lines. Meanwhile, the physical lines of the installation remain motionless—hence creating three different “threaded” interfaces: between the viewer and computer; between the real and the virtual; and between the foreground and the background. (N.F.)

6pm. Through April 28. Grizzly Grizzly, 319 N. 11th St. grizzlygrizzly.com

Tropico Post–Apocalyptic at Extra Extra

Always welcoming of fresh and unconventional artwork, Extra Extra’s featured works this month aim to expose the connection between feelings of apocalypse and the idea of the tropical “getaway.” Although this may sound like a somewhat convoluted concept, the imagery it elicits is pretty straightforward: destruction, fear, hopelessness. With a rather diverse group of artists having been invited to showcase their work, you can expect an interesting collection of interpretations, including Rachel de Joode’s wonderfully absurd installations and sculptures, Erin M. Riley’s surprisingly provocative hand-woven tapestries and Alex Lucas’ dismal depictions of urban landscapes. (N.F.)

Fri/6, 6pm. Through April 29. Extra Extra, 1524 Frankford Ave. 301.412.7547. eexxttrraa.com

Out of Nigeria at Tribal Home

Art represents only a small fraction of Fatima Adamu’s creative gifts. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in geography and urban studies from Temple, the 30-year-old spent three years working as a city planner and urban designer. Meanwhile, over the years, the self-taught painter has found success as a dancer, singer, model and, currently, a yoga instructor. Born in Philadelphia and raised in Nigeria, Adamu is largely inspired by the summers she spent as a child helping her father harvest crops on his farm in the West African city of Kaduna. In her paintings, she channels the sight and feelings of the rich soil running through her fingers with matte, dense textures. Incoportating her professional career, Adamu also uses detailed line-work reminiscent of architectural drawings and anatomical illustrations. And giving her artwork even greater depth, Adamu will celebrate the exhibit’s opening by performing songs in her native Nupe language. (N.F.)

Fri/6, 7:30pm. Through April 30. Tribal Home, 56 N. Third St. 215.592.4215.

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1. Anonymous said... on Apr 6, 2012 at 12:21PM

“This First Friday event page is very incomplete. You are missing all the fun that is happening in Fishtown at The Hex Factory.”

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