April First Friday Picks

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 30, 2011

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It's all Greek to me: Tattoo artist Carla Hopkins brings Nick Gleckman's bold and ckeeky sketches to life.

Artopolis at Portside Parlor

It is widely acknowledged that the Japanese were the first to perfect the most sophisticated methods for inscribing works of art onto the body. Carla Hopkins of Portside Parlor has become a master of this style. Together with boyfriend and artistic partner-in-crime, Nick Gleckman, Hopkins has put together a series worthy of the gods—a modern tribute to Greco-Roman mythology. Ten paintings, as well as additional study sketches, will adorn the walls while DJ Tom B. spins and burlesque performers shimmy. Beyond her nine-year tattooing career, Hopkins is a formally trained artist, having attended the University of the Arts as a sculpture major. Gleckman, on the other hand, is a self-taught phenomenon who drew early inspiration from comic-book characters. The two complement each other to vibrant completion as Gleckman sketches and Hopkins paints. “Nick and I have a very healthy level of artistic competition,” Hopkins says, “but in collaboration, we play to each other’s strengths.” As adept with a brush as she is with a needle, Hopkins brings to life Gleckman’s fascinatingly cheeky sketches with the same bold contrast of colors and precise shading she uses to adorn her clients’ skin. Pieces featuring classic idols like Pan and Persephone get quirky titles like “My Boyfriend Seduces the Harvest Moon” and “An Easy Choice.” The show’s lively mermaid may “Command the Crimson Seas,” but together Hopkins and Gleckman command attention. (Allison Krumm)

7pm. Portside Parlor, 30 S. Second St. 215.922.1313. bodygraphics.com

“Common Place” at Extra Extra

The ladies are taking over Extra Extra this month, transforming the white-walled alternative space into a lady cave—a den of decor and comfort without, I’m guessing, a big-screen TV. “Common Place,” a collaborative sculptural installation by Beth Brandon, Luren Jenison and Samantha Margherita, is interactive. And it has to be, because any good lounge space has comfortable outcroppings on which to lean, sit or lie. But since this is also an art installation and not an IKEA showroom, there’s lots of stuff to look at, pick up and shake. The show’s theme is nature—specifically what role it plays in our increasingly domesticated lives. To prove the point, there won’t be just potted plants in the cave; the artists will inject some real nature into it. Will there be a real Bambi in the gallery, a la Joseph Beuys, who in 1974 set up temporary digs in a New York gallery—complete with a coyote? Check the opening to see. (Roberta Fallon)

6-10pm. Through April 24. Extra Extra, 1524 Frankford Ave. 301.412.7547. eexxttrraa.com

“Night is a Girl” at Tiger Strikes Asteroid

Theresa Saulin, a local artist whose recent works are on view this month at Tiger Strikes Asteroid, evokes both biological systems and man’s predilection for intrusion. “Night is a Girl” showcases the artist’s astonishing aptitude for translating a theme into disparate mediums. Her earthenware sculptures are beautiful yet harrowing mutations of human and botanical forms: Child-sized limbs and heads sprout from masses that replicate the texture of sea sponges or coral-like tubes. Spiraling into curves that suggest some recursive mathematical formula guiding Saulin’s hand, these wall-mounted constructions produce a hypnotic calm, all the while overshadowed by their unsettling insinuations of monstrous metamorphoses. The unexpected synthesis of cast-off doll parts and vegetal growths is at once a fascinating novelty and an alarming anomaly, the sort of artifact one might have uncovered from an Old World cabinet of curiosities. Nevertheless, the pale ceramic surface implies a long-hardened relic—a fossil from some unknown time and place that forces the viewer to confront the frightening yet intangible possibility of organic or engineered corporeal transformations. The delicate ink outlines of her drawings suggest a human reinterpretation of microscopic forms—a guide to navigating some complex molecular process. By obscuring whole bodies of evidence, Saulin demands a close examination of her diagrams, which like nearly every natural phenomenon, elude the viewers’ total comprehension. (Lucy McGuigan)

6pm. Through May 1. Tiger Strikes Asteroid. 319A N. 11th St., 4th Floor. 484.469.0319. tigerstrikesasteroid.com

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