At Woodmere's yearly Annual showcase, the jury is in

By Kennedy Allen
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 2 | Posted Jun. 25, 2014

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Smart art at Woodmere: The Woodmere Art Museum’s 73rd Annual Juried Exhibition has a bevy of brilliant work on display through Sept. 1, including this 2011 painting by Colleen Rudolf, titled "I’ll Meet You on the Moon."

Philadelphia is a city well-regarded for its art collections. Distinguished institutions like the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the groundbreaking Moore College of Art have cultivated outstanding talent for decades, while the breathtaking visage of the Philadelphia Museum of Art itself attracts visitors from around the globe, inviting them to take in its rooms of stunning works—and run those rear steps. But while each of these renowned facilities can be counted among the feathers in our civic-artistic cap, too few people (both here and abroad) are aware of Chestnut Hill’s stately Woodmere Art Museum, dedicated solely to the expression and genius of Philadelphia artists.

Originally opening its doors in 1940, the 19th century Victorian mansion and the collection contained within was the passion of Charles Knox Smith. Born and raised in Kensington, Smith managed to do well for himself, despite his modest beginnings, and decided to establish a staggering 2,000-piece collection of art that focused specifically on showcasing his beloved Philadelphia through various mediums. Not only has the Woodmere collection grown since then, but its initial mission of focusing on art and artists from the region has helped it develop a proud niche for itself.

Rachel McCay, Woodmere Art Museum’s assistant curator, chatted with PW about what art lovers can expect from the 2014 Woodmere Annual Juried Exhibition—affectionately known as the Annual—its yearly showcase for which 50 pieces by area artists are selected for display, each using our fair city as a source of inspiration. This year’s juror, Sarah McEneaney of Locks Gallery, painstakingly chose a wide array of mediums and styles to convey what it means to live here.

“There are six different mediums, including paintings, mixed media pieces, sculpture and more,” said McCay. “About 35 percent of the collected work is abstract, 25 percent city and landscape work, while roughly 30 percent falls under portraits or still life. The remaining 10 percent of collected pieces couldn’t be classified at all, lending validity to the breadth and exclusivity of the myriad of talented artists within this city.” 

PW: What are some of the more startling elements of this year’s Annual?
RACHEL MCCAY: There’s a strange balance of happiness and sadness throughout the show. It’s certainly a colorful exhibition, so when you immediately walk into the gallery, you’re taken by the abundance of pinks and greens and yellows, but there’s also a lot of various figures and expansive landscapes that can convey feelings of sadness and loneliness. I think those two threads of the exhibition interact in interesting ways. When you get close and really look, that’s when you see these moments of poignant suffering and introspection, which are mainly expressed through a lot of deep blues and oranges. There’s a lot of figuration as well, lots of recognizable images which is also somewhat welcoming when you walk into the space.

How has the Woodmere Annual impacted your experience living in Philadelphia?
Well, we require the participants to fill out a questionnaire. The questionnaire asks them what artists or what other works of literature there are that have influenced them, what are some of their recent career accomplishments and specifically what their working process is. What the Woodmere Annual does is it makes everyone aware of the artist collective and the current initiatives that are going on throughout the city that I personally would not have been aware of otherwise. By including various members of these different groups or collectives, it gave me a better idea of what was going on in the city. What we wanted to convey with this exhibition and what Sarah hopes that people take away from the exhibition is that it’s a small survey of the contemporary trends in Philadelphia, and that it’s by no means meant to be comprehensive or to say that these are the only paths artists are taking in their careers. But it is certainly a good swath of approaches, styles and conceptual underpinnings that reflect the current artistic trends in this city.

What can people expect from the Annual this year that wasn’t present during previous exhibitions?
Historically, the exhibition was restricted to members, but that changed decades ago. Last year’s exhibition, in particular, featured a lot of paintings about painting and paintings about what the place of an artist is within society. In this year’s exhibition, if anything, I think people can expect more narrative in the work, more autobiographical pieces—lots of figurative and representational work largely, but there is abstract work as well. I’m hesitant to say what people can expect, though, because people should be open to experiencing the various pieces for themselves. 

Through Mon., Sept. 1. Open House is Sat., June 28, noon. Free. Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Ave. 215.247.0476. woodmereartmuseum.org

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1. Anonymous said... on Jun 27, 2014 at 12:58PM

“great article photos video about a 93 year old dutch/american bauhaus-trained painter/sculptor Dick De Groot having a one-person show at SFA gallery in Frenchtown, NJ. (July 1-31), opening reception SAT July 12th, part
of the town-wide Bastille Day Celebration. Article already written.
www.sfagallery.com

if interested email back and I will send a full press release”

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2. glen broemer said... on Jul 26, 2014 at 04:59PM

“The Washington Post ran an article a while back re an ongoing argument between NYPD and the FBI... There isn't any shortage of sting opportunities, given the unending string of lawbreaking in the intelligence community, including their vast corrupt network in Los Angeles and Ventura, stretching into many businesses here, and obviously involving some government employees. I defended a Tax Suit a while back by noting that the entertainment industry had stolen dozens of phrases and ideas from my copyrighted work--many poem titles and lines, and other creative expressions converted directly to film titles. The list of intellectual property violations numbers in the hundreds or thousands, including naming the following from my poems, without my consent or prior knowledge: Vantage Point (2007), Idiocracy (2006), The Aura (Spanish: El Aura) (2005), Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus, Sky High (2005 film), The Perfect Score (2004); The Score, Wake of Death (2004), Torque (2004), You Wish! (2003), (2003), Big Fish ( 2003), The Ring (2002 ), I Am Sam (2001), The Sixth Sense(1999), Beowulf (2007), Gryphon (2007), Stomp the Yard (2007), Made of Honor (2008) Felon (2008), Box Elder (2008) and Fata Morgana (2007) Avatar (2008/2009) Daybreak (2008) Vantage Point (2008). All these words and titles come from Plaintiff’s copyrighted work Tribute Anthology (2007), unmarketed, meaning the information was actually taken directly from my computer or discs. I've filed several federal suits, one of which was in litigation for a decade before the community--through extensive battery and fraud--made false accusations and created new issues to prevent a just public condemnation of the community for eviscerating my rights over the course of decades. The worst liars, and the worst of these criminals--they are actually violating criminal codes daily--are on the right. A good thing to note when you're dealing with the manipulative self-impressed chess player sociopaths in the right wing intelligentsia, never accept the explanation they give you, always go back a step or two in time, and dig a little deeper. They're invariably lying.
The FBI would be quite content to use a citizen as bait in FBI stings over the course of a lifetime. There isn't any shortage of sting opportunities, given the unending string of lawbreaking in the intelligence community, including their vast corrupt network in Los Angeles and Ventura, stretching into many businesses here, and obviously involving some government employees.These parties are all violating RICO , careful lies they believe are legally protected, with an obvious motive to attack an informant. Examine my federal cases, Central District of California Case Numbers, 01-4340, 03-9097, 08-5515, , 10-5193, US Tax Court 12000-07L --though I think you want to view my US Tax Court Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a good account of the day to day assaults, over the course of years.
The intelligence community has framed me and given fraudulent psych profiles to the judiciary over the course of decades 2) the entertainment industry knew it, and quietly reaped the benefits of my creativity, fraudulently sold by the government (something like restitution or illegally seized property), and in fact colluded with the federal government, RICO 3) government and industry have killed my pets and physically attacked me for a decade in an effort to slow my investigation, and to intimidate, RICO II violation 4) government inspectors and FBI--those who were not complicitous, anyway-- have ruthlessly used me in stings against the community and industry, in many cases ensuring i would be harmed by putting me in harm's way against known, repeat offenders--often, I believe, as their own retaliation against me, RICO III 5) all of the above have curtailed my other options and interfered with my relationships in an effort to further their own schemes 6) i've lost a vast amount of intellectual property. my closest relationships, including a few engagements, were destroyed by the manipulations of the above individuals. i haven't been truly free a day in my entire adult life, either manipulation of my options or direct interference with my cognition, usually both..7) some in the judiciary knew, and some should have known, that the allegations against me were contrived and fraudulent, and some have participated in harming me 8) while there is little political support for prosecuting criminal actions that involve half of government, two presidents, Obama and to an extent Clinton, tried to do what is right, right a very corrupt situation. you don't need to be a genius to figure the politics involved, the problems they've faced so doing.9) you probably won't get a denial of any of this if you ask US Senators, and can in fact find letters of support from them as exhibits in my case filings. 10) yet the press has not covered this because? 11) the right has been physically attacking me or harming my pets in connection with every public criticism i've made. These parties are all engaged in RICO conduct, careful lies they believe are legally protected, with an obvious motive to attack an informant. Examine my federal cases, Central District of California Case Numbers, 01-4340, 03-9097, 08-5515, , 10-5193, US Tax Court 12000-07L --though I think you want to view my US Tax Court Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a good account of the day to day assaults, over the course of years. Those in government who support this sort of llegal persecution are invariably lying. Invariably--and that's from someone who spent a decade documenting four decades of lies.”

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