From a legendary abstract painter and an up-and-coming installation artist to a master weaver and an established filmmaker, the first few months of 2013 promise to be all about the ladies—and a handful of men who don’t fit the art-world mold. Start the year off right by promising to visit five shows that give great artists their due.
Generations: Louise Fishman, Gertrude Fisher-Fishman and Razel Kapustin
It’s a family thing. Generations contextualizes renowned abstract painter Louise Fishman’s oeuvre in the branches of a creative family tree. Primed for and preceded in painting by her mother, Gertrude Fisher-Fishman, and her aunt, Razel Kapustin, Fishman junior’s legendary body of work is revealed here in a new and intimate light. While Fishman is internationally recognized for her feminist brand of abstract expressionism, her female forebears had quieter, local careers in Philadelphia. Fishman will give an artist talk on Jan. 6.
Through Jan. 6, Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Ave. 215.247.0476. woodmereartmuseum.org
Lenore Tawney: Wholly Unlooked For
In Philadelphia, we get our fiber. There’s the Fabric Workshop and Museum, the Art Alliance’s crafts-focused mission and Fiber Philadelphia, the international biennial of fiber art. Just last year, the ICA presented a stunning retrospective of fiber artist Sheila Hicks, and now, the University of the Arts (in partnership with the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Lenore Tawney Foundation) offers their rejoinder. Lenore Tawney will be the first exhibition of the pioneering fiber artist’s since her death, at the age of 100, in 2007. Tawney is credited with pushing artistic weaving from pictorial tapestries toward more sculptural elements known as “fiberworks.”
Jan. 17-March 2, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, University of the Arts, Anderson Hall, 333 S. Broad St. 215.717.6480. uarts.edu
Tacita Dean: JG
British-born, Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean is known for her poetic, elliptical films, the newest of which will premiere at Arcadia University this February. Commissioned by Arcadia with the support of the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the film puts novelist J.G. Ballard’s short story The Voices of Time (1960) in conversation with Robert Smithson’s earthwork and film, Spiral Jetty (1970); apparently, it’s a conversation about the salt flats of Utah and southern California. The project’s many layers is typical of Dean’s work, although it has been billed as a “radical departure.” Happily, Philadelphians may decide for themselves by comparing JG with a selection of Dean’s other work and influences on view at International House and the Fabric Workshop and Museum.
Feb. 7-April 21. Arcadia University Art Gallery, Arcadia University, 450 S. Easton Rd., Glenside. 215.572.2131. gallery.arcadia.edu
Great and Mighty Things: Outsider Art from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection
It’s always satisfying to see a distinguished survey museum bow before the untrained talent of artists who tend not to fall within the art-historical canon. This groundbreaking exhibition showcasing art from the promised gift of Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz is sure to delight, with homemade constructions engineered from chicken bones, dirt, soot, roofing tin and a host of other humble materials. Further than simply highlighting the strange objects and remarkable talent that can arise outside of art schools, the exhibition also promises to tackle an important question: How does the category “outsider artist” need to be adjusted, updated or reconfigured in an art world that has relied heavily on vernacular materials and pop-cultural forms since the post-war era?
March 3-June 9. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th St. and Benjamin Franklin Pkwy. 215.763.8100. philamuseum.org
Whether it’s a pointed seasonal pairing or just happy serendipity, it seems only fitting that Glasgow-based artist Karla Black’s solo show at ICA will open in the spring. Her palette is vernal, and her constructions are delicate. Rumpled cellophane floats down from the ceiling, plaster confections languish like leftover layer cakes, and pink powder sprays across the floor. Black’s rumpled pastels aren’t treacly but rather dewy (and sometimes gooey; her work often features smeared or dripped cosmetics and toiletries). For her first major museum presentation in the United States, Black will create two site-specific sculptures on the ICA’s second floor.
April 24-July 28. Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th St. 215.898.7108. icaphila.org