August First Friday Picks

Artie Vierkant and Constant Dullaart are a must-see.

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Aug. 3, 2010

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Photo by Ranjoo Prasad


Once a bit of a Dead Man’s Gulch for photography, Philadelphia has spawned four dedicated silver gelatin or C-print venues since 2005, including the blue-chip Gallery 339 and three membership cooperatives: Project Basho, Philadelphia Photo Art Center and recent Fairmount arrival the Light Room. “Redux,” a debut show of Light Room members’ work, opens at Third Street Gallery this Friday. Organized by Light Room’s Al Wachlin Jr., who’s also a Third Street Gallery member, the show is a democratic mix, with travel and architecture shots, portraits, landscapes and more. Wachlin was an award winner in the Print Center’s 2010 international juried photo exhibition for his deadpan photos of quonset hut sheds, which explored weird American architecture in depopulated spaces. Tony Rocco, a longtime chronicler of Philadelphia’s Latino community, creates beautiful, empathetic portraits. Painter Sean Wholey is also a travel photographer whose prints bespeak a painter’s delight in bright colors. As they operated under the radar for a number of years, the Light Room in their new, concrete space is a welcome addition to the scene. (Roberta Fallon)

Through Aug. 29
3rd Street Gallery
58 N. Second St.


Tiger Strikes Asteroid, the artist-run, artist-curated exhibition space that shares an address with Vox Populi, will be holding the opening reception for “Plan,” a collection of works by Philadelphian and 2002 Tyler MFA graduate Thomas Vance. Vance, whose work has been featured in four group exhibitions at Fleisher-Ollman Gallery over the past decade, makes three-dimensional pieces such as his amorphous, painted-cardboard geodesics, which recall vegetation in form and Crayola in hue. Vance draws attention to the artifice of painting by covering the cardboard with thick brushstrokes that occasionally evoke wood grain—a nod to late Cubism. The purposefully artificial-looking objects reference natural forms, and they’re little microcosms of the human desire to tame and replicate nature. In the last few years, the artist has added a number of ink drawings to his portfolio, some of which were featured in Seraphim Gallery’s acclaimed “Let’s Go Enjoy Nature!” exhibit last month. His work on paper also turn on themes of nature and control; the recent Nikwai series juxtaposes wood-grain motifs with round figures that evoke the eponymous Japanese topiaries. (Lucy McGuigan)

Through Aug. 29.
Tiger Strikes Asteroid
319 N. 11th St.

Artie Vierkant + Constant Dullaart

The Internet has made any fool with a flip cam and a ukulele an artist. YouTube teems with the masturbatory short films and webcam navel-gazing of the wireless masses, and blogs swarm like locusts. But if the web is an established venue for “art,” it’s been largely untapped as a medium for it. This month at Extra Extra, Constant Dullaart and Artie Vierkant use the Internet as canvas, palette and gallery, warping its iconography and working through and underneath its networks. The two artists—who developed the show together but have never met in person—have been mysterious about the exact content of the exhibit, offering only a bare-bones website ( and links to before-the-fact reviews as clues for what to expect. But follow their internet Reese’s trails a bit and hints emerge: Vierkant’s collaged videos and Dullaart’s virtual galleries of Duchampian readymades, links to empty domains and nowhere sites (including, wryly, crawling with parasitic ads and stock photos. Both artists have used the internet as a muse before: Vierkant recreated the histogram curves of video stills in Styrofoam, Dullaart modeled the spin of YouTube’s loading wheel, the creep of the player’s red bar, and the bouncing kaleidoscope of a DVD player with paper, paint, a spotlight, and his own hands. The content of the exhibit may still be murky, but Dullaart and Vierkant’s modi operandi of finding art in the internet’s vast banality has been interesting in the past, and is probably going to be interesting now. (Lauren Smith)

Through Aug. 29
Extra Extra
2222 Sepviva St.

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