Sidling In To Side Street
Always on the look out for unique art experiences, I followed a Face Book “open studio” notice for painters Trip Denton and Harvey Weinreich on Sunday, Nov 4, on Chestnut Street in the city. What made this notice different was their invitation to bring art work and share conversation.
I thought “salon” - artists getting together to talk art.
First thing I did was call Carol.
Off we went ---
Trip and Harvey are both PAFA alum from the mid 70’s and have been painting for quite some time with “day jobs” to fill in the blanks.
They have studios across the hall from each other on the 2nd floor.
Their work shows a maturity and considered quality yet retains the freshness of trying out new things.
Harvey likes to mix it up. His larger canvases combine different paint qualities - brush work, spray, thick poured areas - and things to add texture.
I especially liked the subtle use of pieces of carpet.
There is an ambiguity of time and place, within the specific narrative.
His small 4”x6” and 5”x7” panels combine ephemera, photos and paint.
They were presented as a grid on the wall, asking to be seen as both a collective scene and individual vignettes. Nice. We talked
about at what point does spontaneously inserting a variety of materials or a cultural object onto a painting, does it become contrived and cutesy. And how much self censuring the artist does within that (so
labeled) spontaneous moment.
Trip works on 8”x10” panels he calls color studies. They combine hard edge areas of color and painterly brush stroke and letters. I hesitate to call it text, although some of the letters form words, because they are so cut up and jumbled. Yet there are words, and words have meaning.
And when presented in a grid format, they form sentences, paragraphs.
He talked about how he blurs and distorts the letters until their meaning is obscured. I questioned his specific letter choices (words) saying they are as powerfully contextual as any image used by a narrative realistic painter.
He responded his aim is ambiguity.
I was happy to make the drive into town - rewarded by both the art and the conversation.
Side Street Gallery, 812 Chestnut St, 2nd floor, Philadelphia