Since the advent of cities, those with the means have escaped during the steamy summer months. But what of those who remain? For the months of June and July, Projects Gallery presents “Summer in the City”, a group show resulting from an open call to artists from the greater Philadelphia and Delaware Valley region. The resulting artists run the gamut from current students to established, mid-career artists.
Frequently galleries close or reduce their operating hours under the assumption that the sticky days and hot nights leave no audience for art. Projects Gallery believes that, for the peoples that remain, the thirst for expression is not diminished by the change of season. The work in this exhibition is a template of patient visual critique of the experience rather than simple jubilation. “Summer in the City” celebrates these die-hard urbanites and is reflective of their myriad experience.
Artists include Jennifer Baker, Henry Berkowitz, Aubrie Costello, Linda Dubin Garfield, Conor Fields,Ashley Flynn, Adam Lovitz, Daniel Petraitis, Bobby Rosenstock, Martha Savery, Allen Spencer and Deborah Imler, Fay Stanford, Jayne Surrena, Mat Tomezsko, Andrew Wapinski, Tamsen Wojtanowski and others.
With a broadly interpretive topic and locale constraint, a curious sub-theme emerged. Many of the works seem to observe the destructive nature of humanity on their environment with an air of detachment. In some works, a nearly anthropological or documentarian voice is expressed. A sense of urban decay extends from the abstract to the figurative, from literal crumbling buildings and abandoned lots to the reflexive decay of those who inhabit these settings. Many of these works hint at questioning the role of the urbanite in their treatment of their space, their peers and their community. This undercurrent energizes the collective voice of city dwellers, strengthening a conversation beyond the expected summery escapism.
Emerging from their wintry cocoon, Philadelphians take to the streets and stoops, bikes and bars, parks and playgrounds. Much of the featured art shows people outside of their homes, in the environment of the city and the resultant interaction between the two. Each of these varied artists lend a perspective to what summer in the city can mean in all the positive, negative and observationally neutral positions. Including photography, print, glass, sculpture, collage, works on paper, mixed media installation, as well as both figurative and abstract work --- there is something for everyone in this firmly Philadelphian show.
“Summer in the City” will be on display June 5 – August 1, 2009. There will be an artist opening reception First Friday June 5th from 6 - 9 p.m. The opening will embody the energy of a backyard keg party as we celebrate our own summer in the city. The reception is free and open to the public.