Reviews

“Begin Where You Are” at Icebox Project Space

Philadelphia

Shelley Spector, Common, 2012, reclaimed fabric, metal, buttons, and thread, 18" x 12" x 1".  NEIGHBORING STATES/COURTESY BRIDGETTE MAYER GALLERY, PHILADELPHIA

Shelley Spector, Common, 2012, reclaimed fabric, metal, buttons, and thread, 18" x 12" x 1".

NEIGHBORING STATES/COURTESY BRIDGETTE MAYER GALLERY, PHILADELPHIA

On paper, this group exhibition read like an old-fashioned regional survey. Thirty-two artists from different stages in their careers were each represented by at least one piece. The flat work, including some video, was wall friendly, and the sculpture was unobtrusive. There was no theme to connect the artists besides the fact that they all live and work in Philadelphia.

In person, things got interesting. The Icebox’s space, usually a large, empty rectangle, had been rendered mazelike. Every turn revealed surprising groupings of works by familiar artists like Virgil Marti and Eileen Neff, and newcomers such as Marc Zajack, whose small, kinetic trash sculptures provided the maze with an eerie soundtrack of mechanical whirring. One bend revealed Quentin Morris’s large black circle paintings, and, above them on the outermost walls, Neff’s photograph of clouds. Another put the viewer in a narrow hallway with nothing but one of Kevin Finklea’s minimalist color-block geometric paintings for company.

With Linda Yun’s stack of black construction paper splotched with starbursts of flour, which left us pondering our significance in the universe, and a piece by photographer-sculptor Micah Danges that turned two towels on asphalt into an evocation of beauty in the mundane, “Begin Where You Are” offered a very scenic trip.

A version of this story originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of ARTnews on page 123.

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