Helen Lee: Becloud

Helen Lee: Becloud

Helen Lee has described the content of the works in Becloud as bearing “sentiment on the cusp of visibility.” The act of taking in every detail is a challenge, but it’s not impossible: visitors are invited to linger and scrutinize these objects more intently than they might ordinarily do in a gallery setting. The word “becloud” means to “cause to become obscure or muddled.” Lee’s choice of this word asks us to consider the multiple ways in which her works transmit information through different kinds of semi-permeable barriers: heritage and love through culture and family, language and meaning through the written word, and the aesthetic and ineffable through glass and light.

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Joanna Manousis: Presence in the Past

Joanna Manousis: Presence in the Past

Philadelphia Art Alliance is pleased to present "Presence in the Past," an installation of new and recent work by British-born artist and designer Joanna Manousis. Set in the PAA's first floor galleries, each piece in this exhibition is a work of trompe l'oeil mastery. A vanitas painting that appears to glow from within is actually a cast glass frame containing three-dimensional objects, illuminated by sunlight; mirrored balloons appear vulnerable to bronze arrows; a magpie gazes down at his reflection, recognizing himself in a glass jar that contains shiny objects. Her highly individual approach includes a combination of blown and cast glass, pâte de verre, mirror, and found objects, giving life to an array of works inspired by historic interiors, superstition, and the power of illusion.

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Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen: The Way of Chopsticks

Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen: The Way of Chopsticks

Created by two of China's most acclaimed contemporary artists, the Philadelphia Art Alliance's 2013 centerpiece exhibition will transform the historic Rittenhouse Square mansion into a three-story, multimedia installation that invites viewers to contemplate the similarities and differences between American and Chinese family life. The Way of Chopsticks is supported by the Pew Center for Arts & HeritageThe Mindspring Foundation, and The Asian Cultural Council.

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Sabrina Gschwandtner: Sunshine and Shadow

Sabrina Gschwandtner: Sunshine and Shadow

Sunshine and Shadow is the first solo exhibition of Sabrina Gschwandtner’s film quilts in Pennsylvania. The exhibition features six quilts constructed from 16 mm film. The works are displayed in framed light boxes, engaging the notion of filmic suture through a reconfigured, backlit form. The show is based on "Sunshine and Shadow" quilts, which take their name from a concentric diamond pattern created by squares of color in dramatically intertwined light and dark hues. There are compelling connections between this body of work and Philadelphia’s status as a global center of textile production until the general decline of US manufacturing that began in the 1960s, as well as Pennsylvania’s rich heritage of quilt-making by Amish and Mennonite women.

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Emily Spivack: Sentimental Value

Emily Spivack: Sentimental Value

Emily Spivack's web-based art project Sentimental Value connects the age-old desire to tell stories through special objects with the easily accessible platform of the Internet. Spivack has recognized a new vernacular mode of expression emerging in the personal narratives accompanying clothing for sale on eBay, which has unintentionally become a repository of surprisingly personal anecdotes and memories. Spivack has been collecting and documenting these stories in all their raw honesty on the Sentimental Value website (sentimental-value.com), and acquiring the objects in the process. This exhibition is the first installation of Sentimental Value in its corporeal form, presenting original source objects alongside the original, unedited text from the listings Spivack found on eBay. A short video narrated by Spivack highlights additional unedited anecdotes along with their corresponding eBay photographs.

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Molly Hatch: Reverie

Molly Hatch: Reverie

For “Reverie,” her first exhibition at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Molly Hatch has created new works inspired by her “continued effort to claim the functional surface of the dinner plate as a painting surface.”

Artist and designer Molly Hatch grew up on an organic dairy farm in Vermont surrounded by a startlingly diverse set of visual influences: the earthy reality of rural life, and the mysterious, disembodied luxury of antique decorative objects from her mother’s family, prosperous Boston merchants who used Chinese export porcelain as ballast in their ships. Inspired by these two seemingly disparate family narratives, Hatch became an artist with a life-long passion for the decorative arts and the dialog between old and new. She has developed a robust studio practice that encompasses both works of art and design for industry, keenly aware of the different concerns and goals of each, while engaging with the ambiguity of objects that seem to exist in both the decorative and fine art realms.

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Legends: Studio Jewelry by Emily Cobb

Legends: Studio Jewelry by Emily Cobb

In her first solo exhibition in Philadelphia, artist Emily Cobb has transformed the PAA’s first floor galleries into a surreal study collection for her studio jewelry, including brooches, neckpieces, and rings—highly original pieces that illustrate modern fairy tales and fables. The title of the exhibition evokes both meanings of the word “legend”: the more common use, referring to stories of mythical beings or events, as well as the term used to describe an illustration, or to explain the symbols on a map. Cobb’s premise and installation concept reflect a desire to situate her work in the storied, wood-paneled galleries of the PAA with the aim of giving visitors the impression that they have been invited into an eccentric and wondrous library.

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Bright Future

Bright Future

Glass is an ancient material whose second life is just beginning. “Bright Future” introduces the public to innovative designs that reflect traditions in glass while also demonstrating its new possibilities.

It is surprisingly easy to ignore glass. From windows and architectural elements to touch screens, incandescent and LED powered lightbulbs, furniture, vases, tableware, and lighting fixtures, when we are indoors, it is all around us. The reasons for glass’s popularity are many, but its key distinguishing characteristic is its unmatched clarity. It is striking how many artists and designers who work in the material characterize their medium of choice not as glass, but as light.

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Mid Century Style and Studio Pottery

Mid Century Style and Studio Pottery

In the 1950s and early 1960s, trends in home furnishings in the United States reflected a complex national mood high hopes and deep anxiety. At once optimistic about economic and technological progress, Americans were also chastened by the pervasive anxiety of the Cold War and the prospect of military conflict with the Soviet Union. It was not unlike the earlier part of this decade: an unprecedented economic boom coupled with unprecedented fear of terrorism. One way in which these impulses were manifested was in the trend for combining the sleek design of manufactured goods with more rustic, pastoral handmade craft objects.

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