Emotion gets a jolt of electricity at local galleries

From nightclub portraits to shocking gadgetry, prepare to experience the arts like never before at this month’s First Friday. The exhibits at three glamorous galleries – 222gallery, Painted Bride and Projects Gallery – promise unbeatable, unmatchable shows.

Emotion is sure to run wild for “Ecstasy and Devotion,” a series of pencil and charcoal drawings by Ellen Depoorter, showcased at 222gallery. Depoorter uses photographs of concert and nightclub inhabitants as the basis for her work, finding intimacy in the mundane and astonishment in the unaware. Her transition from detailed to seemingly incomplete portraits demonstrates her versatile nature as an artist and creates a feeling of anticipation in the viewer.

Depoorter, who currently lives and works in New York City and Brussels, Belgium, explores a new realm of work in Ecstasy and Devotion. The exhibit closely reflects her sentiments about past cultural and emotional experiences. She emerges as an artist of both perception and reality, which differs from her past work.

“The 222gallery has always prided itself in finding artists that haven’t shown yet,” Raymond Mahieu, 222gallery’s event organizer, said. “Kind of debuting artists.”

In the past, Depoorter’s work explored pornographic, sexual, horrific and even meditative topics and was primarily external. But in “Ecstasy and Devotion,” the artist tries to convey her own personal emotions and thoughts.

Meanwhile, an electrifying exhibition at Painted Bride Art Center assures art enthusiasts that they’ve never seen it all. “Amps, Volts, Ohms and Watts,” a group show at the Vine Street gallery, features six new media artists whose work has been inspired by the mechanics of electricity and computer science.

Set to bring back the close relationship between art and science that existed in medieval times, the “A.V.O.W.” artists – Jeremy Boyle, Pablo Colapinto, Kara Crombie, Max Lawrence, Justin Marshall and Huong Ngo – explore human relationships through their creation of sound sculpture, video art and circuit paintings. They revive and transform obsolete electronics, defunct computer hardware, discarded videos and recycled audio equipment in an attempt to depict true-to-life emotion in their works.

Eco-consciousness isn’t just a trend in clothes anymore – the six artists opt to reuse technological waste and non-degradable materials. Instead of accumulating unused electronics, these innovators collect unrecyclable materials and transform them into pieces of artwork.

In order to aid in the understanding of their artistic processes, many of the artists became educated in fields such as electrical science, circuit building, computer programming, audio hardware, robotics and radio technology. Amps, Volts, Ohms and Watts is for everyone – not only does it feature an eclectic variety of contributors, but its audience ranges from the artsy to the curious to the just plain nerdy.

A little further down the road in Northern Liberties, four Latina women celebrate the fabulous, famous Frida Kahlo at the Projects Gallery. “Frida and Me: Common Threads” celebrates Kahlo’s heritage and the intertwining cultures of female Latina artists.

Doris Nogueira-Rogers, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Marilyn Rodriguez-Behrle and Marta Sanchez -four artists from different backgrounds and artistic styles – unite at this exhibit inspired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s upcoming centennial celebration of Frida Kahlo, which will be shown from Feb. 20 to May 18.

The work of these four artists reflects a personal yet universal experience for each, connecting Latina women from all parts of the globe. Their vibrant work symbolizes individual experiences involving gender, identity, and culture.

Head east this Friday to experience art in some of its most raw forms: dark, bright and metallic. And don’t worry – if seeing these exhibits doesn’t make you feel artistically inept, it will trigger more motivation than you’ve ever known.

Carlene Majorino can be reached at carlene.majorino@temple.edu.

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