Galleries add diversity with mixed media

This First Friday, March 7, brings diversity to Locks, Wexler and Pentimenti art galleries in Old City. Gazing at the same old medium of work all night is out of the question, since three upbeat exhibitions display everything from blown glass to chicken wire to photography.
At the Locks Gallery, two artists’ works – with no common theme involved – will be on view for the first time. Lynda Benglis’ Shape Shifters, an exhibition inspired by natural occurrences, consists of three multi-piece series, all of which use different media.

In her first two series, King Pin and Cloud Shadow, Benglis uses the same molds but casts the pieces in silver and polyurethane, respectively. The third series, Ghost Shadow, contains rubberized foam and chicken wire and completes an exhibition examining phenomena like ever-changing cloud structures.

The second exhibition at the Locks Gallery is one that won’t be out of sight for long. Neysa Grassi’s Losing and Finding is a series of paintings inspired by David Sylvester’s 1997 book Looking at Giacometti. Grassi’s understanding of Sylvester’s description of sculptures and portrait paintings is evident in her tactile canvases, which heighten the sense of touch and sight.
A more fragile exhibit by glass artist Tim Edwards will be on display at the Wexler Gallery. Best known for his simple hand-blown and wheel-carved pieces, Edwards shares the spotlight with mixed-media fiber artists Donna Rosenthal and Wendy Wahl.

Edwards’ sculptural pieces, often shown in pairs, are canvases for asymmetrical fields of color and design. The pieces tease the viewer’s perception of positive and negative space with their dually abstract forms that often mimic natural patterns.

For a taste of more traditional media, the Pentimenti Gallery will feature three artists with three distinct themes. Kiki Gaffney will showcase Components, a series of paintings on mylar, paper and Plexiglas. Gaffney’s work centers around the balance she finds in everyday life. The work’s mood derives from natural images juxtaposed with geometric shapes and designs. Gaffney begins with detailed black and white sketches and adds bright, colorful shapes to provide balance.

Don’t get your eyes checked just yet – Becoming Blurred by Roberley Bell, the second exhibition at the Pentimenti Gallery, is quite an illusion. To merge reality and imagination, the showcase combines sculptures of pigmented fiberglass and foam with inflatable birds and preserved butterflies. Bell compares the man-made with the natural, exploring this relationship through her mixed-media work.

The last exhibition at the Pentimenti Gallery has an air of controversy – Signe Vad challenges today’s media and government in While We Swallow Deception. Vad’s contemporary photographs portray the daily news and recent events. This political showcase acts as a social critique that reflects Vad’s feelings about current life in the Western world, as well as her thoughts on globalization and America’s suffocating media.

Carlene Majorino can be reached at

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