Philagrafika 2010: Moore College of Art and Design

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Moore college of Art and Design is another site for Philagraphika 2010: Graphic Unconscious series of interrelated exhibitions. In this case, Lorie Mertes, Rochelle F. Levy Director & Chief Curator at the historic visual arts college for women looked to the roots of the institution for conceptual inspiration. As a school has a long tradition of a strong focus on the applied arts, with an emphasis in textiles, Mertes organized a group exhibition of work that specifically investigates the theme of Pattern and Ornamentation. This post is a visual essay of this amazing exhibition with quotes from Lorie Mertes’ curatorial statement.

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The gigantic window graphic and take-away poster are by Gunilla Klingberg.

In Brand New View, Gunilla Klingberg has covered the windows of the college entrance in bright orange vinyl patterns that illuminate the interior of the gallery with vivid patterned light. The large elaborate designs are composed of smaller logos and brands found in supermarkets that have been reconfigured into geometric abstractions that recall Moorish patterns and the designs of Persian carpets and eastern mandalas

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When I heard that Betsabeé Romero was in this show I was very excited to see her tire matrix-print-sculptures in person, and they were very beautiful.

In Mexico City, tires on public transportation vehicles are used well past the absence of any tread, which causes many of the city’s automobile crashes. For her project at Moore, Betsabeé Romero reclaimed these used tires that have caused so many disasters and carved into them, retreading them with images of species of birds native to various countries. The birds take symbolic flight across the walls and ceiling of the gallery on an imprint of the tread that extends from each tire on long sheets of translucent paper that span the height and length of the gallery.

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Regina Silveira’s installation was so totally overwhelming and more beautiful that you might image a room full of giant bugs could be.

In Regina Silveira’s Mundus Admirabilis and Other Plagues, vinyl is incorporated along with screenprinting on porcelain and embroidery on fabric. The installation invokes the mythology of biblical plagues. Instead of locusts, hail, or pestilence, Silveira uses a domestic setting invaded by common pests to suggest that the plagues in our own time are the images that contaminate our everyday existence: crime and violence, degradation of the environment, corruption, and other ills that invade our lives and psyches.

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Virgil Marti is a local art god in Philadelphia and with good reason. His disco-sensual environment is covered in hand-printed wallpaper depicting an intricate skull and bones vanitas pattern and with the fur ottoman and disco ball you will be left totally blissed-out.

Virgil Marti’s window-gallery display of mirror balls, silver Mylar wallpaper, and faux fur is redolent with references to richly decorated Rococo interiors. The effect of silver and white and reflective surfaces creates a slick, cool environment that becomes more “chilling” when bones are revealed to be the underlying patterning in the wallpaper’s surface. The space is populated by floating specters as the image of the viewer is dematerialized into a thousand fragments by the multiple mirrored surfaces.

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Here it is seen from the outside, I would imagine with the silver paper and disco ball it’s amazing at night.

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And lastly (or firstly depending on how you approach the building) is Paul Morrison’s mammoth wall graphic depicting the latest conceptual landscape from this british artist who wears his obsession for print language on his sleeve.

Paul Morrison’s new work at Moore spans the height and length of the college’s 40-foot-long exterior wall. It incorporates found images of trees and shrubs culled from various sources from art history and popular culture that are manipulated, edited, and collaged together to create an oddly populated landscape growing out of the cracks in the sidewalk along 20th Street. A single large tulip springs out in the foreground, a hopeful reminder of the spring yet to come and the persistence of nature.

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Categories: Current Events, Exhibitions


3 Responses to “Philagrafika 2010: Moore College of Art and Design”

  1. fran ames says:

    congratulations! this is an awesome exhibition.

  2. Vivian Clare says:

    Awesome work as usual for Lorie. She is the best!

  3. Fantastic gallery presentations. Congratulations to the artists and the gallery staff for their excellence. The galleries are a source of great pride for the arts community in Philadelphia. They are the finest in the entire region.

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