Wexler Gallery presents Thomas Hucker and Thomas Huang

Posted by on April 27, 2010

In the main space, Wexler Gallery presents new works by contemporary studio furniture artists Thomas Hucker and Thomas Huang. The exhibition will run from May 7 through June 26, 2010.

An Opening Reception will take place First Friday, May 7 from 5 – 8pm.

Thomas Hucker’s work focuses on the contextual relationship of his designs and their surroundings. According to the artist, “a piece of furniture’s composition, proportions, and finishes must relate to its surroundings, as furniture does not exist alone.” With a focus on designing and fabricating both functional furniture and sculptural objects, the artist is greatly influenced by traditional European and Asian furniture such as Beidemeir and Ming Dynasty, his aesthetic representing a unique fusion and interpretation of influences.

Thomas Huang’s work attempts to better understand the global condition of cultural mixing through the use of weaving and binding as a metaphor. He explores both traditional and non-traditional techniques and materials. As functional objects, his objects suggest the commonality of our basic human utilitarian needs. As sculpture, they celebrate the diversity of various materials and the intrinsic qualities these materials contain. Combining bamboo, bronze, rattan, wood, steel, and acrylic, his work moves fluidly between studio furniture, contemporary fiber arts, and sculpture.

On the second floor, WALLS at Wexler presents recent works by photographer Lisa Tyson Ennis. Ennis studied studio art and art history at the University of Delaware, while teaching herself photography, a passion she acquired early in life. Through intense workshops with master photographers and by assisting internationally known fine art photographer Michael Kahn, Ennis has developed a unique style of work in which she eloquently explores symbols that tend to touch our primordial senses and evoke a mysterious sense of calm. Working in the ethereal and fleeting half light of dawn and dusk, the artist is able to capture mysterious images that record, over time, that which the eye can not see. Ennis has shown extensively in national group and solo exhibitions. She currently devotes her time primarily to fine art photography and teaches private seminars at her studio in West Chester, PA.

Wexler Gallery is an internationally recognized gallery exhibiting the finest in art and design, located at 201 North Third Street in the historical district of Old City Philadelphia. The gallery is proud to showcase some of the world’s most esteemed artists working in the fields of contemporary glass, paintings, and design, along side emerging talent from these fields.

Wexler Gallery

Guest Blogger: John Welsh (Part 1 of 4)

Posted by Cassandra Hoo on April 27, 2010

Personal projects, Part 1 — Finding ideas

“Photograph what’s important to you.” It was advice given to me by a veteran photographer (thank you David Wells) in my early days as a professional. We were discussing photo ideas before I would travel for an entire summer in the high latitudes of Scandinavia. I didn’t have solid ideas for photo stories during the trip. I was committed to the experience of travel and my escape from small town photojournalism was most important. But the advice, the idea of being open to photograph whatever I found, was solid.


Photographing people in Copenhagen, 1993.

The images I created that summer, in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, were quite different from what I worked on during the early 90’s. I was locked into a format of covering baseball games, holiday parades and community happenings for a small town newspaper. At times it was rewarding, but it also was a creative albatross. News photography should be alive and breathing, not created to fit a format.

In Scandinavia, I had spent over a week in the arctic. I photographed and hiked in the permanent summer light around Norway’s Lofoten Islands. I photographed the play of shadows and sun Stockholm’s Old City. My last days were spent roaming the streets of Copenhagen photographing people. Soon, after adding the new images to my portfolio, I gained several new clients. The new photographs sold my vision and I was sold on the concept of personal work.

Since then, I made sure to explore ideas as often as I could. Not all would develop into complete projects, which was frustrating at first, but I learned that the process of exploring ideas was just as important as the results.

Persistence is also a key to success in creating new projects. I always explore ideas to a very deep level and once I find a groove, I work at an exhausting pace. Another factor was confidence. As I completed new projects, my confidence also grew. Whoever coined the phrase Success Breeds Success, was right on.

In 2001, I had a shot at what would become my first long-term project. On a whim, I traveled to Iceland in the winter darkness. I became fascinated by Iceland and returned in the spring to find amazing landscapes and began a several year project documenting the island. After several exhibits in the U.S. and Canada, I had new identity as a landscape photographer. It was puzzling since I considered myself a photojournalist. But I accepted the new persona and used it to advantage.

Soon enough, I was photographing people again. First, a short project about Philadelphia fire performers, then a series on women’s sports . I revisited the subject of fire — a very tricky series of close-up images of burning flowers.

I’m always asked how I think of these ideas. I can’t answer that question. I don’t really know how and why these ideas appear. I guess it’s something in my subconscious, something that keeps me from the deep sleep I really need, that sends me in these directions.

In March 2010, an online news story pointed me to NASA and the Space Shuttle. In autumn, the shuttle would be retired after 30 years of service. I had always appreciated the space program and as a kid was somewhat of a space geek. I remember creating presentations in elementary school on the comet Kohoutek, which did a celestial drive-by in the mid 70’s. In third grade, I even built a solar eclipse viewer (though my efforts were for naught as the clouds that day blocked the show.) These days, with the exception of watching occasional Sci-Fi (my only thoughts of space), I was out of touch with NASA and its projects.

I started thinking about when I visited the Kennedy Space Center as a kid in the 70’s. I imagined what it could be like to witness a launch. And to entertain myself, I surfed to NASA’s website. There were 4 launches remaining. The next was in early April and only a few weeks away. The others were in May, July and September and were traditionally  busy times for my freelance business.

Could I make it to Florida and get really lucky and see a launch? I had to at least entertain the idea. A window of time when I was traditionally slow (Easter weekend) opened up and I started the What if I went to Florida to see a launch? process of planning. What had been an errant daydream, was now a mission. I was determined to see a launch, and also photograph one.

Next week: The Plan

John Welsh is a freelance photographer in Philadelphia and a vice president for ASMP Philadelphia. His current project, photographing the Delaware River in its entirety, is his latest challenge.

Projects Gallery presents Susan B. Howard

Posted by on April 22, 2010

Projects Gallery is pleased to present “Tipping Point”, the gallery’s inaugural exhibition of work by Susan B. Howard. Well known for her intricate oil paintings, Howard creates dense populations of imaginary creatures fraught with color and texture. By etching into many layers of paint, she crafts a very personal visual language. The fanciful yet familiar residents in her imagery chatter and interact in their Technicolor landscapes. Often humorous but never silly, these works also reflect the artist’s concern for our environment and the health of our planet. Her art is a peek into a better world she wants us all to share. Howard invites us into this world to “talk with the animals”.

Tipping Point will run May 7 – 29, 2010 with a First Friday reception May 7th from 6-9 pm and an Artist’s Reception Saturday, May 15th from 5-7 pm. Both receptions are free and open to the public.

Howard earned her M.F.A. from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her work is included in several private and public collections, including The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and WHYY-TV12. The artist was chosen to provide the artwork for a new book by Lexie Brockway Potamkin entitled “What is Love, Messages from the Heart”. The book will be released in June, 2010. She will also be featured in a new book called “100 Mid-Atlantic Artists” to be released later in 2010.

Projects Gallery is located at 629 N. 2nd St. in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties section. A preview of works may be viewed on the gallery’s website at www.projectsgallery.com.