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The Gravers Lane Gallery in Chestnut Hill has generally positioned itself as a gift shop with gallery space, and the whole place has always been too visually busy for my liking. But her current group show, âAn Exhibition of Obsessional Fiber Arts,â presented as a living room across the gallery, is so emphatically exaggerated it made me smile.
The exhibit, curated by crafts expert Bruce Hoffman, features works in every material imaginable by craft artists from Philadelphia and far beyond – an impressive 40 in total.
I walked in during the setup of the show, with labels yet to come, and really liked what I saw. One artwork that caught my eye is Sue Benner’s super colorful graphic quilt, inspired by Andy Warhol’s flower silkscreens.
Another standout piece is Leslie Grigsby’s charming realistic sculpture of an ocelot head, made of felt, glass beads and glass eyes on a foam backing. The hand-crocheted and twisted tubular pieces by Melissa Maddonni Haims are also a delight.
Until April 15 at Gravers Lane Gallery, 8405 Germantown Ave., 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesdays. at Sat, 11 am-5pm Sun 215-247-1603, or graverslanegallery.com.
Patricia Renee ‘Thomas’ first solo show, “Grapejuice,” to Kapp Kapp, offers an introduction to this young artist whose vivid paintings are inspired by her fascination with devouring beauty preparations to make, as she puts it, ” a presentable black woman Judging by the facial expressions of the main character in her paintings – a replacement for Thomas – she doesn’t agree with the time and work spent keeping up appearances.
Hair is Thomas’ main concern in these works, which are rendered in bright pinks, yellows and blues. Her character is often surrounded by hair products.
In an effort to reflect the time and labor spent on hair care, Thomas made his own brushes with the synthetic hair used for the braids. (The show’s title comes from the grape juice Thomas’s mother gave him when she was a child when she had her hair braided in a salon).
Thomas is well acquainted with the works of other black artists, especially the expressionist and satirical tales of the late Robert Colescott, and his first show is fresh and very funny.
Until April 11 at Kapp Kapp, 333 S. 13th St., noon to 6 p.m. by Sat 215-309-5315 or kappkapp.com.
“Les Chic”, at the James Oliver Gallery, features brilliantly colored abstract paintings of three women inspired by pop art and motifs from everyday life.
New York-based Amanda Church, a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, is the most pop of the three. Her paintings of sinuous shapes, probably feminine, evoke erotic encounters.
Jennifer Small, an artist from the Philadelphia area, first isolates shapes in the environment as camera snapshots and then recreates them as painting on canvas.
Elyce Abrams, also from Philadelphia, paints grid formations from moments in his daily life, which to me reads as hectic.
Until March 27 at the James Oliver Gallery, 723 Chestnut St., 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sat 215-923-1242 or jamesoliverallery.com.