Kate Bright: Soft Estate
August 20th – September 29
Opening Reception: September 7, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Locks Gallery is pleased to present Soft Estate, an exhibition of new works by London-based artist Kate Bright (b. 1964). Bright’s previous series are well recognized for their incorporation of non-traditional material such as glitter, styrofoam, and glass in the portrayal of natural, non-figurative landscapes including scenes depicting glitter soaked snowfall, and glistening reflections on the surfaces of ponds and pools. In this new suite of paintings, the artist forgoes cooler seasons and the use of synthetic materials for vibrant depictions of wild British flora in saturated, tropical palettes. To accompany the exhibition, a new publication titled A Temporary Stay has been published by Locks Gallery to survey Bright’s 20 year career.
Soft Estate refers to the wild green corridors that run along highways and roads managed by the United Kingdom’s transportation agency. These latent green spaces are not primed for the peaceful introspection of Bright’s previous locales—emerging into view for only a split second and then vanishing, leaving just a brilliant shock of shape and color in one’s mind. Reflecting on the oversaturation that has become ubiquitous of contemporary visual reality, Bright’s highly sensual compositions emit synesthetic illusions in the form of a gentle breeze ebbing from the pastel hues of Understory (2018); the rustling of dried ferns and branches in Shelterbelt (2017) and the nuclear hum radiating from the otherworldly Blue Bamboo (2018). This collection represents a departure for the artist from the secondary sources of disparate locations to enigmatic depictions of British plantlife cut with tropical shades that render it simultaneously alien and achingly familiar. Despite this radical shift, Bright maintains her focus on articulating the illusion of the landscape, relaying our slipping grasp on the natural realm, and perhaps, providing a spark to reignite an empathetic connection with our environment.
Bright studied at Camberwell School of the Art and Goldsmiths College and has long taught at the Slade School of Fine Art at the University College of London. The artist has had solo exhibitions at the Centro Internacional de Arte de Salamanca, Spain; The New Art Gallery Walsall, UK; Vitamin Contemporary Art, Turin, Italy; and the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, UK. Bright was notably included in the British Art Show in 1990, a major traveling survey exhibition showcasing contemporary art held every five years in the UK.
John Moore: Counterpoint
August 20th – September 29
Opening Reception: September 7, 5:30 – 7:30pm
John Moore is a contemporary realist painter whose compositions primarily focus on post-industrial America. His paintings are imbued with the lingering energy of rusting steel, burnished wood, and built-up paint that comprise a familiar contemporary urbanism. In these composite scenes of skylines, city parks, and brick laden interiors, Moore fabricates compositions of physical locations and idealized memories, offering a contemplative renewal of the changing age of industry.
Moore’s illusory imagery was long centered around his studio in North Philadelphia, but in recent years the artist has relocated to Belfast, Maine—a city which, like Philadelphia, bears traces of its once-booming 19th and 20th century industry. The fact that many of Moore’s compositions are now syntheses of Philadelphia and Maine speaks to the post-industrial landscape as a ubiquitous American condition. His interest in the largely overlooked corners of industrial production place him in a conscious dialogue with 20th century precisionist painters such as Charles Demuth and Charles Sheeler, who not only depicted the rise of American industrialism in their crisp images of smokestacks, mills, and harbors, but also crucially expressed the period’s energy of feverish progress and the optimistic rise of modernity. Moore’s paintings provide a counterpoint to this once-great-energy with the austere beauty of their current state, empathetically imparting his own ruminations on the promise of American industry.
With an uncommon attunement to these seemingly withering spaces, Moore reawakens the spectors of this semi-shuttered reality. As such, Moore’s paintings are viscerally believable, an effect that is grounded by his acute ability to observe and record the transforming effects of light. Moore’s affinity for the late afternoon and sunset hours illuminate the urban sprawl with warm light and purple shade, and his utilization of windows or chain-link fences as framing devices creates periscopic compositions that mediate indoor and outdoor space. Moore troubles the impermeability of time in moments where the jewel-toned sky is seen only through the dark frame of a window; or a fence shrouded in plastic serves as the horizon for a pristine, lakeside sunset; reiterating the temporal significance of commonplace clashes between nature and the urban environment.
Locks Gallery is pleased to present this new solo exhibition by the artist, which follows his significant museum survey at the Maine Center for Contemporary Art in Rockland. Born in St. Louis Missouri, Moore received an MFA from Yale University before settling in Philadelphia where he worked for over four decades. His paintings are included in major collections such as the Art Institute of Chicago; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Yale University Art Gallery; and many others. Formerly Gutman Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, he previously taught at Boston University, the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, and the University of California, Berkeley.
ABOUT LOCKS GALLERY
Founded in 1968, Locks Gallery represents an international group of critically respected contemporary artists working in a variety of disciplines. The exhibition program is a diverse combination of fresh perspectives on 20th century masters, showcases of emerging talent, and new bodies of work from a core group of acclaimed mid-career artists. With a sustained commitment to contextualizing the work exhibited, the gallery regularly publishes illustrated catalogs with scholarly essays and hosts public programs such as artist talks, panel discussions, and gallery walkthroughs.
A collaboration with the artist (or their estate) is at the core of each exhibition, allowing the gallery to present original programming. The staff cultivates long-standing relationships with individuals and institutions, fostering a new climate for contemporary art collecting in the city of Philadelphia.
The gallery presents a broad spectrum of artistic practices, with a focus on seminal works in painting and sculpture. Priding itself on its museum quality setting and artistic excellence, Locks Gallery is a longtime member of the ADAA (Art Dealers Association of America) and subscribes to the highest measures of connoisseurship, scholarship, and curatorial practice.
Locks Gallery was founded in 1968 as Marian Locks Gallery. The original gallery on the 1800 block of Chestnut Street, was of the first commercial galleries in Philadelphia devoted exclusively to contemporary art. In 1971, the gallery moved into the former home of the Yale Club on the second floor of 1524 Walnut Street. The gallery become known for building a national audience for the work of living Philadelphia artists along with cultural events such as poetry readings that attracted participants from outside of Philadelphia. During that time, Marian Locks opened a satellite space on lower Arch Street to exhibit installation, earth works, and emerging artistic practices that were more experimental and less commercially attractive.
In 1990, the gallery moved to the southeast corner of Washington Square Park in a dramatic three story 1918 Italianate Palazzo style building formerly occupied by Lea & Febiger Publishers. Now under the direction of Sueyun Locks, the gallery continues to highlight local talent with a strong focus on women artists, alongside national and international artists.