seraphin gallery, philadelphia art gallery, fine art, contemporary art gallery, accumulation
Seraphin Gallery presents Joan Wadleigh Curran’s Accumulation, with its reception on Friday, December 7th from 6 – 8 PM.
Accumulation features gouache works on black paper. Like many of Curran’s earlier bodies of work, it is inspired by the idea of uncovering objects that people normally disregard. However, the black paper allows Curran to change the formal aspects of her works, playing with the figure/ground relationship. The ground may either recede, creating absence, or comes forward, confronting the viewer.
The exhibition is comprised of three different subjects – urban trash, geological rocks, and washed up ocean debris. Curran collected discarded things from the streets of Philadelphia, rocks from a quarry in Wyoming, and objects off the coast of Ballycastle, Ireland. She arranges these items in her studio, extracting them from their environment and then manipulating their formal composition.
Curran is interested in the idea of collection in that it exposes our desires, values, and choices of acceptance and rejection. She juxtaposes beauty and its underside, so that each intensifies the other in their comparison. For instance, beautiful flowers of rich purple color are intertwined with a ragged fence. Curran elevates what might be described as “trash” or “worthless objects” so that the viewer may contemplate each piece and what they represent for our society. She also adds a sense of optimism and vitality to these abandoned objects, creating a metaphor for the cycle of life.
Joan Wadleigh Curran lives and works in Philadelphia. She received her MFA from Yale University in 1974. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and has been included in many solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally, including the National Academy of Sciences, Delaware Art Museum, and the Courtauld Institute in London. She has been a finalist for the Pew Fellowship twice and received several artist residencies, including the Ballinglen Foundation in Ballycastle, Ireland and the Ucross Foundation in Clearmont, Wyoming.