CONSTRUCTION: Joan Wadleigh Curran Opening Reception

  • Savery Gallery 319 N 11th St Philadelphia, PA, 19107 United States

CONSTRUCTION is a one-woman exhibition of paintings, drawings and prints created from 2012 to present. The title references the artist’s process of constructing images from discarded organic and man-made objects to tell a story of persistence and resilience. 

Deeply influenced by the “dichotomy between people and their environment”, the subjects of the works represent a variety of castoff plant matter/garden waste, netting, metal cages and fencing, ceramics, wood, and building materials sourced from both urban and natural environments. Two large-scale paintings on canvas, featured in the main gallery, represent her most recent series begun in the summer of 2015 and incorporate images of compacted recycling bales. 

The colors in the paintings and drawings jump from the surface and are clear, rich, and vibrant: reds, oranges, acid greens and yellows with surprises of cerulean and lilac. Many of the works are executed on black paper where the negative space rises to importance and the arrangements are painted ‘out of the space’. Brushwork is mostly smooth and technically striking with a clear sense of consideration to formal arrangements and order. The result is work that is bold and elegant, and energetic without being frenetic. With the exception of the paintings on board, the pieces are bordered with wide beveled black frames and set behind matte glass, so the viewer experiences the work as something to be contained but seen with superior clarity.

The artist’s interest in abstraction and composition is evident throughout. Curran’s articulate visual choices and acute arrangements present the objects as portraits rather than still lives.

Ms. Curran lives and works in Philadelphia. She is a Senior Lecturer, at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, and has taught locally at Moore College of Art, Swarthmore College and Drexel University, and elsewhere nationwide.

She has exhibited extensively as a solo artist and as part of group shows, most recently at Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, Alaska, The Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA, Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia and Main Line Art Center, Ardmore, PA. 
CONSTRUCTION is Ms. Curran’s first solo exhibition at Savery Gallery, and the show is being presented through generous special arrangement with Seraphin Gallery where she is currently represented.