Summer Exhibitions at Woodmere Art Museum Showcase Multifaceted Roles of Philadelphia Artists Alex Kanevsky and Doris Staffel

PHILADELPHIA — Revealing the far-reaching influence and multifaceted professional activities of Philadelphia’s artists, Woodmere Art Museum presents several exhibitions that focus on the accomplishments of two significant figures in our city’s cultural life: Doris Staffel and Alex Kanevsky.

Doris Staffel’s achievements as a painter are celebrated in a retrospective of her work, Doris Staffel: Painter, Teacher, which chronicles her career and includes pieces by her teachers, colleagues and students. Alex Kanevsky is participating in a three-part exhibition, Alex Kanevsky: Artist, Curator, Juror.These exhibitions are on view July 28 to September 30, 2012.


Alex Kanevsky, Chelsea Hotel Landscape

Three distinct aspects of Kanevsky’s artistic vision will be on display at Woodmere this summer: A decade’s worth of key paintings and drawings from the artist’s oeuvre will be included in the exhibition Alex Kanevsky: Some Paintings and Drawings; in Selections from Woodmere’s Collection, Kanevsky highlights work from the permanent collection; and the 71st Annual Juried Exhibition showcases a wide-ranging assemblage of artwork by 46 local artists selected by Kanevsky.

Kanevsky’s multifaceted role at Woodmere reflects a new direction for the museum. Moving forward, each annual juried exhibition will be spearheaded by a Philadelphia artist whose work aligns with the museum’s mission. This annually selected artist will serve as juror; present his or her own work; and have the opportunity to curate an exhibition from Woodmere’s collection.

“Doris Staffel, Alex Kanevsky and the many artists who will be represented in our summer exhibitions showcase the breadth of Woodmere’s reach,” says Woodmere Curator Matthew Palczynski. “The figurative, abstract and conceptual works on view underscore the impressive diversity of Philadelphia art.”

Citing influences from 20th-century painters such as Richard Diebenkorn, Lucian Freud, Rembrandt van Rijn and Diego Velázquez, Kanevsky has created work that is decidedly of our time and simultaneously interwoven with the best of art history. He has recently exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Washington and Philadelphia.

Also opening at Woodmere in July is a retrospective of Philadelphia abstractionist Doris Staffel, who moved to Philadelphia in 1940 at age 19, taught for 27 years at the University of the Arts, and currently resides in Society Hill. For many decades, Staffel, a former student of Philip Guston and Hans Hofmann and a former colleague of Franz Kline, has been one of Philadelphia’s pre-eminent abstract painters and colorists. Honoring that long commitment to the art of Philadelphia, Woodmere will present the first exhibition to examine her entire career; Doris Staffel: Painter, Teacher is also the artist’s first solo show in a museum. In addition, a small assemblage of works by Staffel’s teachers, colleagues and students reflects the artist’s influence on three generations of Philadelphians. The retrospective is guest curated by painter, teacher and Woodmere board member Bill Scott.

“This exhibition places Staffel at the vortex of a school of Philadelphia painters who employed a vision bordering on abstraction, constructed with a complex and personal use of drawing and color,” says Scott. “It’s a pleasure to introduce Staffel — a painter’s painter, well-known to three generations of Philadelphia artists — to the general public.”

Staffel’s paintings and drawings incorporate abstracted figurative and foliage elements applied with sinuous lines and differentiated applications of thick and thin paint. A critic once compared her use of color and line to “the infinitely expressive movements of a trained dancer.”

These exhibitions are accompanied by a series of discussions, lectures and tours, as well as the ongoing outdoor exhibition, presented in collaboration with Morris Arboretum, Take a Seat! Adirondack Chairs, through September 3, and the student exhibition 1, 2, Rhythm and Blue in the Helen Millard Children’s Gallery, July 15-September 2. [A full calendar of events follows below.]

Woodmere Art Museum is located at 9201 Germantown Avenue. Admission to special exhibitions is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, and FREE for students, children and Museum members; exhibitions in the Founder’s Gallery and Helen Millard Children’s Gallery are FREE. Museum hours are: Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.–8:45 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

For more information, visit woodmereartmuseum.org or call 215-247-0476.

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