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January 09, 2015

Artists play with perception in new Locks Gallery exhibit

"Sight Unseen" uses paintings to explore light, landscapes

Events The Arts
14th St pile field 5 Ena Swansea/Locks Gallery

Ena Swansea, 14th St pile field 5, 2013, oil on graphite on canvas, 18 x 24 inches

A new exhibit at Locks Gallery in Society Hill will present the works of two New York-based artists, Ellen Harvey and Ena Swansea. "Sight Unseen," which opens Jan. 9 and runs through Feb. 21, focuses on the relationship between traditional painting and how the artists' unique styles play with the medium.  

Harvey's body of work explores landscapes, light and the relationship of negative and positive space using both installations and engraved mirrored-Plexi, a reflective plastic. Her work often ruminates on what our world would look like if abandoned or turned to ruins. Swansea's work uses oil-on-graphite paintings to create surreal landscapes that explore figure-ground relationships, light and reflection. The effect of this painting technique allows perception to become both subject and medium. 

In addition to their shared contemplations of perception, Harvey's imaginings of ruins tie themselves to Swansea's works, some of which use pieces of real ruins, wood from the Hudson River. Additionally, as a foil to their experimental techniques, both artists' previous, traditional oil paintings will be exhibited. This juxtaposition highlights the illusory nature of the artists' newer works.

Experienced gallery-goers will love the experimental visions of "Sight Unseen," and art history novices will find value in the contrast between the artists' older and more recent works. In addition to the exhibit's opening, there will be a special First Friday reception Feb. 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

Sight Unseen

Friday, January 9 to Saturday, February 21
Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 
Locks Gallery
600 Washington Square South
(215) 629-1000