Art in Philly

Yesterday, while in Philly, we had the privilege of visiting the studio of a friend, Carolyn Rathburn George, who draws paintings in a very personal style of “art naïf”, with links to the Southwest (through recurrent appearances of Spanish missions and flashes of brights colours) but also to byzantine icon paintings (not only because of the Santos series, but also in her use of frames and perspectives).


The use of intense pencil colors in those paintings is quite amazing and very well-mastered, as it multiplies the degrees in the perspectives and translates the brightness of the southern sun. The depth in the paintings is reinforced by the creative use of frames and boxes that reminds me of the ex-voto niches found in the countryside in Italy and Greece. If you have the opportunity to be in Philly on October 10 or 11, you also can visit this studio (and others in the area) and meet the artist, since Carolyn is participating to POST 2009, the Philadelphia Open Studio Tour.


Carolyn then took us to the nearby Magic Garden, an incredible bric-à-brac construction by Isaiah Zagar mostly made of mosaics based on recycled materials. The occupation of the space by the mosaics in what seems more like a vegetal living process than a mineral one is dizzying and the repeated use of mirror pieces makes the mosaics even more alive by their impression of an ever-changing background.


The connection with other “art brut” monumental projects like Cheval‘s is somehow obvious, with the same vegetal feeling and the same reminiscence of Hindu temples like Angkor but there is a universality in the representations that makes Zagar’s work moving if overwhelming at times.

2 Responses to “Art in Philly”

  1. Carolyn George Says:

    Hey Chris!
    Just came upon your ‘post’. It’s 4 yrs old, I know. But it felt so wonderful to read it. I hope you and your wonderful wife and children are happy and doing well. I have such warm memories of you all and your friendship. I hope our paths may cross again someday. Carolyn

  2. The third picture is amazing!!
    I think I know whose eyes are those…

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