This month’s art party is more than just an excuse to pilfer cups of wine from Second Street galleries. Venture off the beaten path and hit up the openings of this month’s most promising new shows.
TIGER STRIKES ASTEROID If you didn’t catch Matthew Sepielli’s work at Artspace Liberti’s In3s show, now would be the perfect time to journey to Tiger Strikes Asteroid on N. 11th Street to wander through Sepielli’s works. Not quite paintings, but not exactly sculptures either, his work favors hardcover books rather than canvas as his base. These mutant forms have extraordinary texture and come to life through Sepielli’s novel exploration of medium. For instance, his piece “State Fair” layers purples, blues and yellows and juxtaposes them with drill holes on what appears to be scraps of cut canvas spilling out of a closed book. In an interview with FunnelPages, Sepielli reveals his artistic process: “I had all of these hard-bound books, and I was thinking about what I could do with these things after I’m done reading them, since they usually just sit on shelves. So they became surfaces that I paint on. I am thinking about brail and text and how you read a painting versus how you read a book.” With this in mind, his books transform from out-of-reach abstracts into thought provoking 3D concept pieces. Yet, not all of Sepielli’s work hangs on the white walls of galleries — his participation in the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program lends him some serious street cred. This is Sepielli’s first solo exhibit and this local is definitely worth watching out for. — Alexa Nicolas
Tiger Strikes Asteroid 319A North 11th St., 4th Floor
EXTRA, EXTRA Extra Extra’s exhibit “A Diamond Is Forever” successfully lives up to its mission statement of presenting the viewer with works that play on our perceptions of reality. The concept unifies a diverse body of art that explores the intersection of idealism and actuality. Rather than being overly-intellectual, as one might expect, the show instead highlights the artists’ unique choices of media and perspectives. One piece by Michella Ceja (one of the five artists exhibited) — a mounted digital print of a car — is stretched and skewed to mind-bending proportions. Daniel G. Baird’s piece on aluminum looks like the etchings of a kindergartener, yet takes on new realms of meaning as an allusion to the plaque on the pioneer spaceship designed to potentially explain the human race to aliens. The other three artists, Dave Murray, Alexandr Skarlinski and Jordan Tate innovatively utilize photography and other forms to explore themes from time and technology to sex and youth culture. Extra Extra seeks to display works of underrepresented artists, but these talents are sure to land themselves a spot on the map for their unique perspectives, angles and ability to produce truly thought-provoking work. Even if the gallery is closer to Temple than to Penn, it's definitely worth the hike. — Alexa Nicolas
Extra Extra 2222 Sepviva St.
SPACE 1026 Space 1026 is no bullshit. It is a gallery that prides itself in being exactly what it claims to be: a haven for artists who take their art seriously, but don’t take themselves too seriously. Sandy Kim, a young San Francisco-based artist and one half of Sandy Kim and Logan White, whose photography exhibit opens on October 1, fits the bill perfectly. A chronic camera-loser, she is endearingly all over the place, and her work certainly reflects that. Her photographs are gritty and free of complexes, documenting life through any lens at arm’s reach. Logan White's work, on the other hand, is less rough around the edges. Where Kim’s work conveys self-discovery and youthful tumult, White’s oeuvre has a more clear-cut vision. Her images are haunting and unapologetic but unmistakably lined with a gauzy femininity. A self-proclaimed feminist artist, her goal is to traverse the conventional boundaries of sexuality; she dispels double standards with her double exposures and a body of work heavily speckled with both females and felines. The works of both artists make you uneasy, but in a good way. They are magnetic, dark, gory and so real that you might want to cover your eyes sometimes (but you’ll always end up staring anyway, through the cracks between your fingers). — Inna Kofman
Space 1026 1026 Arch St.