Unburdened by heavy equipment, he could deploy agility in conveying his sense of light and poignancy. And he's interested in showing how life can be funny, touching, and ravishingly beautiful without artifice. We learn here that the camera is at its best when observing honesty, recording an authentic moment, putting aside what's false.
Even the least attempt to add an aesthetic veneer to this work would cause those straightforward images to lose the immediacy that makes them so compelling. The happiness Perloff felt in creating these images, the excitement of discovery and being in the right place at the right time, are imparted directly to viewers by human glance, an awkward posture, a gesture. The flow and rhythm of life don't elude him in this knockout of a show. There must be a "Part 2."
Light Room Gallery, 2024 Wallace St. To April 14. Fri-Sat noon-4. Artist's talk April 14 at 4. 215-765-0262.
Omwake at Blue Streak
Shreds of bright light hover over Eo Omwake's painting show "Small Jewels" at Blue Streak Gallery in Wilmington. It's a sensuous, colorful event endowed with a dreamlike strength. By the end of the 1960s, Omwake and his former art-school buddies Tom Palmore, James Havard, and Murray Dessner had gone separate ways as painters. Omwake's current show coincides with publication of his book The Art of Fine Art: Essays, Notes and Guiding Lights After Fifty Years of Work.
His show's mature, painterly approach combines a crisp, almost brittle assurance with a lush, decorative scheme. Here is a gifted artist whose featured abstractions combine respect for materials and a very direct, literal approach to "touch" that includes use of glitter. His very recent work shows the growing amplitude of his expressive possibilities.
Blue Streak Gallery, 1721-23 Delaware Ave. at Trolley Square, Wilmington. To April 3. Tue-Fri 10-5, Sat 10-4. 302-429-0506.
Scott Noel's new oil paintings at Gross McCleaf Gallery are unapologetically attractive. There's little extreme tension in these figure paintings, still lifes, and urban landscapes, for they don't so much seek to challenge as to extend tradition.
The clarity Noel achieves again and again is combined with a totally contemporary point of view that speaks of quotidian activities so unremarkable that they generally are overlooked. He isolates each seated figure or still life within a carefully delineated interior space.
His huge (72-by-148-inch), handsome mural overview of the Convention Center extension while under construction in 2009 (as seen from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts campus, where he teaches) is on public view for the first time. It too speaks of day-to-day work, and of the hardhats who do it.
The show as a whole dignifies the commonplace; through their great restraint and control, Noel's paintings make the ordinary extraordinary.
Gross McCleaf Gallery, 127 S. 16th St. To Wednesday. Tue-Sat 10-6. 215-665-8138.
Dark in here
The art of Ellen Peckham shows a serene indifference to prevailing styles. In her solo "Continuum" at Dalet Gallery, this New York visual artist and poet displays a wide array of images including dark mystical prints containing dark poems and some colorful pieces, as well as collages and constructions. These images tend to symbolize inchoate feelings more than nostalgia. While their haunting aura of solitude may baffle and stir, the important thing is the intensity of feeling that permeates them.
Especially distinctive are Peckham's etchings, with their willfully restrained and somber palette, relating to her late husband's decline into dementia, which began 25 years into their happy marriage.
This show's unity is spiritual and atmospheric rather than pictorial, yet it possesses an expressive force that sends out visible echoes from a distant and still somehow scrutable past.
Dalet Gallery, 141 N. 2d St. To April 14. Wed-Sat 11-6. 215-923-2424. Ellen Peckham will give a reading Saturday at 4.