Also at Bridgette Mayer are Leslie Wayne's abstract paintings - remarkably "now" though outside any trend or groove, and imbued with a strong physicality. These fairly small, sculpted works pack real volume, color adding to their sense of heft. The bulk you see is all paint, its dense handling rich in color changes and improvised surface. Works by this New Yorker tend to be bold, a trait heightened by her use of radically cropped foreshortening. Wayne stresses physicality by her uncommon attention to edges of shapes, giving them a heavy paint buildup. These craggy, clean-as-a-whistle creations help explain why some of us have a deep attraction for levels of sensuous beauty devoid of use but, as is the case here, not devoid of meaning. Unyielding artwork, pleasingly ornamental.
Bridgette Mayer Gallery, 709 Walnut St. To May 26. Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 215-413-8893.
Ernestine Ruben of Princeton is a photographer best known locally for a solo show of her Rodin sculpture-related images that the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Joseph Rishel once curated at the Rodin Museum. She now displays far more varied photos in "Bodies and Movements" at Dalet Gallery.
To note but two of the ways she expresses human movement, Ruben makes one-of-a-kind 3-D pieces combining photography with liquid paper pulp and, newest of all, introduces a collaborative photo series with former Martha Graham Company principal dancer Peter Sparling, of a dancer interacting underwater with the natural movement found there. We see both Ruben's respect for the naturalism of the photographic medium and her awareness of its inability to deal with ideal beauty.
Undeterred by limitations, she has taken one step into fertile, uncharted territory with both kinds of photos - especially in her underwater pictures. In these, the individual dancer's experience and emotion are brought to the fore and expressed in totally new ways, in what Ruben calls Photoformance. Must see.
Dalet Gallery, 141 N. Second St. To May 26. Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 215-923-2424.
Stephen Tanis, one of the region's distinguished realist painters, is exhibiting oil paintings and drawings with his wife, the gifted photographer Alida Fish, at Wilmington's Blue Streak Gallery. Tanis - who since 1987 has had eight solo shows at New York's Sherry French Gallery in which complex narratives involving the human figure played a key role - here exhibits still-life paintings from the last three years. There are several exceptionally fine examples, notable for their polish and sensuousness, while the drawings display vitality in draftsmanship. Tanis is a painter dedicated to the type of work that reforms and reveals the humanist tradition as well as the art of painting itself.
Alida Fish's digital photographs capture nature subjects at close range and are refreshing in the humble sincerity of her approach. A few composite images are impressive, however, for the brooding, pent-up energy stirring beneath their emphatic, pressurized composition.
Blue Streak Gallery, 1721-23 Delaware Ave., Wilmington. To May 30. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 302-429-0506.
David Febland superimposes flickering dabs of paint to capture rapid movement in realistic oil paintings in his show, "Running in Places," at Rodger LaPelle Galleries. This work has individuality due in no small way to the fact that Febland, formally trained as an architect and also in landscape design, is self-taught as a painter. These 41 nonacademic works show a skilled artist with an intuitive sense about the human figure, in densely atmospheric surroundings. Figures are often portrayed in storytelling episodes, outdoors in groups or singly, day or night. Some run for sport; a life-size one chases a thief. The cool motorcyclist image could be a self-portrait, as Febland cycles daily from upper Manhattan to his Greenwich Village studio. A prolific painter, he has gallery representation in London, Germany, and at a small gallery in New York.
Rodger LaPelle Galleries, 122 N. Third St. To May 27. Wednesday-Sunday, 12-6 p.m. 215-592-0232.