communitypg1What’s a better way to celebrate your birthday than with friends? And if those friends throw you a fun, creative and easy-access pass into the world of local Philadelphia art, who can complain?

Paradigm Gallery + Studio, reaching the ripe old age of three, is holding a Community Arts Project from March 22 to April 27 and featuring all the artwork local Philadelphians could fit on a 6” x 6” woodblock (and then sometimes a little bit more than that).

If you find yourself wandering Fourth Street with an hour in your pocket and a hankering to see what young Philadelphia has to offer, stop by the impressively renovated gallery at 803 S. Fourth St., where you can see pyramidal or flower-laden pieces of sculptural art next to spectacular examples of inked, painted, pasted, or traditionally cut two-dimensional woodblocks. And if you happen to like a piece so much that you want to make some lonely 6” x 6” spot in your own home just like it? Well, every block is only a $20 suggested donation away.

Each woodblock is unlabeled, which gives the whole process an air of sporting anonymity, but if you’ve got your art appreciation hat (or possibly your World’s Greatest Detective Cowl) on, you’ll spot here and there among wildly different styles some similarities in theme and method. Sean Martorana, for example, put together a collection of richly symbolic pieces, achingly evocative of the first interaction between the nobility of the natural world and Homo sapien artifex. Daniel Zyk’s depiction of autumn has a flow across his three woodblocks that immediately stands out among the singular efforts that surround it.
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The string and glue piece by Caitlin McCormack (who had a verifiable hit at InLiquid’s own Benefit v13) is the sole exception to the twenty dollar suggestion price with an on-going bidding contest. The delightful detailing on the skull flows down to the base where a floral collar gives the diminutive rodent a Shakespearean vibe; an empty eyed Yorrick staring out from a ruffled collar.

With more woodblocks flooding in as the month goes on, it’s certainly worth your spare time to see Paradigm’s offerings and support the local Philadelphia art community.

Randall Cleaver

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