8622 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118

Judy McCabe Jarvis- painter, Christopher Ward- bronze sculptor, Laura Madeleine- Batik painting on silk. All are part of a new pop-up gallery in Chestnut Hill.

by Kevin Patrick

One of the great joys for the discerning art seeker is to discover a hidden gem somehow overlooked among the bustling crowd and confetti colored mummers. Yesterday we wandered into just such a charming setting at 8344 Germantown Ave.

It’s hard to believe that this gallery, a curated exhibit of sculptors and artists whose work has been featured in galleries from New York to Paris, delivers the world of excitement and emotions that only a world-class art experience can do.

This ecosystem is composed of elegant classic bronze sculptures by Christopher Ward, wonderful color laden post-impressionist oils by Judith McCabe Jarvis, and clever, provocative constructions rendered meticulously in batik on silk by Laura Madeleine

The viewer as explorer is confronted by personal questions posed by the art. Ward’s Rodin-like muscular bronzes are exquisite renderings of the human form. He deliberately creates a plaster mold which allows the molten bronze to escape during the casting process, leaving the statue looking like it has been underwater for thousands of years

The bronze figures are perfectly at home in a colorful grove of airy, impressionistic oils by the enormously talented Jarvis. Seaside landscapes, glittering, witty “F. Scott and Zelda still-lifes” of various gin, whiskey and other spirit bottles and portrait paintings knowingly evoke the easy lazy summers of John Cheever country.

In the back room, more delights await. The quirky, evocative titles are your first hint that these clever metaphorical paintings are going to take you on a narrative journey. And they do.

With counterintuitive pairings and meticulous rendering of fantastical characters in mysterious relationships, we feel as if we’ve come in on the second act of a three-act play: “On Venus.”

Laura has taken the time-honored ancient art of batik and placed it firmly in the 22nd century.

Wandering through this secret garden, you cannot leave the experience unchanged. Which is the mark of great art, and the reason we were so delighted to find this unexpected jewel hiding in plain sight at 8344 on the Avenue.

Kevin Patrick is a freelance writer.


Thursday - Sunday 1:00 PM 5:00 PM