electric city/diamond city’s bi-monthly gallery tour
Sacred Birches: spare and haunting

Fond of acidic soils and taking readily to ashy remains of traumatized land, white birch trees have thrived in our post-industrial anthracite region. The abundant strands give artist Koval Grippo an inspiring landscape to paint when working out of her Scranton area studio, even in the dark doldrums of winter.
Grippo, whose recent paintings will be exhibited in a show titled Sacred Birches at the Hope Horn Gallery this month, also has a studio base in San Francisco.
The negative space carved by the bark’s horizontal lenticels give the birch tree a black-and-white minimal charm that is not fully visible until the slender stalks lose their heavy top cover. It’s a look that’s hard to capture with literal photography, given winter’s limited light, but prime for painters to explore.
Grippo’s paintings incorporate the identifiable look of nature’s markings and symbols into a surprisingly colorful abstract landscape.
Trained at Keystone College, the artist has exhibited her work in more than 20 galleries throughout North America, including now defunct Bluestone Gallery in Milford last year.
In an interview with the gallery, Grippo recalled the profound effect a trio of Kandinsky paintings at the MoMa had on her 12-year-old self. It’s interesting to take a second look at the adult artist’s work with an awareness of this influence by the Russian master. Sacred Birches is a solo show awarded for Grippo’s exceptional contribution to last fall’s NEPA Regional.
She will speak about her work in The University of Scranton’s Brennan Hall at 5 p.m. on Friday. A reception will follow from 6 to 8 p.m. in the gallery in conjunction with First Friday Scranton.
The Hope Horn Gallery is located on the fourth floor of Hyland Hall at Linden Street and Jefferson Avenue. Gallery hours are noon to 4 p.m. Sunday through Friday with evening hours on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. Call 941-4214 for more information.

Internationally-known artist enjoys first solo show in Scranton

David Bender has exhibited his works in solo and group shows in New York, Philadelphia and Las Vegas, and as far away as Toronto, Canada, and Valencia, Spain. The internationally-known artist will enjoy his first solo show in Scranton this month and next at ArtWorks Gallery & Studio. Both sculptures and drawings will be exhibited in the show titled, simple, David Bender. A resident of New York, the artist earned his MFA in 2009 and has already won several awards. A reception will be held Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibit will remain on display through March 29. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. ArtWorks is located at 503 Lackawanna Avenue. Call 207-1815 for more information or visit artworksnepa.com.

The Examined Life opens on Friday

Works by Ka-Son Reeves (above) and Beth Tyrrell (at right) are among those by seven different artists exploring various angles on every-day life in a new exhibit of paintings at New Visions Studio & Gallery. The Examined Life opens on Friday with a reception from 5 to 10 p.m., allowing hours before and after the First Friday Scranton standard for viewing. Reeves grew up in Brooklyn, watching his artist father paint portraits at home and his older brother create graffiti out in the community. He studied communications, rather than fine art, at the City University of New York and went on to open a graphic design studio specializing in print and web design and development. The current director of ARTSPACE Gallery in Stroudsburg, Reeves has seen his acrylic works exhibited in several galleries in New York as well as the Poconos during the past couple of years. Also displaying work in the show are artists Mike Carson, John R. Kolbek, Kevin Schappert, Alison Schmidt, and Megan Tucker. The Examined Life will remain on display through Feb. 25. New Visions is located at 201 Vine Street in Scranton. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Call 878-3970 or visit newvisionsstudio.com.