James Oliver Gallery in Philadelphia is pleased to present High Beam, a three person exhibition of contemporary painting and neon sculpture. Alissa Eberle, Jennifer Small, and Pete Zebley come together in this optimistic collection, in an illuminated vantage of space and cityscape. High Beam will be on view from February 11 through March 25, 2023.
Together, the trio capture sublime stories of urban experience, composed through alternating of the microscopic and a gestalt view of these moments and their felt impression. Zebley moves into laser focus of these sensibilities through his current body of work, while Small emphasizes textural features in considered time, almost as movements in prose. Eberle casts light with fantastical mirage, of both edifice and inner world.
Alissa Eberle is a Philadelphia, PA based artist working in neon, sculpture, and photography. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, Alissa studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where she received her BFA. She began her journey learning neon apprenticing at Neometix in New Orleans, LA, before apprenticing under Dom Urbani at Urban Neon in Philadelphia. Her work explores the intersection between past, future, fantasy, and reality.
Working primarily within the medium of neon sculpture, Eberle works with the unknown in the contemporary landscape. She explores notions of time dissonance, nostalgia, paranormal experiences, parallel universes, and the intersection between the manufactured and natural world. Celebrating malfunction, augmented by the mysterious and otherworldly qualities of glass and rare gases, Eberle seeks to highlight the benefit in distortion and decay; questioning our understanding of the division between the physical world and our own psychological reality. Removed from their original context and immortalized in neon, argon, xenon, and glass, these objects and moments exist in a space that has perhaps both already been experienced, while simultaneously being completely new.
Jennifer Small is a Pennsylvania native who received a BFA in Painting and BS in Art Education from Millersville University in 2005 and MFA in Painting from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2012. Small has exhibited her work in galleries and fairs in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, New York, Richmond, Savannah, and Chicago. Media features have included New American Paintings, Studio Visit Magazine, Studio Break Podcast, and various other blogs and online publications. Formerly a high school art educator in the Washington DC and Chicago areas, Small now lives and work as a painter and visual designer in Wilmington, Delaware.
Small’s art, initially abstract in appearance, records a journey of a day in the life—a practice that starts with documentation through the lens of a camera. The artist’s eyes act as a viewfinder narrowing down the panoramic into single frames. Compiled snapshots represent blocks of time during process of seeing and recording aesthetic significance in ordinary routine; curious formal elements are found in common things waiting to be manipulated and transformed into abstract compositions. Using collage in the single framed images, Small will simplify and render them in paint to create the lines, shapes, and hues that fill the canvas. Abstracted layers build shallow spaces that depict translation of the everyday, resulting in analysis of time and space interpreted by looking through a lens at the immediate environment.
Pete Zebley (b. 1977), a Philadelphia-based visual artist, entrances viewers with his kaleidoscopic visions and reimaginings of the everyday. A recipient of the J. Henry Scheidt Scholarship in European Travel, the Cuff-Sammak Prize for Abstract Painting, the Will and Elena Barnet Prize for Abstract Art, the Sargenti Painting Prize, and the Arra-Smith Prize for Painting, Zebley has grown a wide base of admirers and collectors that have led his work to be included in private and corporate collections across the country. To date, he has had his artwork featured in exhibitions at James Oliver Gallery, Woodmere Museum, Gross McCleaf Gallery and Main Line Art Center.
Working with oils and acrylics, and the occasional experimentation with mediums such as urethane and metals, Zebley has created an abstract painting practice that intertwines with his background as a tattoo artist, love of art throughout the ages, and his own innovative spirit. He enrolled in the esteemed Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts receiving formal training in not only drawing but painting and sculpture. His studies took him across Europe working with studios and acquiring new approaches.
Upon returning to the United States, he explored these new avenues within his painting practice, investigating color as a driving force for his work. Juxtapositions of dark and bright colors emerged illuminating his mastery of light and form. Collage-like abstractions integrate harsh lines and bold fields of color with gestural brushstrokes evoking energy and vitality. Textured layers and excavation of paint reveal elements of figuration that alter and distort our understandings of reality. Zebley’s distinctive artistry comes into this focus.
Alissa Eberle, Broken Sunset,, Neon- Ne, Ar, Hg, and glass mounted on Dibond, 2022.
Jennifer Small, Cobblestone Streets and a Modern Planter, 24 x 18 x 2.5", Acrylic and Spray Paint on Canvas, 2022