The First Friday charge has now reached the western fronts of Philadelphia. Danger! Danger! Gallery’s seminal First Friday hosted artist Mat Tomezsko’s fourteen painting series depicting people from his own surroundings: West Philly. The exhibit, Danger Danger Danger Danger, marks an earnest portrayal of the eclectic neighborhood that has been blossoming there for quite a while now.
The setting was particularly apt in that the original photos of Tomezsko ‘s subjects were all taken at Danger! Danger!. In December, the artist took a random sampling of audience members at a Reading Rainbow show, reflecting Mat’s intention, “I wanted unbiased and unironic paintings that look with empathy upon the culture of the youth.” The result, as you can see, provides an interesting cross section of a neighborhood that’s mostly foreign to those who live outside of it.
Considering the artistic focus of the paintings and the venue that housed them, the exhibit seemed to somehow collapse in on itself. It’s as if Tomezsko had West Philly stop for a brief second and become self-aware of some newly burgeoning force. Though Mat maintains ,“West Philadelphia remains bigger and more elusive”, one can’t help but notice that with the help of DIY venues like Danger! Danger!, the region is starting to feel a little more cultivated.
Mat is currently working on a wheat paste mural in MT. Airy. His next showing will be at Cafe Lift at 13th this coming First Friday.