In the Galleries: September 2021

Blaise Tobia – Parking Garage, Mazzara Del Vallo

Highlighting photography exhibits and photo-related happening in the Philadelphia area.

The inaugural 20/20 Photo Festival is happening throughout September here in Philadelphia, featuring events, exhibits, workshops, artist talks, a book fair at Cherry Street Pier, and more. The festival is billed as a monthlong, citywide celebration of photography, with the bulk of its core programming taking place the week of September 22. The festival is organized around the theme “history informs the contemporary.”

One satellite show worth noting is New Sicilian Topographics at Art on the Avenue Gallery. Organized by Blaise Tobia, a Philadelphia-based photographer whose work will also be on display, the show takes its cue from the landmark 1975 photo exhibit New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape. Collectively, the three participating photographers take a critical look at suburban sprawl and encroaching development in Sicily, via color images rooted in a firm sense of place. They reveal an ancient place on the cusp of irrevocable transformation, often via cleverly-composed juxtapositions. The opening reception takes place on September 25, and a gallery walkthrough is scheduled for September 26.

Opening September 1 at Gravy Studio, Michael Froio’s solo show From the Main Line is a visual survey of the landscapes altered by the historic Pennsylvania Railroad Corridor, which dates back to the mid-19th Century. His large format black-and-white photos capture vistas at once familiar and alien, and reveal a keen eye for region-specific details. It’s one of the core exhibits of the festival, and it complements New Sicilian Topographies nicely.

From September 19-26, Wiota Street Garden in West Philadelphia will provide the setting for A Quiet Light: Photographs by Amie Potsic, Jason Francisco, Laurence Salzmann, John Singletary and Milton Lindsay. The show is curated by Salzmann, a local photographer and former gallery owner whose documentary and street photos date back to the 1960s.

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