Pentimenti Gallery inaugurates the new year with a group exhibition, titled Will you be my +1? Artists & Their Invitees, bringing together ten artists.

Will you be my +1? Artists & Their Invitees invites you to explore the complex web of community and relationships that impact our lives. This exhibition investigates the profound connections we create, the ties we nurture, and the influence of those around us.

To shape this exhibition, an artist invited another artist, allowing the exhibit to grow unexpectedly. The artwork in the space —as it converges, communicates, collides, and unites the artists, aims to open a new discourse and passionate conversations.

By highlighting friendship and community, Will you be my +1? Artists & Their Invitees hopes to inspire viewers to entertain and cherish their relationships, cultivate curiosity, and nurture the bonds that link us all.

Steven Baris + Nelleke Beltjens

The moment I was asked to participate in this exhibition I immediately thought of Nelleke Beltjens. Not only did her work share my own abiding obsession with the interplay of continuity and discontinuity, but she is exceptionally insightful and articulate.

(Steven Baris)

For Steven and Nelleke, the processes of continuity and discontinuity are intricately interwoven at the very core of their artistic endeavors. Their works act as snapshots capturing the collisions of various shapes and figures. Steven describes his paintings as diagrammatic, emphasizing the significance of composition that maps the use of graphic shapes. In Nelleke's work on paper, the physicality of her drawings seems boundless. Tiny fragments are exercised from prior drawings and meticulously transposed from one drawing to another, fostering an intricate interplay and enabling the full realization of each work.

Steven Baris received his MFA from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA. He studied at the Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA, and Instituto Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Baris has exhibited widely in the US and internationally, in such museums and institutions as the National Museum, Lublin, Poland; Wilhelm Morgner Museum, Soest, Germany; Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA; Institute of Visual Arts, Kielce, Poland; Museum St. Wendel, Germany; Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Penzance, UK; The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA; Ely Center of Contemporary Art, New Haven, CT; Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE; Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ; Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany; International Biennial of Non-Objective Art, Pont de Claix, France; Kunstlerhaus Dosenfabrik, Hamburg, Germany; Carnegie Mellon University Art Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA; University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX; The Drawing Center, New York, NY, and more. His work is included in numerous corporate and private collections across North America, Europe, and Australia, as well as the museum collections of the National Museum, Lublin, Poland, and Copelouzos Museum, Athens, Greece.

Nelleke Beltjens received an MFA from the University of California, Davis, CA; an MA from Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL; and attended the Academy of Visual Arts, Tilburg, Netherlands. She has shown at notable museums including Schloss Plueschow, Germany; Museum Wilhelm Morgner, Soest, Germany; Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Bangkok, Thailand; and Villa Zanders, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. Solo and two-person exhibitions include Valerie r8m, Cologne, Germany; Kunstverein Bahnhof 25, Kleve, Germany; Galerie Getekend, Heerenveen, the Netherlands; Galerie Katwijk, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Notable residencies include Vashon Artist Residency, Vashon, WA; Ucross Foundation, Clearmont, WY; Monson Arts, Monson, ME; and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Amherst, VA.

Kevin Finklea + Mel Prest

Mel and I share a profound understanding of the importance of mindset, process, and resultant surface in artmaking. I live with her work in my home and believe others should as well.

(Kevin Finklea)

Kevin and Mel are colorists at the essence of their artistic practices. Color transforms into a powerful instrument, allowing them to offer viewers a tangible and immersive experience. In Mel’s paintings (acrylic on wood panels), color conjures sensations of taste, touch, scent, or rhythm, and in Kevin’s objects (acrylic on wood), it stirs the recollection of something both lost and found, invoking poignant memories.

Kevin Finklea received his BA from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at such museums and institutions as Museum St. Wendel, Germany; Shirley Fiterman Art Center, New York, NY; Boecker Contemporary, Heidelberg, Germany; Saarländishes Künstlerhaus, Saarbrücken, Germany; KNO Lab. Space, Kyiv, Ukraine; Ely House of Contemporary Art, North Haven, CT; Faux Mouvement Center d'Art Contemporain, Metz, France; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Kunstraum Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany; Neue Kunstmuseum Aschaffenburg, Aschaffenburg, Germany; Kunstmuseum Ahlen, Ahlen, Germany; Visual Arts Center of NJ, Summit, NJ; Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA; 37PK Platform for the Arts, Haarlem, Holland; 2nd Biennial of Non-Objective Art, Pont de Claix, France; Paris Concret, Paris, France; Künstlerhaus Dosenfabrik, Hamburg, Germany; among others. His works are found in private and in selected public collections: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Bridgepoint Capital Limited, London, England; Wilmington Trust Fund, New York.

Mel Prest received her MFA from Mills College, Oakland, CA; and her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI. Her work has been exhibited at the Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, OR; Carl Cherry Center, Carmel, CA; Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA; The de Young Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA, and more. She has completed residencies at Willapa Bay Artist Residency, Oysterville, WA; The Sam and Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts, New Berlin, NY; Wassaic Artist Residency, Wassaic, NY; The Ragdale Foundation, Lake Forest, IL, and more. Her work is in public and private collections including Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA; the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, OR; and more.

Mark Khaisman + Jeffrey Stockbridge

We are both interested in people. Jeff focuses on unique individual stories and community, whereas I look at the macro context of the world at large.

(Mark Khaisman)

The juxtaposition of Mark's tape work alongside Jeffrey's photographs serves as a poignant reminder of our past and current society, portraying a spectrum that extends from urban underserved communities to the more idealized suburban lifestyle. Together, they express the diverse tapestry of our societal landscape.

Mark Khaisman studied Art and Architecture at the Moscow Architectural Institute, Moscow, Russia. Notable exhibitions include Queens Museum, New York, NY; Visual Art Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ; Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA; Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany; BYU Museum of Art, Proto, UT; Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, NY; LeRoyer Gallery, Montreal, Canada; and more. He has been the recipient of many awards, D&AD Awards 2009 Winner in Illustration, NYF 2009 Print Bronze, CLIO Awards 2009 Print Bronze, and more and his works are found in the collections of Comcast Technology Center, Philadelphia; Brandywine Trust Collection, Philadelphia; British Airline Collection, London; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington; NBC Collection, NY; Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany; West Collection, Philadelphia; MoMA, NY; and more.

Jeffrey Stockbridge received his BS from Drexel University. His work has been shown notably at Technische Sammlungen, Dresden, Germany; PAFA, Philadelphia, PA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Houston Center For Photography, Houston, TX; National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; and more. He has received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in Photography; Founder Award, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA; the Independence Foundation Fellowship In The Arts Grant; the Callan/McNamara Award, The Print Center, Philadelphia, PA; and more. Stockbridge’s monograph Kensington Blues released in 2017 received international acclaim with exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The National Portrait Gallery in London, and Technische Sammlungen in Dresden.

John Preus + Eli Craven

I chose to invite Eli because my respect for his work has grown the longer I have known him. His rigorous work ranges from serious and disturbing, to humorous and absurdist, but always captivating. With a minimal palette of color and elements, he composes relationships charged with life and intelligence.

(John Preus)

John and Eli form a harmonious pair, complementing each other in their creative pursuits. Originating from analogous foundations, both artists draw inspiration from societal structures, viewing them through their unique lenses. They also share two common threads within their practice, their love for repurposing found objects and materiality centered around wood and its transformative capabilities. Both artists’ work leads to distinct yet interconnected conversations within their artistic expressions.

John Preus holds an MFA from the University of Chicago. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Heilbronn Kunstverein, Germany; Smart Museum, Chicago, IL; Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR; Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, IL; Devos Museum of Art, Marquette, MI; among others. Preus was the Smart Museum of Art Interpreter in Residence (2019), Kaplan resident at Northwestern University (2016), Jackman-Goldwasser fellow at the Hyde Park Art Center (2013-14), and received the first-place MAKER grant (2014) and the Efroymson Fellowship (2014). His work is held within the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and since 2015 has been shown at Art | Basel | Miami Beach, The Armory Show, and The ADAA, among others.

Eli Craven received his MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his BFA from Boise State University, Boise. He has exhibited notably at Open House Contemporary, Chicago, IL; South Bend Museum of Art, South Bend, IN; Kunstwerkt, Schiedam, Netherland; Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL. He was a finalist for the Fresh 2022 Competition, KlmopChing Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Artist in Residence Award, Aurora Photo Center, Indianapolis, IN; a Hopper Prize finalist, International Arts Grant Award; Create Grant, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; and Individual Artist Grant, Alexa Rose Foundation, Boise, ID.

Erik Spehn + Sarah Giannobile

Sarah’s use of linear elements addressed formal concerns that I find familiar in my work. It’s about responding to the relationship of lines.

(Erik Spehn)

Erik and Sarah are united by a shared passion in their artistic practice, each centers their work around a captivating exploration of color. From the freedom of spontaneous color selection to the meticulous control of their medium, these artists navigate a spectrum of expression. While both artists create abstract work, Sarah's paintings derive inspiration from nature, which is lost through the deliberate formation of her lines. Notably, they both value a commitment to high-quality materials, adding a layer of richness and precision to their distinctive creations.

Erik Spehn received his BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art, Ann Arbor, MI. He has exhibited at museums and institutions including The Albright–Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis, MO; Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO; Saarländisches Künstlerhaus, Saarbrücken, Germany; Centre d'Art Contemporain, Metz, France; and more. His work is in numerous public and private collections including Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; Albright Knox Museum, Buffalo, NY; Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO; Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; Microsoft, Arlington, VA; among others.

Sarah Giannobile received an MFA and MA from Fontbonne University, St. Louis, MO. She has exhibited notably at Maune Contemporary, Atlanta, GA; University of Missouri, St. Louis, MO; Centene Center for Arts and Education, St. Louis, MO; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis, MO; SIBA College, St. Louis, MO; and more. Her work is in the collections of Arrington Cancer Center, Lubbock, TX; Lambert International Airport, St. Louis, MO; and the Federal Reserve Bank, and more.