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Martha Rich: It's Wild Here

Posted on September 14 2023

Martha Rich, clockwise from top: Burst, It’s Wild Here, Stink Eye, and Red Shoe, 2023. Acrylic on wood, dimensions variable.

Martha Rich: It's Wild Here
October 6 – October 29, 2023

Paradigm Gallery + Studio is pleased to present It’s Wild Here, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Philadelphia-based artist Martha Rich. A vibrant display of painted cutouts on wood chronicles the artist’s practice of eavesdropping and observation while underscoring the unique character of the city and its people. It’s Wild Here will be on view at Paradigm Gallery from October 6 – 29, 2023. An opening reception will be held on October 6 from 6:00pm to 8:00 pm during Old City District’s First Fridays.

As an MFA student at the University of Pennsylvania, Rich developed her now signature artistic process of listening and documenting the pithiest, most memorable, or most relatable tidbits of conversations she overheard on the 40 bus route on her way to school. Rich depicts the quirks and colors of Philadelphia through her favorite phrases and overheard “Phillyisms,” presenting them in a hand-painted array of speech bubbles, painted on found plywood and cut with a scroll saw. The text-based pieces are complemented by a series of objects, animals, and symbols rendered in the same technique.

Hung together on the gallery wall in an organic and open-ended configuration, Rich’s body of work mirrors the rollercoaster of life in the city. The artist describes the effect of her installation as that of an “analog Twitter,” where the randomness and unpredictability of the public forum gives way to a chaotic cacophony of voices and images. The juxtaposition of profundity and stupidity, joy and devastation, hilarity and reality, can be destabilizing when encountered on social media, where the pace of online discourse is set by cycles of virality and reactivity. Rich processes this experience of whiplash through her work, while showcasing the idiosyncratic delights of unexpected sayings in unlikely pairings with a kaleidoscopic range of visual motifs.

For her first solo exhibition in Philadelphia, Rich celebrates the city in the tradition of other local compilations, such as the DIY publication “The Secret Admirer” and projects like “Plaque to the Future”. In It’s Wild Here, the artist captures the personality of the place through the words of its people, inviting visitors to take part in a distinctly Philly conversation.

View the virtual twin of the gallery here

Artist Talk with Martha Rich and Lisa Congdon
Friday, October 6th • 5:00pm
Artist Talk Tickets are Sold Out

Thursdays • 10 AM – 6 PM
Fridays • 10 AM – 6 PM
Saturdays • 11 AM – 6 PM
Sundays • 11 AM – 5 PM
And 7 days a week by appointment.

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Philadelphia, PA 19106

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About Martha Rich

Martha Rich lived the typical, suburban life - until she followed her husband to Los Angeles where, just short of a picket fence and 2.5 children her average American life unraveled. To cope with divorce, fate lead her to a class taught by painters and brothers Rob and Christian Clayton. They persuaded her to quit the pantyhose, corporate world, leave her human resources job at Universal Studios behind and become an artist full-time. She graduated with honors from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and got her MFA in Painting from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Her commercial clients include Blue Q, Fringe Studio, Mincing Mockingbird, Chronicle Books, Green Thumb Industries, Penn Gazette, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Penguin UK, McSweeney’s, Portland Mercury, Village Voice, Bon Appetit, San Francisco Chronicle, Henry Holt Publishers, and Country Music TV to name just a few.

Her work is featured in the Beck video “Girl” and a book about her sketchbooks, Sketchbook Expressionism, was published by Murphy Design. In 2019, Chronicle Books published her book, The Furious Notebook, Release Your Rage, Use Your Anger for Good and Chill the Heck Out.

Rich’s artwork has been shown in galleries throughout the U.S. and internationally.

She is currently living in her hometown of Philadelphia and teaches classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

About Paradigm Gallery
Paradigm Gallery + Studio® was established in 2010 by co-founders and curators, Jason Chen and Sara McCorriston. The gallery exhibits meaningful, process-intense contemporary artwork by emerging and mid-career artists from around the world. In 2022, Paradigm announced the opening of its new 5-story, 7,000 sq. ft. home, The Paradigm Arts Building, in Old City, Philadelphia. Now open to the public, the building boasts multiple floors of exhibition space, integrated in-house design and printmaking, a dedicated events floor, and art advisory offices. With this, Chen and McCorriston expanded their vision for the greater Philadelphia arts community. The gallery is at the heart of this vision, anchoring Paradigm’s overall mission of increasing access to the commercial art world, supporting artists and advancing their careers, and collaborating with like-minded partners to build a more equitable, sustainable arts economy for all.