Francesca Pastine and Jackie Tileston at Pentimenti

Pentimenti Gallery in Old City has double the visual intensity throughout the month of November. On display right now is a two-person show by artists Francesca Pastine and Jackie Tileston that plays with colorful, fluid forms in both abstract painted manifestations and appropriated constructions made from physical art publications themselves.

Francesca Pastine, “Unsolicited Collaboration with Kara Walker, Artforum Excavation Series.”

Works by Pastine are immediately intriguing in that they are all (dis)assembled from used magazines. The artist utilizes X-acto knives to slice and reshape the recognizable objects of print publication from boxy pages to organic, dripping swaths of patterns. At a time when print is quickly fading into the background in favor of web-based publishing, these melting magazines make for an apt metaphor surrounding their own obsolescence. Furthermore, these books are not just any discarded Newsweek that Pastine found in her local dentist’s waiting room, they are her friend’s unwanted copies of Artforum. Morphing the very stuff of contemporary art and placing it squarely in a gallery is not just a nudge at paper production, but at the art world itself.

Artforum 45

Francesca Pastine, “Artforum 45.”

Cut paper allows for the inclusion of actual depth into these montages. The structures are more relief sculpture than collage, but they tug at the coattails of two-dimensional art as well, seeing as they are literally composed of flat images. Pastine plays with this element quite a bit, digging warped, rectangular pits into the cover of Artforum or layering the pages into bookmark-like blobs that peek out from inside the books. Particularly stunning is Pastine’s “Artforum 45,” which shows a group of white-clad bodies seemingly falling onto one of her contoured pools of color. The key word here is onto, and not into. The fact that the people rest atop the form instead of sink into it references its existence as a solid object and not just an amorphous puddle.

Indeterminate Navigation Space

Jackie Tileston, “Indeterminate Navigation Space.”

In contrast to the objects of Pastine, Jackie Tileston works in paint on exclusively two-dimensional surfaces. The actual mingling of colors and organic patterns blends almost seamlessly with the other work in the show and the result is a very cohesive exhibit. Tileston’s creations are surely the moonbounce of painting; playful, energetic and full of air – or at least wispy, gaseous paint strokes.

Encounters Upon Waking

Jackie Tileston, “Encounters Upon Waking.”

The contrast of Tileston’s canvases is also notable. While much of the space is filled with air-like layers, heavy, saturated lines and thick chunks of paint make their way into and across the chaos to anchor it a bit, although these forms themselves are often full of movement too. Her bibliography of images would read like a reel of psychedelic meanderings, explosions and writhing microscopic organisms but draws to mind abstract expressionism in its unplanned deliberateness. Tileston also has a healthy taste for depth, as she creates the illusion of vast spaces in her paintings full of mingling pastel clouds which seem to reach on forever.

On the walls of Pentimenti, Tileston and Pastine show off their skill with wily concoctions of paper and paint. Depth and patterns dominate the show along with a fun atmosphere and a few revelations about the nature of art and publishing, just for good measure. The exhibitions will be on view through December 15.

Pentimenti Gallery is located at 145 North 2nd St., Philadelphia; [email protected]