It is impossible to describe Matthew Cox’s work without using the word “juxtaposition,” however cliché and "duh" that sounds. His pieces in "Heartthrobs, avatars, playboys and warriors," after all, are freaking embroidered X-rays — a combination of the sugary sweet and the downright frigid. A grandmother’s pastime mashed up with a harsh, medical diagnosis. Cox, a 2008 recipient of the Pew Charitable Trusts Fellowship for painting, uses his embroidery to explore American icons such as Thomas Jefferson and the U.S. soldier. He is joined by Andrew Graham, whose paintings in the show “Play On” are delectable geometric abstractions.
Through Oct. 19, opening Fri., Sept. 6, 6 p.m., 709 Walnut St., 215-625-9990.
Bridgette Mayer Gallery
Philadelphia-based artist Tim McFarlane is part of growing group of impressive abstract painters featured at Bridgette Mayer Gallery. His pieces are made up of chunky, complicated layers that highlight shape and color in equal parts. While McFarlane’s paintings are often curvy and fantastical, his exhibit “Presence” is colder and more geometrical, in a good way. The show also includes a site-specific painting, and McFarlane said his artwork is inspired by his environment. “The masses of forms overlapping, supporting, and negating each other in my work mirror observations of everyday life,” he said in a statement, “of how people interact with each other and their surroundings, as well as how the passage of time imposes itself on the memory of experience.”
Through Oct. 5, opening Fri., Sept. 6 6 p.m., 215-413- 8893.
Rick Buttari, a PAFA-trained artist, paints thoroughly pleasing local scenes. His realist pieces feature water ice factories, bucolic Pennsylvania landscapes and Philadelphia’s sparkling skyline. They have a sweet, but subtle sense of nostalgia. It’s nothing groundbreaking. It’s just nice.
Through Sept. 28, opening Fri., Sept. 6, 5 p.m., 221 Arch St., 215-922-5155.
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