Two at Pagus

The Philadelphia Inquirer


November 25th 2011

The message and methodology in Nakima Ollin and Emily Erb’s art are interesting. And in their show “Earthly Delights” at Pagus Gallery, the featured Philadelphia pair have succeeded in bringing together those two elements with intelligence and grace. Ideologically, I’d say each seems to be distancing herself from society’s entrenched systems of power, although Ollin does portray several nearby oil refineries, one work titledĀ Sunoco Afternoon.

But the awesome thing is the ancient tradition-bound medium each artist chooses for her postindustrial artistry. With Ollin it’s egg tempera, for everything including wide-angle, sensitive city landscape, while for Erb it’s painting on silk. Erb wants also to stretch your mind with classical subjects, unique world maps that pinpoint changes of land ownership on various continents, and a large triptych about once-dominant but now threatened animal species.

And while Ollin touches on a point of crisis for the values of the oil industry in Marcus Hook, giving her work something of a subversive sting, both artists seem to take us someplace art hasn’t taken us before.