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Lawrence Gallery Presents Proximus, Opening January 18 at Rosemont College

Philadelphia Artists Ron Rumford and Jonathan Eckel Exhibit at Lawrence Gallery

Gallery Info

Rosemont, PA—Lawrence Gallery has announced the opening of Proximus, a two-person exhibit featuring recent works on canvas and paper by Philadelphia-based artists Ron Rumford and Jonathan Eckel, on display from January 18 through March 8, 2018. The gallery will host an opening reception on Thursday, January 18 from 4 to 7:00 p.m., with an informal artists’ talk at 4:30.          


No sooner had Rumford and Eckel started to plan the exhibit for Lawrence Gallery than they decided on the title, Proximus. According to the artists, this title represents not only the proximity of their studios, which sit within fifty-feet of each other in Northwest Philadelphia, but also the stunning dynamic between them and their shared passion for abstract art.


“It is an honor to collaborate on an exhibition with my great friend and neighbor, Jon Eckel,” said Ron Rumford. “We are grateful to have the Lawrence Gallery team see the connection in our work, and it is a tremendous honor to present our recent paintings and unique prints in their gallery.”


Rumford and Eckel both take inspiration from pre-war to mid-20th Century American and European art, as well as the arts of indigenous cultures. Though the artists differ in terms of style and technique, rich, saturated color, perceptive drawing, and strong composition establish the common ground in their art. This exhibit combines their strengths without sacrificing their individuality.


Rumford’s process at once permits experimentation and demands precision as he develops composite images from a range of self-made printing plates. His prints are comprised of overlapping blocks of gestural line and shape. While the forms are deceptively simple at first glance, an extended, more thorough viewing reveals multiple layers of depth and meaning.


“In my work, I like to explore the tension that develops between the line and the shape the line makes,” said Rumford. “The viewer can see my prints as maps or tracings of abstract journeys. They can be metaphors for real, physical travels, or completely imagined.”


As the director of Dolan/Maxwell, an internationally known visual and contemporary art gallery in Center City, Rumford has strong ties to the Philadelphia art community and has made a continued effort to promote talented local artists for over two decades. In 1984, he earned his B.F.A from The University of the Arts, before moving to Rome, Italy to study at the Tyler School of Art. He has shown extensively in Ireland, England, and throughout the United States. His work is featured in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Palmer Museum of Art in University Park, PA, as well as the Free Library of Philadelphia and the New York Public Library.


Whereas Rumford is structured and precise, Eckel is DeKooning-esque in his aggressive laying down of images. He riffs on 20th century masters in an intensely personal mash-up while using shading and shadow to create illusionistic space. There is a feeling of musicality in his work in that the shapes –and where they meet—generate an energy that makes them vibrate.


Eckel claims to have discovered a new sense of freedom in his most recent series of paintings. “I’m learning to trust myself as an artist,” he said. “By applying the paint intuitively, I create a raw rhythm of line, color, and shape. I often try to surprise myself because, I figure, if I’m surprised, then the viewer will also be surprised.”


Eckel earned his B.F.A from Temple University and also studied at the Tyler School of Art. He has shown extensively throughout the United States. His recent exhibits include Return to Reason at the Tioga Gallery in Bryn Mawr, PA, Between Figuration and Abstraction at the Dalet Gallery in Philadelphia, and All Guns Down at Hibben Studio in Princeton, NJ.


Lawrence Hall Gallery is located on the Rosemont College Campus, 1400 Montgomery Avenue, Rosemont, PA. The Gallery is open Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., or by appointment. For more information, please call 610-527-0200 X2967.