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Scott Noel - The Academy and the Alcázar

  • Gross McCleaf Gallery 127 South Sixteenth Street Philadelphia, PA 19102 (map)

February 1-28, 2019

Opening Reception: Friday February 1, 5-7pm


Since coming to Philadelphia, I've found my subject matter in the city's 2004 I began painting intensively from views offered by the Hamilton Building [of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts] and then within classrooms and the museum cast hall itself. All the while students, models, and friends entered these paintings as actors in domestic dramas and mythic pageants. People appear in my pictures as specific likeness and I'm not sure whether to describe myself as a figure painter, a portraitist, a cityscape painter, or a creator of visual narratives.- Scott Noel


Scott Noel joined Gross McCleaf Gallery in 2000 and, from the very beginning, Gross McCleaf has been proud to present the work of a painter whose presence and influence as both an artist and teacher are undeniable and widespread. Both indebted to and contributing to the evolving history of Philadelphia as a city of painters, Noel crafts meticulous and virtuosic paintings of the city and its inhabitants connecting the daily life of Philadelphians with the enduring mythic narratives of western culture. Working from life, directly responding to the world in front of him, Noel transforms ordinary vistas into scenes of inquiry and dramaturgy. The resulting paintings have both beautiful surfaces and deep philosophical underpinnings that reward the curious viewer.


Following an inspirational trip to Madrid, Scott Noel noticed parallels between his life as a painter and educator living in Philadelphia and that of one of his heroes, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, commonly known as Velázquez, court painter to the King of Spain. Both artists, each crafting visions of a world where the mythic and the modern elide and featuring the familiar faces of friends and peers, have lived complex lives centered on grand tradition of and their love for painting.  


The Academy and the Alcázar, named after the influential institutions of both artists' lives, features paintings only possible with Noel's ambition, confidence, and lifetime experience painting. Revealing the range of Noel's curiosities, the exhibition features intimate portraits and grand narratives. Noel paints the humble and beautiful surroundings of Manayunk and panoramic vistas which are only available to one looking out and upon the city of Philadelphia from above. From portraits of fellow artists and students to mythological figures and statues from antiquity, Noel's use of paint, composition, and narrative are unparalleled.

Later Event: February 1
February First Friday