Opening: Coffee Readings • Sepia Drawings

Irene Frenkel • Artist
Opening Reception: First Friday, April 7th, 2023
Old City Coffee is hosting Coffee Readings, a collection of sepia drawings by Irene Frenkel. Join us for an opening reception to see the work, meet the artist and enjoy light refreshments.

Artist Statement:
The practice of coffee readings, where the pattern formed by coffee grounds reveals the future or offers revelatory personal insights, is varied and practiced by many traditions. My version of coffee readings started by accidental caffeine abuse- when I spilled my coffee onto my artwork. While the spill did not offer any mystical foretelling, it revealed a lesson in making purpose out of mistakes. I continue to spill coffee- sometimes on accident, sometimes on purpose, and use it to make art.

Paper plates are used because they are like paper but with added dimension. The round shape gives more of the likeness of an actual coffee reading. I use the ink to perform my “reading” of coffee washes. The two in combination give an impression of coffee grounds.
About the Artist:
I am a professional introvert who has discovered my passion for avoiding crowds and strangers at an early age. I became an artist in order to support this passion and to allow myself to be alone as often as possible.

I graduated with a Masters Degree from the Moscow Institute for Graphic Arts in 1984, and continued to live and work in Moscow as a graphic designer and book illustrator before the era of computers. In 1989, I left Russia with my family as political refugees, and had to start over and find new ways to pursue my introvertism through art. While I taught private art lessons and painted, my first opportunities to present my work came from the Jewish community, with my first exhibit at Knesset Israel Synagogue in 1993, then later at the Jewish Community Center in Northeast Philadelphia.

In 1994, I was accepted as a member of Artforms Gallery in Manayunk, in which I participated in various group and solo exhibits and juried shows. In the Spring of 2000 I earned a fellowship to paint and live in Rendsburg, Germany for four months, culminating in a solo exhibit at the Germany Rendsburg Jewish Museum. After my fellowship, I continued to paint and exhibit with Artforms until the gallery closed.

Life happens, but my art has always been a prominent part of it, and I had to innovate. My media changed and expanded. I have continued to do occasional exhibits, including a group show with other former Artforms artists at the JCC of Northern Virginia in 2013 and Abington Art Center, PA in 2018.

Opening Reception: First Friday, April 7th, 2023
The show can be viewed during regular business hours:
April 7th–June 30th, 2023 • 5–7pm
Monday – Thursday: 7am – 4pm
Friday & Saturday: 7am – 5:30pm
Sunday: 8am - 5:30pm
Location: Old City Coffee, 221 Church St, Philadelphia, PA 19106