Monday, August 29, 2011

"Urbanism" at PAFA

Urbanism: Reimagining the Lived Environment
July 2- September 4, 2011, Fisher Brooks Gallery
Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building,
Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts
118-128 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA

    “Urbanism”, at the Fisher Brooks Gallery through September 4, 2011, speaks to social priorities and cultural tendencies in the postmodern age. The genius of the exhibition is in the cumulative dynamism of the four iconic artist/teams. Brilliantly curated by Julien Robson, the themes are exquisitely relevant and intellectually engaging. The work is stylistically diverse, with broad emotional and aesthetic range.

Arden Bendler Brown

   Arden Bendler Browning’s paintings are sweepingly gestural. The artist tactilly encompasses a distinctly  contemporary urban experience via semi abstract, expressionist landscapes. Immersed in the composition and color and energy of these highly emotive, visually compelling environments, the viewer is transported by the energy of the city.

     Amy Walsh’s minutely detailed architectonic sculptural installation incorporates deception, discovery and surprise. A pathway through coarsely veneered walls of cardboard and detritus leads to peepholes through which four minute, personalized, layered, private spaces are revealed. Each is its own painstakingly constructed, miniature model urban environment, simultaneously literal, referential and surreal.

Amy Walsh's Installation
         The Dufala Brothers play with the aesthetics of urban “bling”, creating compelling, repurposed metaphor. One example is the upholstered cavity of a giant green dumpster; “Twenty Yard Dumpster Coffin”  is a luxury-limo, padded lounge, “contained” in an impenetrable, steel industrial shell.

             Ben Peterson’s elaborately imagined cartoons carefully illustrate managed chaos. Disintegrating environments are cheerfully propped with scaffold. Elements of whimsy and leisure are interjected amongst cantilevered decay. Buckled turf, reinforced to support multiple layers of tilted structure, shelters intricate sub-terranean cities. Peterson addresses human reaction to external forces, incorporating themes of evolution, decay, denial, and persistence.

           This exhibition invites the viewer to consider scale, intimacy, and materialism in  the context of the constructed environment, addressing social context, dynamic reinvention, and the sustainability of a material obsessed culture.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

2005 Cosmoscope

"2005 Blue" 28 x 36, mixed media, detritus, on archival cotton rag paper, scored and articulated, mounted on panel

Cosmoscope 2003

Above: "2003 Virgo", "2003 Leo" mixed media on archival cotton paper, each 28 x 40

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2004 Hearts, Hands and Homes of Bangor

            This stained glass mosaic was designed with Bangor Middle School Eighth graders in 2004 as an exploration and synthesis of their community's heritage and values. Known as the "Slate Belt" we incorporated "slate roofs" over the yellow doorways of the "houses". The students chose to make the "roofs" slightly curved, like the points of the arrowheads used by the Woodland Era Munsee Lenape tribe, that inhabited the region in pre colonial times. At the center is a daffodil, a symbol of life, longevity and hope to the Welsh early settlers, whose livelihood was in the slate mines. A symbol of Christianity  eternal life, and sustenance, two fish, signifying the purifying aspects of the Delaware River nearby, and the creek that runs through town, surround the daffodil.
Pictured above are the "Hands" and "Hearts" of Bangor. The adage "Many hands make light work" was true of this mosaic. I worked with the eighth graders to develop the themes, choose the imagery, and work them into a symmetric, mandala like design. The cutting and assembly of the glass was expertly done by "Expressions in Glass" on Johnsonville Road in Bangor, PA

                                 The five petals of this daffodil remind me of the head, hands and legs of the human figure, with the red center like a  heart, a central touchstone for the entire piece.

Site Specific, Community Collaborative Public Sculpture "Bird Song, Bird Dance"

This piece was part of an artist in residence award, with funding from PA Department of Community and Economic Development. The site, at Tannersville Learning Center in Tannersville PA, now houses a sculpture park,  the result of years of dedicated effort on the part of the Pocono Mountain School District Art Faculty, especially Susan Crowley and Linda Danges, and the visionary leadership of Elementary School Principal Catherine Sweeney, and contributions from the Philip and Muriel Berman Public Art Endowment.

The "feature" piece in the Bird Song, Bird Dance installation, pictured front is the belltower, complete with a raptor at its top, designed by a lively and inspired Kindergarten class, via experimentation with found metal forms, such as bushings, metal points, etc. The powder coated cardinals are the school mascot, and populate the mobile which circulates around the tower. The bell, which can be struck by students, is a freshwater bouey. Pictured distant right is the killdeer bench, visible left is the Great Heron, part of three field and water birds assembled from fresh water boueys. The Heron's head bobs on a spring coil neck, and its body swings from legs anchored in the earth. The distant red legs are the base of the pegasus, concieved by fourth graders.

        Pictured top is the pegasus, with powder coated machine table legs. and an old tractor wheel body. Metal artist Jim Doherty did the welding and fabrication. The I beam bench was assembled on site, with the students choosing the orientation of the base, and even reciting the vocabulary of "paralell" and "intersecting" legs. The killdeer housed in the cylinder was designed by me. Linda had noted that the school is an important migratory killdeer route: The females nest on the flat top of the school's roof in spring.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


"Making Her Bed" wood, paint, mixed media
"Hope's Chest" wood, mixed media
"Brush and Comb" 1 x 5 x 10 ", wood and paint

"Candi Box" exterior; Paper, wood, paint

"Candi Box" Interior

Patriotic Patriarchy

"Patriotic Patriarchy: Stolen Red Dress" silk, paper, paint, wood

"Patriotic Patriarchy: Stolen Red Dress" silk, paper, paint, wood

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Flotsam Ephemera Detritus 2009

"2009 Homney & Freeze Pop" 10 x10" Found Paper, Paint, Glitter, Belt Buckle, etc.

Flotsam Ephemera Detritus 2008

"2008 City Limits w. Butterfly" 14.5 x 11.5" paint, paper, found paper, glitter, pom pom, butterfly, plastic air bubble. 1998-08
 "2008 Post Mortem" 60 x 48" paint, paper, found paper, found objects, ribbon. 2000-08

Flotsam Ephemera Detritus 2007

"2007 Red" acrylic paint, found paper, plastic objects, sequins, feather. 14.5 x 11.5 "
"2007 Libsiss", acrylic paint, found paper, sequins, feather. 14.5 x 11.5 "
"2007 Golden Boy", acrylic paint, found paper, sequins, feather, etc. 14.5 x 11.5 "

Monday, February 14, 2011

1994 Transition to the Personal Narrative

"Ship's Fool" was a transitional piece, using found wood again as a sculptural element, but the figure "blooming" on the vertical injects a metaphoric relationship. Like "Vase de Terre", the figurative female reference resonates with me.
This low relief box was a way to work out the figure/structure relationship in miniature. This piece is "Intimate/Intimidate" 1994, Chiri paper, copper paint, acrylic polymer. 

"Crying Over Spilt Milk" 1994. Metal, wood, found wood, paint. This piece happened after a court order mandated that my daughter spend considerable time with her father and stepmother. It is the beginning of a chapter of a more literal personal narrative in my work.

"Embrace" 1994, Paper and paperboard.

Split Maple Sapling Sculpture, 1992

These pieces were made by splitting green lengths of maple sapling, then gradually stretching them apart to create linear structures of a variety of configurations. I was fascinated by both the cast shadows and the spaces they defined.

This is "Paradoxical Symmetry" 1992

Above: "Beckoning" 1992

Intuitive Architecture, 2010: Jumbo Grade

"Jumbo Grade" Carson City, NV, 2010

"Jumbo Grade" Carson City, NV, Installation, January 2010. The path of piece was conceived to follow the path of the trail between the mountains behind. The desert in winter is inspirational.

"Jumbo Grade", July 2010. detail.

Intuitive Architecture, 1992 "Vase de Terre"

"Vase de Terre" Installation for Earth Day, 1992, Castle Inn, Delaware Water Gap, PA. It was the first time I could use materials found on site. I excavated the elongated "prolate spheroid" from the loose earth on the site, and found the upright stakes on site, drilling holes and lacing the red paint saturated cotton cord through.

Intuitive Architecture, 1990

Installation View at Logan Square, 20th and Parkway, "Parabola" and "Strata" 1990 as part of BFA thesis exhibition. Moore College of Art and Design