Bambi, no Thumper

steven earl weber
Steven Earl Weber’s Closets and Confessionals, installation with ceramic, found objects, plaster, iconographic figurines

Bambi‘s large gallery space in Fishtown on Frankford Ave. has been in the business of showing art, jewelry and craft items for a while now and I finally made it up there on Friday. Steven Earl Weber‘s Confessionals were the draw, an installation of 6 phone-booth sized rooms with doors, each equipped with sinful or perhaps guilt-producing items (there’s a peephole through which you see a porn movie in one; another is filled with small cast plaster religious figurines).

steven earl weber
Another view of the installation.

There’s a cleansing booth as well, all white and cool with what looks to be a hand-made ceramic sink. Earl, who is a member of the 1801 Howard St. Collective (see post), has made some drawings to accompany his confessionals.

steven earl weber
The cleansing booth, part of Weber’s installation, each environment a separate little room.

And while the idea behind it all is not new — we all have things to confess and lock it up inside — the fierce earnestness that Weber applies to the subject is formidable. So much work (it took Weber 3 weeks to build the installation, Candace (can-DAY-sah) Karch, Bambi’s proprietor told me) and the feverishness of the whole has a visionary feel — as if the artist felt compelled to share the idea and would do so no matter what.

Other Weber pieces I’ve seen have a similar straightforwardness in messaging and a similar finely-crafted affect.
Harley Hog
Robert Malinowski’s
Piggy Bank, harley gas tank, scrap steel, paint.

Also on view are Fred Kasak‘s collages of transportation rigs. And sitting on the gallery’s main glass display case is a lovely craft item, a kind of Harley hog–a piggy bank made from the gas tank of a motorcycle. This item, by Robert Malinowski, is notable for being a usable item (slit in the top for pennies and removable gas cap to get your dough out when you need it. Perfect California flames car detailing makes me want one in the worst way.
Jen Roder
Jen Roder showing her San Pellegrino bottle caps — raw material for cufflinks that will be featured in Philadelphia Magazine. The artist recycles bottlecaps in her jewelry. She’s standing in front of collage works by Frank Kasak.

While up there jewelry artist, Jen Roder, dropped in. She’s got necklaces on display at Bambi made from bottle caps into which nice, sometimes funny, icons are inserted (the Superman logo, etc). Roder had news. She was going to have some San Pellegrino cufflinks (I think it was cufflinks) featured in an upcoming issue of Philadelphia Magazine. I begged to take a picture for artblog so we could scoop the print publication. Hey, that’s what it’s all about, no?

Sales shelves at Bambi. Bags, little paintings, stuffed animals, hats and other things

Somehow I had imagined Bambi as something entirely different than what it is. I envisioned a clothing boutique with dressing rooms and some art on the walls. Instead, Bambi, is a full-speed-ahead art gallery with a crafts boutique attached. The space is beautiful and actually reminded me a tiny bit of Cerulean Arts, long and narrow with a big picture glass front window and nice wood floors.

Rocks n Glocks poster designed by Ron Ribant announcing the February show.

Next month at Bambi is Veleta Vancza and Ron Ribant‘s Rocks and Glocks, opening Feb 2, which looks great! Vancza had a Fleisher Challenge a few years back that Libby and I saw and found quite intriguing. This new work was made while the artist was in residence at the Kohler Arts and Industry Program at the Kohler factory in Sheboygan, WI.

Speaking of upcoming at Bambi, Libby and I just met with David Kessler (more on that coming soon) and he told us that he had a show lined up at Bambi in December. The artist and filmmaker just helmed “If You Break The Skin You Must Come In,” the ICA/Big Picture Coalition documentary on Zoe Strauss)

Kessler is a once and future New Kensington/Fishtown resident. He lived at 1801 Howard St (before the group started collectivizing and showing art)….and soon will be moving to a spot near the Kensington el where he will be doing a video project on the people he encounters in the neighborhood and the effect of the noise and vibration on speech — and many other things. Check out an excellent video clip here.
That’s it for now. More, I hope, including some book reviews, real soon.


bambi, jen roder, robert malinowski, steven earl weber



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