Rocks-n-Glocks rocks: Vancza and Ribant at Bambi

Ron Ribant
A Ron Ribant gun. It never really looks real. Nor does it try to.

I found a great route to Fishtown–north on 95 to Frankford Avenue and go right on past Johnny Brenda’s. I was on the way to Bambi for Rocks-n-Glocks.

I sort of knew what the rocks were going to look like. They translate well in photographs.

Ron Ribant

The big surprise for me were Ron Ribant’s “glocks”–especially the foam core-layered guns (maybe they were wood?)[added 2/18: oops, they are masonite]–not-quite replicas, not quite toys. There’s only a partial dimensionality, but it consists of layers of flat planes, painted to almost look like the real thing…yet not. Those flat planes and the flimsy quality of of the layers take the metal right out of the grip. Loved ’em. Peace wins here. So three cheers for Ribant. The prints of guns were more straightforward and not as sly.

Veleta Vancza
This rock is coated with shiny stones. At night it also glows in the dark, but I couldn’t get it to perform during the day. The black-out room works great for the others, though. If not, ask gallery owner Candace to help you out.

Rocks, by Veleta Vancza are hilarious and smart. We first sat up and took notice of her work when she had a Fleisher Challenge that saluted Josef Albers’ Homage to the Square with nested rectangles made of stuck-together popcorn-like pieces of metal.

Vancza’s rocks, which she made at a Kohler Art Center residency, are slightly clunky faceted diamond shapes, about half-a-toilet-bowl big. They look like glazed porcelain in toilet bowl colors of white, pink and blue, although underneath their vitreous-looking glaze they are actually cast iron. I especially liked the blue. Oh, they also come in a mirrored finish and one was coated with little gems–rocks on the rock.

Veleta Vancza
Here’s one of Vancza’s rocks glowing in the dark. The gem stone is coated with a phosphorous glaze over cast iron.

The back room at Bambi has been curtained off to become a black-out room, and the rocks glow in the dark. Wowza. They suddenly bring the value of art on the walls into question! From there it’s a small leap to the value of diamonds and blood diamonds and gold and anything else worth its weight in filthy lucre.

Veleta Vancza
This one is made for your 15 minutes of rock stardom.

The mirror-surface stars and rock in the front room are something else again. I found myself staring into my own face (oh horrors) and dreams of rock stardom flashed across my mind.

So schlep up to Bambi, my pretties, and revel in the culture as we dream it. The exhibit even has it’s own logo. It’s on the gallery wall and also on a glow-in-the-dark t-shirt, perfect for bikers. Buy it and shine in the dark.


bambi, ron ribant, veleta vancza



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