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Words from Anthony Campuzano, Anissa Mack at Fleisher/Ollman


Anthony campuzano
Anthony Campuzano, After Note from Mother
colored pencil and graphine on illustration board, 2007
20 x 15 inches

The words embedded in Anthony Campuzano’s drawings continue to amaze me, with their witty excerpts from magazine and news sources; they reveal the pulp fiction behind pulp culture, asking–and answering–just what the heck is really going on here. Some people have conspiracy theories and space invaders as their answer; Campuzano has the embedded meanings behind the words that parade before us, and he gives them a pulsating visual vibe with supernatural intensity.

Campuzano has been part with the Fleisher/Ollman Gallery–and a presence on the Philadelphia art scene (or at least a presence in my mind)–since he showed in its new artists show, New Acropolis, in 2003. Anthony Campuzano: Note on Door is his second solo show at the gallery. Campuzano is a Tyler grad whose mix of irregular, outsider lettering and use of language, his ability to make something thought provoking and politically engaged at the same time, and his obsessive handling of materials have set his work apart from lots of other text-based artists.

Anthony campuzano
In the Nation and the World, 2007
colored pencil & graphite on illustration board
30 x 20 inches

The wifty obit in In the Nation and the World is a good example of Campuzano at his best. The story, probably borrowed wholesale from a real news story, is right and strange and funny all at once.

Anthony campuzano
Anthony Campuzano, Unhappy but Used to it/Six Years and then Some, 2007
ink & graphite on graph board

Two personal pieces (or at least I take them as personal) also select material that’s already there in the real world. After a Note from Mother, it’s message –Put these away, Put these away–embedded in the network of the lines that bind, is no doubt based on a real message; and Unhappy but Used to it/Six Years and then Some takes the calendar grid and turns it into an emotional journal–obsessive, illogical and irregular. I don’t know if this refers back to 9/11 but I think not, since it begins in May. It’s my favorite piece in the show.

Anthony Campuzano, the Note on Door series, 2007, 82 1/2 x 38 1/2 inches
Anthony Campuzano, the Note on Door series, 2007, 82 1/2 x 38 1/2 inches

Campuzano’s show at Fleisher/Ollman, Note on Door, also includes nine door-sized paintings of doors, all with the same note, “Landlord you lied to us Dead Man walks in basement at night.” Although I loved the life-size scale, and the repetition of the note with its implied narrative, the paintings lack the urgency of the drawings.

Anissa Mack
Anissa Mack, untitled, 2006, bronze & magazines, ed. 3 1 ap
10 1/2 x 11; 1/2 x 8 3/4

Also showing at Fleisher/Ollman is Anissa Mack, the young woman who caused a stir by serving up pies in 2002 from a temporary country cottage, complete with an oven, on the steps outside the Brooklyn Public Library on Grand Army Plaza–a hot art giveaway if ever there was one. In her small show of new works at Fleisher/Ollman, she too showed some text-based art. She showed an antique quilt on which she had printed in ink, My Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather Knew Daniel Boone. The old quilt held my interest; the words did not. In general, I found a sense of humor but not quite enough filling inside the crust.