Weekly Update – For you, for me, from me at FLUXspace


This week’s Weekly has my review of For You, For Me, From Me at FLUXspace. Below is the copy with some pictures. More photos at flickr.

Come Play With Me
Four young artists long to share their ideas.

Julia Schwadron and Steve Lambert
Julia Schwadron and Steve Lambert’s take away signs at FLUXspace.

Art exhibits get organized for many reasons. Sometimes it’s political, sometimes it’s for money, and sometimes it’s because the organizer is simply bursting with enthusiasm. “For You, for Me, From Me,” a four-artist show at FLUXSpace, is all about audience enjoyment.

According to young curator Dustin Metz, the artists involved—Benjamin Kinsley, the team of Julia Schwadron and Steve Lambert, and Zachar Vaks (aka 3axap Bakc)—make art specifically to share with an audience of non-art-wonks. That said, the art enthusiasts at the opening had a blast.

Zachar Vaks (3axap Bakc)
Zachar Vaks’ table of cooked and marinated drawings.

Full of friendly work that can be touched (Vaks), played with (Kinsley) and taken home to be shared (Schwadron and Lambert), “For You, for Me, From Me” is a delight.

Benjamin Kinsley’s simple and theatrical interactive sculpture and video Storm at Sea is the work that made me smile the most. It begins with a straight line of low-tech objects in front of a video camera. There’s the sea (a blue box with rice in it), a boat (wood), clouds (tufted cotton on sticks), lightning (a metal sheet) and rain (rice in a holey bucket). Shake the bucket and the rice falls; twirl the wheel with the cotton tufts and clouds roll by. Everything is movable, childlike and lovable—and when activated by a number of people working the parts simultaneously, the scene is truly a storm at sea.

Benjamin Kinsley
Benjamin Kinsley’s Storm at Sea being enacted at the opening.

Benjamin Kinsley
Benjamin Kinsley, the video Storm at Sea, playing on the downstairs monitor at FLUXspace.

Captured on video and played on a monitor in the downstairs gallery space, Storm at Sea is as realistic as the puppet shows on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and therein lies its charm. The “make-believe” factor, so unforced and social (it’s hard to make it work by yourself), encourages participants to smile with each other as they work toward the common goal of having fun and pretending.

Benjamin Kinsley
The objects that make up Storm at Sea are enjoyable as objects but their performative potential is what pushes them to another level.

Artists and guerrilla street-sign painters Schwadron and Lambert made a group of new works for Philadelphia. Viewers are encouraged to take the exhortations and epigrams with them and tape them to places in their neighborhoods.

The one I took with me—“THERE IS more than ONE WAY”—is lovable for its anti-status-quo, anti-perfectionist sentiments, and its implication of self-empowerment. The handmade signs, with their uneven spacing and not quite perfect lettering, are endearing.

Painting by Zachar Vaks. Like his marinated and cooked drawings, his paintings have an alchemical atmosphere.
Painting by Zachar Vaks. Like his marinated and cooked drawings, his paintings have an alchemical atmosphere.

Zachar Vaks has a table of what he calls “marinated and cooked drawings”—he draws on paper, pours clove bud oil on it, then either cooks it or lets it steep in the oil. Viewers are encouraged to hold the drawings, which are interesting to touch and delicious to smell.

If you’re wondering what the future of art is, think about artists communicating a joy in making and a joy in community. There are no formalist concerns here, and no art-speak. Just youth searching for the future. And that’s a very good thing.

“For You, for Me, From Me”
Through Feb. 1. FLUXSpace, 3000 N. Hope St. 610.639.1203.


benjamin kinsley, fluxspace, julia schwadron, steve lambert, zachar vaks



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