5 into 1 + 1, 2- into 3-D, 3- into 2-D

For Philadelphia Sculptors to have asked the FLUXspace posse to curate their annual 5 into 1 exhibit, now in its 9th year, says a lot both about the FLUXers and about Philadelphia Sculptors. FLUX has in just a brief time made an incredible mark on what is showing in Philadelphia from off in its Kensington outpost. For all their youth, the people who run the space–Joseph di Guiseppe, Chris Golas, Josh Kerner and Nike Dessis–know how to make exciting things happen, know how to navigate through an art world that is part business and part romance, know how to show art that breaks boundaries, and know how connect to the people of the rough-and-tumble neighborhood.

Philadelphia Sculptors also gets kudos for going beyond art school faculty and having the courage to take a chance on Joe and Chris, inviting them to curate the exhibit. Joe and Chris, in their usual collaborative way, asked for a little help from their friends. So even if the P.R. says the two of them curated, the truth is it was more of a team effort.

The resulting show(s), 5 into 1 + 1, is plus-one in a couple of ways. For the first time the exhibit includes students from a sixth school–Arcadia–in addition to the newly minted grads and up-and-coming students from Tyler, Penn, PAFA, UArts and Moore. Also for the first time, the exhibit is in two venues–the usual Moore College space, plus one– FLUXspace itself.

Is the FLUX show get viewers beyond the usual intrepid art fans willing to brave the wilds of North Philadelphia? I don’t know. But I for one think I would have missed something if I had missed that second venue.

I loved a lot of the work in the exhibits (in addition to the excellent work of Nicholas Poyner–see post here).

At FLUX, I want to give special plugs to:

Gregory Farrar Scott
Gregory Farrar Scott, Critter Portrait

Gregory Farrar Scott‘s broom-like millipedes, in Pop yellow, blue and red merge the lovable with creepy-crawlies. I loved they way they were displayed, too, high up on the wall and in the crotch where two walls meet.

Constantina Zavitsanos
Constantina Zavitsanos, Pierce Plowman (b text)

Constantina Zavitsanos’ dome-topped buckets won the what-is-it award for the exhibit. At the top of each was a peep-hole above which an illusion floated from somewhere within the bucket. One of the illusions was a compass pointer. The second one was the hands of a watch (I think–who knows?). Which way they pointed was open to interpretation and where they came from was open to interpretation and their visibility was also open to interpretation. So it is in the world of the imagination. Alas, the title only muddied the waters for me.

Daniel Gallaway
Daniel Gallaway, Polyvinyl Chloride

On the opposite side of muddy, Daniel Gallaway‘s ceramic PVC pipes, with just enough asymmetry to assure you that all is not perfect in the world of handmade and the world in general, spoke their message loud and clear–with elegance. A similar package of real PVC pipes would not have much charm, and in there is the poetics and philosophy of this piece.

Robert Scobey
Robert Scobey, Furniture Refinishing and Repair from the Home Library series of books

Three D trumps 2-D in Robert Scobey‘s carved how-to-do-it books. Borrowing the charm of the books’ dated-looking illustrations, Scobey turns them into spatial puzzles.

Also in the FLUXspace part of the exhibit–work from Maxwell Hartley (who uses sculpture in his video), Adam Bush, and Julie Ann McConnell (whose work I did not see), as well as the aforementioned Nick Poyner.

IMG_6249 Kurt Freyer
Kurt Freyer, untitled, 2008, video

At the Moore College space, a video based on sculptural materials, from Kurt Freyer, merged visual juiciness and color with an abstract narrative line of things piling up and then being hemmed in by netting. Both the pile, and then the netting grow in front of our eyes, alternating between threat and exuberance. That three videos are in this sculpture show, all using the sculpture as props is pretty intriguing as trends go. Besides Freyer, there’s the Poyner work in both spaces and then there’s Hartley‘s trap at FLUX. It intrigues me not just for its strategy, but for what it says about pop culture movies having an influence on art.

IMG_6244 Brian Goodhart
Brian Goodhart, Alligator Hopscotch, black tape

Brian Goodhart‘s Alligator Hopscotch, a caligraphic sculpture of black tape that cominates a huge amount of space, including floor, wall, ceiling, and the space in between as the tape stretches through the air.

IMG_6242 Katie Popelak
Katie Popelak, untitled, oil on canvas

Also playing with space, but using the most unsculpture-ly material is Katie Popelak, whose trompe l’oeil shower makes a good pairing with Poyner’s horror movie props. Popelak’s piece is oil on canvas! and she mixes trompe-l’oeil painting with 3-D space. Also mixing it up with 2- and 3-D is Tad Sare. Unfortunately, I could not get his 3-D binoculars to focus on the King Kong drawing. I thought maybe it was because my eyes were off, but another person who came in the gallery had the same problem. I honestly don’t know if the 3-D was a bogus issue to frustrate the viewer or if the binoculars were simply misplaced. And then Scott’s piece at Moore, “Polish Irish Blend” is a sheet of wallpaper printed on the back, buckling its way up the wall. These three pieces, plus Goodhart’s tape piece plus Scobey’s cut-out book at FLUX, made for another mini-trend.

Samantha Hill, Fear of Water, 2006, synthetic hair, oak, cedar
Samantha Hill, Fear of Water, 2006, synthetic hair, oak, cedar

I won’t write about Samantha Hill‘s piece, Fear of Water, which she showed at Voxxoxo last year. She’s in the ID show we curated now up at Projects, and it brings anything I can say right now into question. But Roberta wrote about work related to this piece last year. Here’s Roberta’s post.

Here’s who comes from which school: The Arcadia artists are Katie Popelak, Dan Galloway and Julie McConnell. Moore is represented by Samantha Hill; PAFA by Ted Sare, Gregory Scott, Robert Scobey, and Tina Zavitsanos; Tyler by Brian Goodhart; The University of the Arts by Adam Bush, Max Hartley, and Nicholas Poyner; and the University of Pennsylvania by Kurt Freyer.