Edison Price Lighting’s art and industry program has positive impacts on artists and factory workers
Ilana Napoli revisits the Edison Price Lighting factory in Queens for the second year in a row to see the exhibition at the company's gallery space, with art made by artists from upcycled materials from the factory. She applauds the art and industry program and notes that it positively impacts the artists in residence as well as the factory workers, who are very interested in the art program and set aside interesting left-over materials for the artists to use in creating new art.

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Ken Weisensee, "Self-Portrait (MEtal)", 48" x 36". EPL aluminum, epoxy, oil paint. Photo courtesy of Edison Price Lighting.
Ken Weisensee, “Self-Portrait (MEtal)”, 48″ x 36″. EPL aluminum, epoxy, oil paint. Photo courtesy of Edison Price Lighting.

One year after their first upcycling themed show, Edison Price Lighting Gallery — a major manufacturer of lighting fixtures based in Long Island City, NY — has opened REVISION 2, continuing the concept of inviting local artists to visit the factory and source art materials and inspiration to make new works from the metal scraps. While last year’s artists for the most part worked abstractly, this year’s eleven artists took a much more graphic approach to the show’s theme of creating art from recycled material.

Art and Manufacturing

An interesting result of EPL’s ongoing association with local artists is the increased involvement from factory employees. As the number of artists visiting the factory has grown, EPL’s manufacturing staff have increasingly shown interest in participating by setting aside interesting scraps for artists. And, as the artists create offsite (not in the factory space), more and more craftspeople in the factory are requesting to see the resulting work. Additionally, the REVISION 2 show catalogue credits the staff by name and explains the processes used to create the different types of scraps. This unexpected partnership is an exciting intersection of community, manufacturing production cycles, and upcycling. EPL’s ongoing exchanges between artists and tradespeople echoes the Wisconsin-based Kohler Arts/Industry Residency Program, a forty-five year old initiative giving artists the opportunity to learn ceramic, metalworking, and enameling skills from master artisans.

Hints of Industry

One of the most exciting uses of EPL’s metal was in portraiture. Both Ken Weisensee‘s “SELF-PORTRAIT (MEtal)” and Irene Christensen’s “A World Within” utilize a combination of metal and paint, and give off a uniquely captivating, otherworldly feel. Using aluminum fragments and impasto oil paint, Weisensee creates a mosaic-style self portrait of himself wearing a gas mask; the gas mask makes sense considering spray paint is his medium of choice, but without that context the piece evokes a heavy, apocalyptic feeling. Meanwhile, Christensen’s layered metal plates and found objects on top of a mysterious series of illustrations gives the impression that the figures within are caged behind the cuttings. The flat, stylized paintings beneath the metal framework and three-dimensional objects feel like a glimpse into a captive universe.

Irene Christensen, "A World Within," 36" x 56". EPL Scraps (perforated metal plates), wooden beads, lichen, shells, ink, acrylic paint, watercolor paper. Photo by Ilana Napoli.
Irene Christensen, “A World Within,” 36″ x 56″. EPL Scraps (perforated metal plates), wooden beads, lichen, shells, ink, acrylic paint, watercolor paper. Photo by Ilana Napoli.

Printmaking was also a common theme among several of the artists. Unlike last year’s show, in which all the finished artworks directly incorporated metal, a few of this year’s pieces utilize metal in part of the process but not the finished piece. Barbara Lubliner -the only returning artist from last year’s show- uses perforated metal plates as monoprint stencils. The rigid, rectangular structures in her prints resemble skyscrapers, and the same form is printed in a variety of colors that suggest views of a building throughout the day. Mary Pinto’s chromogenic print “Factory Garden” creates a more decorative, almost floral looking arrangement out of the same type of laser-cut aluminum. In both cases, the finished pieces hint at their industrial origins without blatantly displaying the materials.

On the more sculptural side of the spectrum, Christina Massey and Elizabeth Riley’s pieces, both called “Untitled”, contain surprisingly similar dayglo color palettes and create layered, brightly colored compositions out of metal, paint, ink, and paper. Massey’s piece transforms painted paper, perforated steel and aluminum scraps into a bouquet, and Riley’s work layers aluminum scraps over a wall-length array of video stills inkjet printed on paper and fabric. The two “Untitled” works carry very different vibes; Massey’s condensed burst of color reads as a vibrant floral design, while Riley’s sprawling installation reads as an intense, glitchy, virtual reality nightmare.

Christina Massey, "Untitled", 29" x 23" x 9". EPL steel, EPL aluminum, enamel paint, wire. Photo courtesy of Edison Price Lighting.
Christina Massey, “Untitled”, 29″ x 23″ x 9″. EPL steel, EPL aluminum, enamel paint, wire. Photo courtesy of Edison Price Lighting.

Others in the exhibit include: Jaynie Gillman Crimmins, Bernard Klevickas, Chase Pashkowich, Francine Perlman, and Jeffrey Allen Price.

About EPL

Edison Price is a well-known quality lighting manufacturer whose products can be found in institutions and buildings across the country (including 30th Street Station). The company has operated for over six decades, founded by respected lighting designer Edison Price, but the gallery is a fairly new project. It’s great to see the company’s connection with the community and I look forward to seeing further iterations of their upcycling efforts.

REvision 2 is at Edison Price Lighting Gallery (4150 22nd St, Long Island City, NY 11101) until November. Appointments to visit the gallery can be made by emailing gallery@epl.com.  See Ilana’s 2018 post about the first REvision show at Edison Price Lighting Gallery.


More Photos

Barbara Lubliner, "Daybreak" and "High Noon", 25" x 33". Monoprint of EPL laser cut aluminum. Photo by Ilana Napoli.
Barbara Lubliner, “High Noon” and “Days End”, 25″ x 33″. Monoprint of EPL laser cut aluminum. Photo by Ilana Napoli.
Barbara Lubliner, "Days End" and "Nightfall", 25" x 33". Monoprint of EPL laser cut aluminum. Photo by Ilana Napoli.
Barbara Lubliner, “Days End” and “Nightfall”, 25″ x 33″. Monoprint of EPL laser cut aluminum. Photo by Ilana Napoli.
Mary Pinto, "Factory Garden", Chromogenic prints collage using EPL laser cut aluminum, 24" x 36". Photo courtesy of Edison Price Lighting.
Mary Pinto, “Factory Garden”, Chromogenic prints collage using EPL laser cut aluminum, 24″ x 36″. Photo courtesy of Edison Price Lighting.
Elizabeth Riley, "Untitled", EPL scrap aluminum, video stills inkjet printed on paper and fabric, 120" x 102" x 24". Photo courtesy of Edison Price Lighting.
Elizabeth Riley, “Untitled”, EPL scrap aluminum, video stills inkjet printed on paper and fabric, 120″ x 102″ x 24″. Photo courtesy of Edison Price Lighting.
Tags

Aluminum, and Jeffrey Allen Price, Barbara Lubliner, Bernard Klevickas, Chase Pashkowich, Christina Massey, craft, Edison Price Lighting, Edison Price Lighting Gallery, Elizabeth Riley, EPL, Francine Perlman, Impasto, industry, Irene Christensen, Jaynie Gillman Crimmins, Ken Weisensee, long island city, Mary Pinto, metal, Metalworking, new york, oil paint, printmaking

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