Stephen Tuomala: Interlaid
Stephen Tuomala's paintings and drawings re-contextualize historical images and film stills by pushing the scale, material, tone and intensity of the color. His main focus is on a variety of subjects dealing with spectacles from the tragic to the sensual enhancing the bodies’ gestures and the stories they tell.
Come join us for the opening reception, Friday, June 2nd.
Salvatore Dell'Aquila: Vanishing Wholes
The Art Dept. is proud to present new works by Salvatore Dell'Aquila in Vanishing Wholes.
Salvatore DellAquila is a self-developed illustrator, designer, and fine artist living and working in NJ. He constructs multi-layered, textured environments, and complex abstract forms. The arrangement of intricate organic shapes, combined with generic flora/fauna, explores the interaction of growth and decay. The structures and vibrations continually evolve to create constant motion. Each constructed ecosystem is it's own ongoing unfolding story.
Come join us for the opening reception Friday, May 5th, and pick up the trail Salvatore's delicate pencils leave for us to follow.
Dese'Rae L. Stage: Live Through This
Suicide is a dirty word. It happens only to the weak, cowardly, sinful, or selfish among us—or so we've been told. The truth is that suicide is none of those things. Suicide does not discriminate. The truth is that it's the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. The truth is that it kills 121.1 Americans every day, and over 44,193 of us every year.
Live Through This is a series of portraits and true stories of suicide attempt survivors nationwide whose identities span a large breadth of background, ethnicity, faith, gender presentation, sexual orientation, profession, age, and experience. Any one of these survivors could be your mom, a coworker, your partner, your best friend. Live Through This asks you to look into the eyes of survivors and find yourself in them. It asks you to walk a mile in their shoes before casting judgment: what would it take to make you want to take your own life?
The ways we talk and think about suicide are dangerous and discriminatory. By participating in Live Through This, survivors take a stand: suicide is not shameful. It happens to the best of us, and we each have the power to save a life simply by being open enough to talk about it. The stories and experiences shared in Live Through This can inform and guide productive change in societal perception of suicide, and within the mental health system.
Our stories can save lives. You are not alone. Please stay.
COLLEEN RUDOLF: AND WHAT POISONS ME IS WHAT POISONS YOU
CARMEL BROWN AND ABBIE BEACHIE: BIRTH OF A NATION
Kate Glasheen: Blood Dopes
Naima Lowe: Trouble
CAITLIN BEATTIE: OFF WITH HER HEAD
Caitlin Beattie studied photography at The Art Institute and this is her second year participating in POST. For the past three years Caitlin has been working for CFEVA photographing artists they work with in the Philadelphia area. Photographing artists in their work spaces has been a huge learning experience for Caitlin as an artist herself, who continues to grow.
"On October 2, 2010 my younger sister was is a terrible car accident that left her with a traumatic brain injury. It was one week before her 18th birthday and our lives changed forever.
"Six years later, she is still recovering. Creating photographs helps me heal, it's how I tell the world what happened. This work features female figures without heads in dream constructed states. All of these women are her. They are my sister fighting her way back to us from the dark unknown limbo that is brain injury."
MICHELLE AVERY KONCZYK: BUT I SEE NOTHING
The Art Dept. is proud to welcome Michelle Avery Konczyk back to the space. Come join us for the opening reception of "But I See Nothing" Friday, September 9th, from 6-9pm.
"I have taken the medium known most for its bright and cheerful connotation and with it, I paint subject matter that transcends into the realm of surrealism. My paintings are an incorporation of various entities. I add extra body parts and eyes, which take the realistic manner in which I paint into the world that is my imagination. Through this, I can show you the beauty that lies within our ugly realities. There is a pressing irony, that is my art, for it is everything you would least expect a watercolor painting to be. It is my goal topush the boundaries of the medium and take it where no artist has gone before, not only in technique and subject matter, but in presentation. I have more recently been working with adhering my paintings onto wood, which breaks the traditional shape along with inviting the viewer into the piece. These sometimes raw and unbinding edges alter the norms of watercolor paintings much like the way my realistic renderings alter our perception of reality. What exactly is reality when everything that we view to be real, our minds have made up? The only thing apparent and true is there cannot be light without darkness, and there cannot be beauty without ugliness—with that knowledge, I make my art."
JAMES HEIMER: CRIME WAVE
The Art Dept. is proud to present Crime Wave: New Works by James Heimer. Join us for the opening reception Friday, May 6th from 6-9PM.
Heimer earned his BFA in Illustration from The University of the Arts in 2004. Since, he's spent most waking hours drawing, painting and screenprinting for clients including Hopeless Records, LiveNation, The National Constitution Center, Philadelphia Magazine, and The Stranger. His poster work has been exhibited at The Museum of Design Atlanta, Drexel University, and Civilian Art Projects. When not making a mess, he serves on the faculty of Hussian College and Antonelli Institute.
Crime Wave is inspired by Heimer's fascination with hardboiled writers like Chester Himes, Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford and Philadelphia's own, David Goodis. The works exhibited are both a love letter and critical exploration of genre conventions and the iconography of sleazy, mid-century paperback publishing.
RYAN PSOTA: A QUIVERING GLISTEN
Ryan Psota is an illustrator/designer living in Philadelphia, PA.
He received his BFA from the University of the Arts where he studied illustration. His inspirations include urban art, nature, lasers, old man skin, pyramids, ancient scrolls, ornate sweaters, seaweed, and the aurora borealis.
RUN FOR IT: NEW WORKS BY KAY HEALY
The Art Dept is proud to present Run For It: New Works by Kay Healy. Join us for the opening reception on Friday, March 4th from 6-9pm.
"Since 2008 I have been creating large-scale screen prints of furniture based on images I have found online, from my childhood, and on other people’s descriptions of the objects from their past. After completing a two-year, interview-based installation, I was compelled to start working with the figure in a more loose and intuitive manner. In this recent series I utilize templates of my own limbs that I cut into muslin and screen printed fabric multiples, and stuff and sew into dimensional forms. In these recent works I have been influenced by artists such as Robert Gober, Pam Lethbridge, Sarah Louise Davey, and Isaiah Zagar. This new direction in my work takes on similar domestic themes, and consists of individualized works addressing the loss, separation, anxiety, and struggle within our relationship to the built environment and life transitions."
Through her drawn, screen printed, and stuffed fabric installations, Kay Healy investigates themes of home, displacement, and loss. Healy is an artist and educator originally from Staten Island, NY and received a BA from Oberlin College, and a MFA from the University of the Arts in Book Arts and Printmaking. She recently completed a 1,000 square foot printed fiber installation for the Central Library of Philadelphia. This project was supported by the Independence Foundation’s Fellowship in the Arts, and was based on stories of lost objects from interviews of over forty people from Philadelphia and the surrounding area.
Healy created a forty-foot installation for the Philadelphia International Airport, was named as a West Collects winner, and a Fellow in the Center for Emerging Visual Artists’ (CFEVA) Career Development Program. Through CFEVA, she received the Alumni Travel grant for a solo exhibition in Tokyo, Japan in summer 2015. She was previously the recipient of the Leeway Art and Social Change grant, which funded a yearlong body of work based on interviews of refugees from Southeast Asia, and the NewCourtland Fellowship, which supported a teaching-artist project with senior citizens in Germantown. She lives and works in Philadelphia and has a studio at 13th and Carpenter Street.
REMARK: COLLABORATIVE WORKS BY WAYNE KLEPPE AND JANETTE CHIEN
Join us here at The Art Dept. for the opening reception of RE:MARK, the collaborative works of Janette Chien and Wayne Kleppe!
As a collective, re:mark (Wayne Kleppe and Janette Chien) have been creating Drawing Actions since May 2012. Inspired by Dennis Oppenheim’s “Two Stage Transfer Drawing,” our collaboration explores “drawing” through action based art and installation. A series of actions are constructed through various constraints, utilizing two artists and an environment. These actions question the definition of drawing, changing drawing from an autonomous act to a collaborative relationship-based act. There is often no finished product or drawing, only documentation of the action.
KATE GLASHEEN: BETTER GHOSTS
Nostalgia is a chronological homesickness. It is not just an idea, but a philosophy, that your home is a time more so than it is a place. A haunting is a chronological trespass— occupying a time that is not yours. When we feel those sentimental pangs squeeze down on our hearts like a clenching fist, when the knives of remembrance leaves us short of breath with their stabs, it is then that we are haunting time— it is then that we are ghosts.
And we haunt from room to room in our inner mansions. We follow the breadcrumbs of bygone days in an endless search for home. We float through the layers of memory looking for that complete comfort, felt only in utero, now only felt by the vagueness of its absence.
The past is dreamy eyed and knock-kneed. It is camera shy and heat heavy, and in it, we create better ghosts.
Runs through January, 2016.
SARAH BOURNE RAFFERTY: SPECIMENS OF SUMMER
Specializing in beautiful cyanotypes Sarah Borne Rafferty showcases the delicacy of nature by using feathers, insect wings, and countless other specimen representing the summer season. Learn More about Sarah's cyanotype process here.
"Sarah's work ranges form photographs to books to prints with a particular love for the alternative process/non-silver photography. She is most interested in how and when they all collide in the expression of an inner narrative. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally. Sarah currently lives, creates, and teaches outside of Philadelphia."
To view more of Sarah's work, visit her website here.
Sarah Ryan: Faunadelphia
Philadelphia is my favorite city in the world.
I love its architecture, its people, its bad reputation, and its strong community of artists and makers. My original idea for this show has to draw native Pennsylvania wildlife, but this concept evolved to include some of Philadelphia's most iconic settings and symbols. I wanted to create a magic city where the familiar meets the unexpected. Unusual colors and proportions build a sense of fantasy in the commonplace.
I was heavily influenced by the early 20th century Philadelphia Illustrators, the Red Rose Girls. Jessie Wilcox Smith, Violet Oakley, and Elizabeth Shippen Green are some of the finest artists this city has ever produced. Their soft colors and strong lines have inspired my own artistic style and voice.
ALEX ECKMAN-LAWN: SO MAY YOU ALL
Art often serves as a tool for communication between audience and artist. With luck there can be a closeness, understanding, or shared experience that unites viewer with creator. Even if the interpretation is different than the artist's intention, a connection is made. For me this usually stands in sharp contrast to my daily life. These pieces are about the distance that exists between people, the barriers that separate us even as we're face to face with each other. It's possible that you and I have never been closer than when you look at this collection of work.
MICHELLE AVERY KONCZYK: ENTROPY
"I often refer to my work as ‘my journal in picture form’. Each painting is an experience, a time-marker that represents who I am or what I was experiencing at the time the painting was made. I find that the longer I work with a piece, the more goes into it; not just in paint and physical labor, but mentally. Using symbolism I create a surreal personal narrative, that is almost dreamlike. Sometimes the symbolism has a direct meaning, sometimes it just gives me a certain feeling. However, everything is always there for a reason ―even if that means sitting around and waiting for a reason to occur.
My work is in direct relation to the concept of perception. Since people perceive things differently, leaving as little of an explanation as possible is key. Once a painting is finished, it is no longer about me and my perception, rather the viewer and theirs. My work is meant to have that mystery to it. It is meant for the viewer to be able to draw their own connections based from their perceptions and to relate to it in their own way."
EX SILENTIO: MIXED MEDIA WORKS BY CAITLIN MCCORMACK AND CASEY MURPHY
The Art Dept. is proud to present Ex Silentio: Mixed Media Works by Caitlin McCormack and Casey Murphy. Please join us in the parlour for a curious installment of intriguing oddities.
The act of stiffening intricately crocheted cotton string with glue produces material that is structurally similar to delicate bone tissue. The string implemented in this process can be viewed as the basic cellular unit of fabrication, and by utilizing media and practices inherited from my deceased relatives, I aim to generate emblems of my diminishing bloodline, embodied by each organism's skeletal remains.
Embroidery, delicately crafted shadowboxes, and hand-restored antique garments are the artifacts retrieved from Casey Murphy's artistic mausoleum. A collection of objects unearthed in the ruins of a lonely, Puritanical house; mile-markers defining the distance between a house and a home.
COLLEEN RUDOLF: FROM YOU I WILL LEARN
DAMARA KAMINECKI: ALCHEMEDIC
After studying drawing in art "school", Damara Kaminecki picked up some wood carving tools and threw her charcoal away. 10 years later, her style has changed but her themes keep going back to her childhood daydreams.
"I was obsessed with Medieval illuminations and woodblock prints which tend to depict daily life, but most today aren't that relatable and our themes are not centered around religion, farming, and astronomy. I wanted to incorporate my own interests and humor in a style where you can see my hands at work" These relief prints were carved and printed by hand in her Chicago studio.
In addition to letting her creative juices out through print, she works as an illustrator (http://damarakthedestroyer.com/) and designer (http://damaradoesdesign.com/). She spent her formative years in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, IL drawings in the margins of her notebook. In 2004 she received a B.F.A. from Pratt Institute in NYC in Drawing. She has done everything from a 2010 Dunny to window display at Barneys New York to working and traveling around South East Asia.
KATE COLLINS: NEW WORKS
Kate honed her craft in Philadelphia, where she recieved her Bachelors in Fine Arts from the University of the Arts College of Art and Design in 2007 studying under the Graphic Illustration Department. In 2008 she began her career tattooing. University trained design sense executed with classic bold traditional tattooing application, while deriving inspiration from her family's chicano/irish mixed culture and the hardcore punk subculture. Kate strives to give her customers the best possible tattoo that will compliment their body yet be powerful & striking to the eye.
AMANDA GALLANT: LA BALLON ROUGE
Amanda Gallant is a Philadelphia based artist who makes a living coloring on chalkboards. In her spare time, she creates her curious creature illustrations from a grab bag of imagery, nostalgia, and an odd urge to see what would happen if a stag's head was placed on top of a dapper gentleman's body from the 19th century.
The "La Ballon Rouge" show marks a first for her: adding paint to her detailed drawings. It's a new step in the development of her style, one that has already taken hold. The etherial quality of watercolors allows the detail of the ink drawings to show through and ground each painting on the paper. Amanda is already laying out new pieces to be painted for future shows.
PETER ORAVETZ: ROBOTS!
Robots are rather peculiar creatures, to say the least.
Since robots are created by us, they retain a certain familiarity and humanity. Naturally robots have been created in our own image, albeit crudely at times. In the way that a painter often paints a portrait, he will naturally veer towards the idealized perception of his subject, erasing the flaws and imperfections until a beautiful rendering is complete. In the case of robots, we have striven to paint their portrait over and over again in different lights and with a varied palette. Each new generation of robot breeds another obsessive step in our attempt at perfection since we cannot be perfect ourselves. So, if we can never be perfect than robots will never be either.
However, perfection is not necessarily the loftiest of goals. Especially so if we intend to interact with them, or for that matter, construct a form of artificial intelligence. The human mind, along with the world we live in, is static and full of idiosyncrasies. The best way for them to deal with the reality of this world is to find ways of programming robots with versions of our emotions; empathy, happiness, curiosity, gratitude, hope, remorse to name a few. Perhaps the most important characteristic we might have in common with robots is our ability to make mistakes and learn from them. Often, in our popular culture robots are portrayed as cold, calculating and unemotional. This is an alarming prediction of our future with robots and is certainly not fixed. We might do well to raise them the way we raise a pet or even a child, with love and respect.
As this series has evolved over the years, so have the robots themselves. Each new drawing reveals another wonderfully nostalgic moment illustrating the human condition. They remain incredibly endearing, kind, witty, honest and remarkably innocent. Long live the Robots!
AMBER ART AND DESIGN: FOOD ALCHEMY
Friday, January 9th
Since 2011, Amber Art + Design has worked in the public art within communities that possess few resources and little or no access to art. Amber is committed to a hands-on artistic approach that investigates and demonstrates synergies between visual art, poetry, dance, performance, health, and ecology. The collective fuses social practice and art making to encourage meaningful and sustainable change in the lives of the people we engage, often demystifying the art making process through inclusion and collaboration. Table Alchemy looks to enhance the landscape by creating a symbiotic system of engagement by allowing the nostalgia of a dinner table to create bonds of interaction. The bi-products of this process promote functional up-cycling of found objects as a response to issues of pollution and processed food, and to promote sharing of culture through food, family meals and healthy habits of cooking at home.
The Art Dept. presents "Blanket Fort!" a collaborative installation by the members of BYO Print. Join us Friday, December 5th for the opening reception: art, drinks, and funtimes.
Merging the childhood concept of the blanket fort with various printmaking media, BYO Print members have crafted an interactive installation, inviting viewers to visit and spend time in a world crafted and collaged from printed ephemera.
In addition to the Fort, work will be on display from individual members, and available for cash-and-carry purchase at the opening reception and during the duration of the show.
There will also be a special edition zine and member-illustrated coloring book, printed for the event.
Nina De Vassal
BYO Print is a cooperative printmaking studio and artist collective operating in the old Kensington section of Philadelphia. We've been printing together since 2010. Get inky.
The Art Dept. is proud to present works by Peter Seprish and Anthony Kosiakowski. Join us Friday, November 7th for the opening reception: art, drinks, and funtimes.
Peter Seprish - You Smell Delicious
Stinky feet, spiderwebs, soiled undies, bacon, eggs, cat poop and ice cream - you smell delicious.
Peter Seprish keeps art hidden underneath an upbeat attack of patterns and tessellation along with a minimalist approach to maximalism. Humor injected surrealism that often includes repetitious geometric shapes and colorful monotony. His whimsical and technical approach gathers influence from folk art, textiles, bathroom graffiti and kawaii.
Works by Anthony Kosiakowski
Using colors, patterns, and perspective the artist creates a lucid yet dreamlike world. One where abstract and concrete expressions balance and work with each other forming a harmonious blend.
PAPER WORKS: PHILADELPHIA CENTER FOR THE BOOK MEMBER EXHIBITION
Philadelphia has a rich history in book production and its book collections are strong. Until now, Philadelphia did not have an institution devoted to book artists and the book arts. Collaborating with public and private book-collecting institutions throughout the city, Philadelphia Center for the Book brings together book artists, librarians, educators, and the public to appreciate the book as a contemporary art form within the context of its historical antecedents.
In Paper Works, The Art Dept. and Philadelphia Center for the Book join together to celebrate this tradition. With members hailing from UArts, Tyler, and Moore among other avenues, PCFTB uses fresh eyes to reimagine the craft of book making and showcase the impressive quality and variety found in their interpretations.
The Art Dept. is proud to host an interactive collaborative show of exquisite corpses by Phantom Hand
founders, Eamon Dougherty , Alex Eckman-Lawn, and Sam Heimer. Exquisite Corpse is a rotating
drawing game in which collaborators create an image in sequence by blindly adding the end of previous
For this exhibitions, each artist contributed nine illustrations, three heads, three torsos and three feet.
YOU mix and match to create the most exquisite of corpses.
About Phantom Hand
Phantom hand is a free-floating artist unit. created by a small group of Philadelphia Illustrators that
pulls from a wide-variety of local art institutions, societies, clans, brotherhoods and esoteric orders.
The group curates exhibitions around Philadelphia. This summer the group took up residence at 2732
W Girard St in Brewerytown to host a pop up gallery featuing 4 exhibitions “Verbal Assault” , “Not
That Nice (Redux)” a reincarnation The Art Dept’s March exhibtion by Alex Eckman-lawn and Kate
Glasheen, work by Robb Leef and Max Gordon, and “After Hours: Artwork from the Sketchbook of
Carol Paist” . For more information find Phantom Hand on Facebook @phantom-hand or email
July 11th to July 31st
Opening Reception July 11th 6-9pm at the Art Dept.
The Art Dept is proud to present "Sum of Parts: New Work by Megan Hobbes and Rachel van Timmeren. Megan and Rachel share a love of process and discovery. Both bodies of work involve labor-intensive, repetitious techniques which become meditative as new ideas and connections emerge. Between all the lines and threads a space is created for contemplation.
Megan Hobbes graduated from Messiah College's Department of Visual Arts in 2008 and lives in Fishtown. Her recent work uses pencil, pen and colored inks on paper. Employing a simple grid, repetitive mark-making, and shifts in value, Megan explores the relationship between organic things and the systems or arrangements in which they exist. From the cells that make up our bodies to the laws that govern how we interact, structures simultaneously build life and limit it. Her interest lies in this tension: that structure is at the same time restrictive and formative.
Rachel van Timmeren graduated from Rhode Island School of Design’s Textile department in 2009 and lives in East Kensington. For Rachel, discovering pattern, texture, and structure begins with a tactile interaction with materials. She applies hand textile techniques including: weaving, knitting, stitching and dying across a variety of mediums to discover striking surfaces. She is driven by curiosity to see what results when common materials such as paper, rope and plastic are combined with traditional textile techniques and processes in unexpected ways.
Future History: New Work by Concetta Barbera and Stefanie Fuoco
Opening June 6th 6-9pm
The Art Dept is proud to present Future History: New Work by Concetta Barbera and Stefanie Fuoco. This exhibition brings together the vibrant, fantastical landscape of painter Concetta Barbera and the organic, emotional vignettes of weaver Stefanie Fuoco. Both artists use color, line, and form to create layered work that explores physical and emotional spaces.
Concetta Barbera is a painter and illustrator. Often inspired by folklore as well as historic maps and ephemera, she incorporates these elements with a mix of fantasy and whimsy to create an imaginary landscape of line and color. Concetta often works with the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society, and has organized and participated in exhibits in the Philadelphia area since 2007.
Stefanie Fuoco is a weaver and fiber artist. Her weavings represent vignettes, sketches of an emotion caught in time. Her one of a kind weavings are forever evolving. Through her daily practice she explores different techniques and mediums while keeping an organic and natural approach to her work. Stefanie shows her work in various galleries and boutiques in the Philadelphia area.
Justin Gray and Alicia Neal both studied illustration at the University of the Arts here in Philadelphia, graduating in 2004 and 2005 respectively. They have lived together for 7 years in the Northern Liberties section of the city, where they have several plants in their backyard, many comics, and two spunky dogs named Franklin and Giant Squid. Though they work in different media, Justin and Alicia both share a mutual love for monsters and myths, giving rise to the works featured in Titans and Tragedy.
Drawing on influences from the natural world, Alicia creates painterly pieces on wood using acrylic paint in a neo-classical illustration style. She was introduced to the world of Greek mythology as an introverted and very reserved 7th grader who instantly fell in love with the rich and complex stories wrought with love and tragedy. She has chosen some of her favorites for this show and has boiled them down to the themes and symbols at the core of each myth, searching for beauty in the details.
For this show, Justin also draws on Greek storytelling. He foregoes the moral complexities of the tales and explores the flip side by drawing giant monsters getting their guts ripped out with spears or being torn apart by horses. His work starts with hand drawings to create complex, oddball, smiley-faced images detailing entire worldscapes, weirdos, intense action, and utter nonsense, which are then finished digitally.
About Katherine Pulido
Investigating disappointment, conflict, the challenges of interpersonal connection, and the vague dissatisfaction that floats beneath the surface of consciousness, Katherine Pulido’s exhibition consists of a series of small character portraits. When juxtaposed together, they interact and spark a narrative that illustrate the sometimes massive, sometimes quiet moments where words can fail. The white space around and between these characters acts as both a neutral background and as an indicator of relationship, of the mental or emotional distance that exists between them. Their thoughts and words (or lack thereof) are the focus of the work, and background designations of time or place are minimal in importance.
Katherine Pulido was born in San Francisco to a Japanese-American mother and a Mexican father. Growing up she gravitated towards art and creative writing and received a B.A. in English from UC Berkeley. She holds a Book Arts and Printmaking MFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she worked with original illustrations, creature development, and book production. She has interned with Peter Kruty Editions in Brooklyn and at the Borowsky Center for Publication Arts in Philadelphia where she learned offset lithography.
Not That Nice
March 7th-30th, 2014
Opening Reception: March 7th 2014
Drink and Draw Closing Party: March 29th, 2014
The Art Dept is please to present Not That Nice. In "Not That Nice", artists Alex Eckman-Lawn and Kate Glasheen act as both author and illustrator for a series of drawn stories. The show title refers to both the unfortunate nature of the tales being told and the juxtaposition of ugly things presented to impress. From describing a sequence of events panel to panel, to transposing imagery across torn pages from a novel, to manual flip book animation, to the synapsing effects of collage, the two artists work with and across many disparate elements of storytelling to deliver their visual word.
Incidents are amputated from their full story-- their whole picture-- and presented as isolated and separate events. The Art Dept.'s walls are lined with a collection of visual short stories, and as this collection of tales melts into one tragic pot, the end product is just Not That Nice.
My pieces deal with the chaos I confront in my daily life, and the attempt to control, contain, and understand it. I’ve tried to focus on my struggle to claim the world that surrounds me, and the loss of order when chaos inevitably finds me again.
In terms of technique, I’ve returned to my own work a lot with these pieces, using past artistic triumphs and failures as building blocks, foundation, or just raw material. By reappropriating pieces of my own images I hope to make collages that feel a bit more personal.
The completed work is presented as narrative fragments, found and reassembled into a new and partially incomprehensible story. An ancient text, damaged and incomplete, whose meaning can only be speculation. A collection of old bones, poorly assembled into a grotesque misunderstanding. A wild and baseless assumption.
As my contribution to Not That Nice, I've storyboarded unfortunate events, drawn them out into what I consider a single finished painting, and then dissected the final product to produce animated flip books. Tragedy unfolds panel by panel on the wall, and then frame by frame in hand.
The past year of my life has been a turbulent one. I entered and completed a 6-month substance abuse program. This has been a huge leap forward, but as everything settles into its new place, I've been left to decipher the bipolar disorder that fueled that substance abuse in the first place.
As health insurance woes team with the drawn out nature of medication trial and error, daily and terrible lows have become something I plan for, and around. An internal error has become the dominating force in my life-- my level of functionality is dictated by a biochemical feedback loop that is largely out of my hands.
These stories told in Not That Nice service that biochemistry. It is an attempt to share with the external world the tides of my internal one. It is an attempt to bridge the communication gap that depression wedges into every conversation. It is an attempt to explain to my loved ones why I am not being who I think I am.
The Art Dept is proud to present Everybody Dates: New work by Ellen Haines. Using the world of online dating as inspiration, Haines has created collaborative process, in which she and members of the public use drawing and online dating profiles to create a series of public works that explores love, dating, connection, and shared experience. To learn more visit the Everybody Dates blog.
Most everybody, including myself, has had an insane desire for love. But now that we live in such a technologically-obsessed society, it is as if we have lost our ways of communicating and connecting with each other. As a result, people have turned to online dating, to relying on a computer to match them with their soul mate. Using a computer to find human connections strikes me as odd and absurd. Yet, I have been one of those people, and that is where my interest in this project began. Everybody Dates has become a collaboration with a wide range of people commenting on the experience of online dating using wheatpasted drawings and an interactive blog.
Dealing with issues such as love, interrelations, connections, and sharing experiences, it seems like a logical approach for me to invite people to participate. Having the URL for the blog pasted with the characters gives viewers the opportunity to visit the blog where they can share their stories about dating and read other people’s stories. My hope is that getting the viewers involved and engaged with the project deepens their connection to the work and to each other.
Inviting friends and colleagues to participate by drawing characters has served as a crucial part of Everybody Dates as well. The project begins by my drawing a character. I then have a friend draw another character. We show each other the characters when they are fully complete. This feels very much like the “introduction” to each other, similar to a blind date or an online date. By drawing both human-like characters and fantastical characters I am implying that when you go on one of these dates you can never actually know what to expect.
After the introduction, the drawings are enlarged, printed, and cut out. Cutting out my characters allows them to become part of the environment they are in rather than a separate picture. Next I make conversation bubbles drawn from actual things people said to me on dates, dating stories I've collected on the blog, and/or what I think the characters would say to one another on a date. Finally, the characters are wheatpasted throughout the city in places I think people might go on a date, such as bars, coffee shops, parks, etc. My work relies heavily on the existing environment to imply a history, a setting, and some sort of a back-story for my characters. This context activates the characters, giving them a sense of life, place, purpose and importance.
While exploring themes that resonate with my generation, such as online dating, my artistic practice developed significantly. The use of wheatpaste allows me to take full advantage of public spaces where my work thrives. By inviting others to participate in my work, I am creating a space for people to connect with each other on a human level where we can share common experiences and relate to one another.
Meet Your Maker:
An Inside Look at Fishtown’s Creative Economy
When I moved here a year and a half ago, to open The Art Dept with my friend Kitt, I found myself so inspired by the possibility of being in a neighborhood that is driven by creative small businesses. The Meet Your Maker project grew out of the desire to take a deeper look the people behind this energy.
What I found percolating underneath the “up and coming” Fishtown/ Kensington area is collective power. By choosing to pursue what we’re passionate about, we makers are helping strengthen the economic backbone of this neighborhood, this city, and this nation. For many of us the goal right now is to make a living and we chase that goal with fierce determination on little to no sleep. But it is the possibility of growth and the belief that all this hard work will pay off that paves that way for our collective greatness.
This project is the beginning of a larger work. In the coming months I will be working The Head and The Hand press and Eyes Habit to make a guide book and map of the makers in the area, so the public can learn more about the amazing talent in this neighborhood. There is a pocket-sized map currently available that has information about all the makers profiled here.
Photographer, Emily Carris has a BA in Education and Photography from Eugene Lang College in New York. She holds a Master's degree in Photography from UCA in Kent, England. She has exhibited internationally and has spent the last 4 years as a photography teacher and museum educator at the International Center of Photography in New York.
Masthead Print Studio specializes in establishing an environment for local printmakers to create and show their work. Each show is aimed at giving the artists and attendants to look into a creative process.
Masthead Print Studio has done lectures at numerous places including La Salle University and the Savannah College of Art and Design. They also have provided open studios for groups such as the Mural Arts Program and the Art Factory. Learn more about Masthead Print Studio here.
Shawn Hileman has worked as an Art Director and graphic designer for over 8 years. He started Masthead in 2010 with no expectation except to share cake and beer with a couple printers. He has a cat named Esme that hates everyone but is too beautiful to resist. Visitors beware!
JP Flexner, Founding Member, Curator & Resident Vandal
JP is an illustrator living outside the city of Philadelphia. Freelancing in a quaint home with his new wife, dog, and cat. He’s humble and congenial. See his amazingly twisted creations that will make your eyes pop with sensation and envy.
Robb Leef, Curator
Robb Leef is a carbon-based life form, dedicated to precision illustration and printmaking. He currently resides in Philadelphia and is fueled by the fear of boredom and an alternating diet of salty and sugary snacks.
Steven Speir, Curator, photographer.
Steven Speir is Philly’s own, Alabama-man. He is a painter, illustrator, and screen-printer, who creates work from the sub-conscious of Saturday morning cartoons and the innocence of childhood nightmares. His dog has a tilted head, and waffles and ice-cream are his favorite midnight snack.
Required Reading: Interpretations of Literature by Phantom Hand
Friday September 6th-29th
Opening Reception: September 6th from 6-9pm
Required Reading Book Club: September 12th 6-9pm
The Art Dept is pleased to present Required Reading: Interpretations of Literature by Phantom Hand.
To honor the Fall we are mounting an exhibition that celebrates books, learning, imagination, and memory. With Required Reading, the artists of Phantom Hand were invited to interpret plots, passages, and themes from their favorite books. Artist include Ed Kelley, Tim Durning, Carol Piast, Jay Bevenour, James Heimer, Robb Leef, Jeffro Kilpatrick, Anthony Pedro, Jenny Ross, Roger Petersen, Christine Larsen, Elliott Downs, Concetta Barbera, Caitlyn McCormack, Sam Heimer, Alex Eckman-Lawn, Eamon Dougherty, Alicia Neal, Julie Laquer, and more.
Our opening reception on September 6th will feature beverages provided by Philadelphia Brewing Company and food from Local 215
In conjunction with our exhibition, Required Reading: Interpretation of Literature by Phantom Hand, The Art Dept Book Club will read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Join us Thursday September 12th for wine, cheese, and lively discussion of this Sci-Fi Classic! Sign up at info@artdeptpa .com
Phantom Hand is a free-floating artist unit, created by a small group of Philadelphia Illustrators. Once a gallery on South St, with space provided by Arts On South, Phantom Hand had a reputation for pulling from the wide-variety of local art institutions, societies, clans, brotherhoods, and esoteric orders. They hosted five themed exhibitions in the space, showcasing visually challenging, awe inspiring, horrifying, beautiful, and at times awkward work, in addition to drawing sessions, live music. The space quickly became a place for Philadelphia artists to congregate. The group continues to curate exhibitions in Philadelphia, and has an on going residency at Jinxed at the Piazza in Northern Liberties. For more about Phantom Hand here
Future Primitive: New Work by Joe Boruchow
Friday June 6th 2013-Sunday, September 1st 2013
Opening Reception June 6th 6-9pm
The Art Dept is pleased to present Future Primitive: New Work by Joe Boruchow.
This exhibition is comprised of 14 original black paper cutouts. In his recent work, Boruchow’s intricate cuts call on the 1994 essay Future Primitive by John Zerzan, which asserts that superiority of hunter-gatherer society and rejects the idea of time and technology as scientific realities. Boruchow’s work is derived from stenciling, a prehistoric technique, to comment on our past and present relationships with technology, voyeurism, art, and the body, thereby questioning our cultural future.
Joe Boruchow’s uncommissioned public art can be seen around Philadelphia. Past gallery exhibitions include: Cut Creator, Salon 1522, Shape Shifting, The Bean Café,, Four Corners: Design from Philly Surrounds, Commonplacing, Napoleon Gallery, Hive/Cave, Pageant: Soloveev Gallery. He is currently a commissioned artist for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
Boruchow lives and works in Philadelphia.
For complete press release click here.
Bug Life/ Piles of Awesome