NOW CURATING: YOMI
s t r e e t a r t i s t
W: Art as an Engine
NOW CURATING: YOMI
s t r e e t a r t i s t
W: Art as an Engine
Candy-colored and laser-traced, Jenny Drumgoole provides gleefully cryptic dispatches from the hyperurban liminal. Jamming stultified, waspy conventions together with telekinetic ad lib media interventions, Jenny knocks proper taste on its ass and annihilates current art market notions of supply and demand. She understands this is physic warfare against the forces of despair. That’s not clown makeup on Rox Soxx’ face: it’s war paint. Behold Jenny’s mediated meditations created during a recent road trip to Maine.
– Tyler Kline, curator
Tyler asked me to document my week alone with my dog in Maine at the end of August.
Below is a 35 second recap followed by: 1) a souvenir, 2) a thing I learned, and 3) a send-off to remember:
1. This is an “Eat Lightning Crap Thunder” drink coaster I made (next to my acorn fort drink coaster). It’s what Mickey tells Rocky when they are training for a fight in the first Rocky. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a serious love and reverence for Rocky. If you have never seen any of the movies, start with Rocky (1976), then Creed (2015), then Rocky 2 (1979). Everything got weird in the 80’s so watch these before Rocky 4 & 5.
2. I learned that I best understand Marshall McLuhan when I transcribe his writings in crayon. This is the introduction to his 1964 book Understanding Media, The Extensions of Man. There’s some really great stuff about the role of an artist in a media-driven society.
3. In the early morning as my dog and I were getting in the car to leave, we got sprayed by a skunk. We had to make the eight hour drive home like this (my dog is also a car barfer). My first contact with humans upon returning to Philadelphia was at a Family Dollar on Aramingo Avenue covered in skunk oil buying armfuls of peroxide, baking soda, and Dawn. Apply and repeat the next three days, and if that doesn’t work, try tomato paste.
I chose C.J. Stahl for this project for his analytical interrogation of the public object and its relationship to our collective consciousness. C.J.’s evidence of contemplation, his structures that act as residue of psychic alchemy, point toward a very personal and highly sensitive nomenclature of symbolic fetish. Through a rigorous methodology Stahl is able to document the privatization of public spaces and synthesize this visual ethnography through sculptural forms that present both a clear dialectic and mystic talismans. Stahl’s results stand as hybrid/dirty Cartesian calibrations of phenomenological artifacts.
-Tyler Kline, curator
When contacted about this project, I was excited at the prospect of documenting some of my changing surroundings using a single-shot camera. Since January of this year, there has been a development boom in many Philadelphia neighborhoods, including mine of Callowhill/North Chinatown. This was no doubt due to Jim Kenney’s first order of business as Mayor: signing an executive order to create the Office of Planning and Development, intended to streamline the development process for city administrators and investors alike. The resulting rapid appearance of worksites was hard to ignore as a pedestrian. Public throughways like sidewalks and street corners became congested or inaccessible, and once-vacant lots doubled as site and storage.
With the coming of the warm months, I began to consider another public space, one that is more green and seemingly in a dialectical relation to the current wave of development. Outside of the Reading Viaduct Project, under the now green-lighted name of The Rail Park, it didn’t seem that the development of mixed-use buildings was balanced with growth of publically accessible green spaces. I noticed the cultivation of green was looking more and more private. Places that looked like community gardens were actually privately cared-for plots, still very beautiful for the passerby, but not an option for a gardener hoping to fall within a participatory catchment. Individuals’ stoop gardens and armies of planters in front of their homes staked a claim that echoed the prospector’s cry. Space, it seems, is running short, and the need to claim territory is now, a near-synthesis of the dialectic.
This project gave me the opportunity to visualize some of my ideas surrounding the places and objects I encounter daily. The image roll that follows is a small selection of photos taken with the single use camera, as well as two sculptures and a collage that make use of these images. For the sculptural works, I considered the mediated experience of urban green spaces from the point of view of a domestic interior. The objects make reference to a space caught between an aesthetically manicured capacity and the desire for an immersive natural experience. The collaged work picks up on the idea of prospecting, and visually acts as a proposition or survey for sculptural works in a public space. In actuality, the space that is cited in the collaged image is private, nestled behind a condo building close to the Whole Foods on the Parkway. I have fantasized about installing works in this space, but it is hard to know how much longer it will remain vacant.
Constant trip the lighting is Pap Souleye Fall; Anansi weaver of ju-ju phantasms and lank tails. Stitching jitterbug suits of rubarb and rye, aiding celestial footwork to calm young gods and old heads. Yung bull, yung bull, many hands make the load lighter; these Bullman chariot arcades stacked like legit forts guarding against the tomb of a false world.
-Tyler Kline, curator
From bronze to digital, Tyler Kline’s art spans the ages, melding ideas of time, space, metaphysics, and humanity into packages of cast metal that last forever, or into Vine videos that live for seconds in a Twitter feed. Tyler is fearless in his use of materials, generous in his treatment of others in the art community, and one of the smartest artists working in Philadelphia today. He’s a member of the Little Berlin collective and by day he manages the Sculpture shop and the bronze forge at University of the Arts and curates several art spaces at that university.
-Roberta Fallon, curator
I actually have a long history with disposable cameras. When they came on the market in the late nineties I would use them to document travels, skate sessions, art processes, and the architectural changes of the cities I was living in at the time.
With this project I find myself tracing the same threads of connection. I animated certain photographs to give them a heightened sense of transformation, invoking the sensations of a particularly poignant studio visit, the alchemy of certain art processes, or the visceral engagement of a skate session. Others I combined in a sequential fashion to emphasize states of flux, such as in the changing Philly skyline or the repetition of riding the 32 bus into my job at UArts.
I have always been inspired by the way Philadelphia is redefining itself in the early 21st century as a post-industrial laboratory of urban living, and I always use my commute as studio time: either through daydreaming, honing vision, creating digital designs on a tablet, or drawing in my sketchbook.
The other images are the flotsam and jetsam of my daily life: meeting friends for coffee, playing with my family, and walking along distinctly Philadelphian landscapes become the rhythms of my existence.
Caitlin and I were both members of Little Berlin in 2012, and the first piece of her artwork that I encountered was a beautiful white dress that she made for our member show that year. Since then Caitlin has grown to be an extremely successful artist, and her intricate and beautiful crochet creations have captured the hearts of many. Caitlin has a really unique aesthetic and when I look at her work I am amazed by the amount of detail, precision, and time that goes into it.
-Angela McQuillan, curator
Sean Martorana is an institution. If you are involved in the local art scene or are a member at Indy Hall, you have seen his work. Everything is Sean’s canvas, from wine glasses to jewelry; his iconic designs have graced both murals and products. Most importantly, Sean believes in fair pricing for artists and has generated one of the greatest self-pricing formulas I have encountered.
– Amanda V. Wagner, co-founder
When documenting my Disposable Life, I knew I wanted to do something beyond just snapping photos. I decided to alter the photos as I was taking them. I added a piece of red acetate over the flash of the disposable camera. The results sum up a week in my life pretty well: a blend of color and chaos, of studio time, producing shows, booze, and partying. In this series, it is not always clear which is which. I’ve painted over and animated some; others I have left in their original (altered) state.
Kelly Kozma’s work is intricate, well-crafted, and process-driven. Her textual and visual creations have been shown nationally, gaining attention from noted art publications like Juxtapoz and Knotwe. Kelly’s collaboration with Curate This has given new vitality to our Disposable Life prompt. In a style that reflects her artistic process, Kelly deconstructs snapshots of her life and establishes a new masterpiece. Check out her work currently showing at the Sonesta Hotel and view all of Kelly’s available work here.
-Amanda V. Wagner, co-founder
When approached by Curate This with a list of prompts for their blog, I immediately chose Disposable Life, where I was to document my life for a week through the lens of a disposable camera. I had wanted to do something along these lines for a while, so I thought this was a sign and went with it. In the beginning, I thought it was going to be all about the end game; looking at the photographs and seeing how I spent my week, as well as sharing that with everyone who was viewing. However, the experience of taking the pictures became equally, if not more important.
Because most of us are so accustomed to taking two, four, or twenty digital shots of the same images to get it all just right, the act of pressing down on the button of the disposable camera became very daunting. On the first day I think I took one, maybe two pictures. All of a sudden I became extremely picky about what I was going to document. Does this image accurately describe me as an artist? Did I already take one similar to this? What does this say about me? It shook my confidence in a way I hadn’t expected. Another thing it did though, was make me hyper aware of how I was spending my time, and in turn I had a pretty productive week.
I took pictures inside my studio, one at the mailbox store when I was shipping some art, a few at gallery shows and a bunch in Center City at an event one night. You will not see any of these. When I got the pictures back from the developer, there were only 14 in the paper envelope. The rest were unprintable; a fate granted often by disposable cameras. I was disappointed. I had spent a week carefully curating a selection of brightly-colored images for your viewing pleasure and barely had anything to show for it. I felt like I messed up the assignment and this was a reflection of my failure for all to see.
I had the pictures in my studio for a few days before I pulled them out again. I flipped through those 14 images many times before I realized that there was something to them. It was Philly. It was Fall. Were they the best renderings possible? Absolutely not. But I got my city for sure. A South Philly Halloween block party. Street art in NoLibs. The Silk City sign glowing at night. And even a glimpse into Caitlin McCormack’s show, Mnemosyne, at Paradigm Gallery.
To take this project a step forward I decided to incorporate the photos into a new piece of art. I’ve been working on a new series, where I punch out and then hand-sew thousands of paper circles together. The act of deconstruction, followed by rebuilding and strengthening, is reminiscent of the human experience and one that I depict often in my work. The finished piece mimics our memories, which are sometimes jumbled and hazy, sometimes crisp and clear as day.
These were not the pictures I set out to take, the palette I had anticipated or the experience I thought I would have, but as they say . . . happy accidents.
Photos by Jason Chen
Keristin Gaber is a photographer and a colleague of mine. All of the work I have seen of hers has been professional or scholarly in nature, and taken with a digital camera. I was curious to see what she would do with an analog camera and without the helpful hand of editing. – Kat Zagaria, Curator
Emily Bucholz is a photographer, illustrator, video artist, and renowned adventurer. Her films have recently been seen in STROBE Network at Flux Factory, NY, and the 2015 Digital Fringe. Her work is filled with joyful detail, and often captures the humor and frailty of intimate moments. She is an inspired event planner, maker of unique, handmade party decor, and defender of fun. You would be lucky to take a road trip with her. See Emily’s work at www.emilybucholz.com.
-Alisha Adams, Curator
Megan Bridge might be best-known as co-curator of <fidget>, which, together with neighboring Mascherspace, presents some of Philadelphia’s most exciting experimental performance. As a choreographer and dancer she has performed with artists as diverse and lauded as Lucinda Childs, Jerome Bel, Willi Dorner, Headlong Dance Theater, and Group Motion. Her most recent project, Dust, premiered here in Philly at FringeArts in April before touring the country. Bridge is also a critic, and has recently taken over as executive director of thINKingDANCE. Bridge is ubiquitous in Philadelphia’s experimental dance scene, so asking her to curate a week of content was a no-brainer. Here, she has recorded a week of her Philadelphia life with the use of a digital, analog, no-edits camera. The results are personal and unexpectedly nostalgic.
– Julius Ferraro, co-founder