August 09, 2008

"A Beautiful Find" at James Oliver Gallery


"A Beautiful Find"
James Oliver Gallery (JOG)
September 6th – October 6th 2008
Opening Reception with the Artists – Saturday, September 6, 2008 6:00 – 10:00 pm

Contact: James Oliver

723 Chestnut St. 4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106


In today's highly eco-conscious society, green is the new black. From plastic and paper to glass and aluminum, just about everything we touch on a daily basis is recyclable.

While single-stream recycling and sustainability are relatively new concepts in the timeline of human history, they're age-old practices in the art world. Artists have always used what's at hand for inspiration, but many use common detritus as their physical medium.

"A Beautiful Find," a found objects exhibition at James Oliver Gallery (JOG), opening September 6th and running through October 6th, showcases various interpretations and uses of materials salvaged from nature's junk heap and humankind's dustbin of abandonment. A reception with the artists will be Saturday, September 6th from 6:00 to 10:00 pm.

From scrap shop pieces and discarded sample-spoons, to naturally mummified rats and mouse bones extricated from regurgitated owl pellets, the building blocks of the featured works truly spotlight the artists' creativity while challenging the viewers' perceptions.

"A Beautiful Find," curated by Philadelphia artist Veronica Scarpellino, compiles the works of Tom Judd, Phillip Johnson, George-ann F. Greth, Ron Johnson, Andrew Brehm, Brookes Britcher, Steven Earl Weber, Fatima Adamu, Justin Coffin, Billy and Steven Dufala and others.

For more information on the artists, see artist bios below ...

"A Beautiful Find" Artist Bios

Tom Judd is a nationally recognized artist who shows in a dozen galleries across the country and Canada. His work is created using wallpaper and fabric samples, found images from old magazines and photo albums, and uses imagery reminiscent of memories and metaphors. He is a recipient of the Pollack/Krasner Grant, and has his work in collections in Hong Kong and France, as well as in the collections of The Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama.

Phillip Johnson – owner of a high-end construction company – creates three-dimensional gesture drawings, thumbnail sketches made from the detritus of construction. They are the beginnings of thoughts and thus retain a spirit of invention and inquiry. Johnson has shown his work in New York and in Philadelphia, and was included in an exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.

Steven Earl Weber, a partner/owner of the local art gallery Kelly & Weber Fine Art - uses multiple objects, images, and their arrangement to address questions of subjective identity, politics, religion, and the inner reasoning that motivates conclusions in these matters, combining found objects and materials with casting techniques in plaster and ceramic.

Billy Dufala & Steven Dufala (A.K.A. the Dufala Brothers) create work that reflects their own individual sensibilities in an ongoing dialog that results in them learning about themselves and their audiences. Steven is the founding member of the breakout band Man Man, in which Billy is currently a member. Man Man has blasted onto the national scene with much critical acclaim.

Brookes Britcher received his MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and his BS from Drexel University. He is a multi-disciplinary artist that maintains a permanent studio practice at Adaptation. Over the last eight years his work has been exhibited around the country in numerous curated and group shows, and exists in various private collections, most notably J.W. Mahoney of Art In America and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. and Tim Rollins of Tim Rollins & K.O.S.

George-ann F. Greth, known locally as a master glassblower, utilizes her sense of humor in her work. She is a staple artist at JOG, having shown her work in numerous exhibits as well as curating a successful glass show at JOG.

Ron Johnson, another JOG artist, is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Primarily a painter, Johnson is creating delicate works of found spider webs. His art is found in several private and corporate collections, including those of actor Nicolas Cage, Sony and Warner Bros.

Andrew Brehm graduated from Kutztown University. He has focused on furniture making while also perusing fine arts sculpture. Among other work, Brehm will exhibit a video segment showing a quirky scene where the artist himself unpacks found suitcases, which unfold into usable furniture.

Fatima Adamu is an artist, dancer and urban planner. She was born in the United States and was raised in Nigeria. Her art draws inspiration from the colors and textures found in flora, and in the delicacy of detailed anatomical illustrations of parts of the human body.

Justin Coffin is a playwright and a photographer whose main subject is the discarded Arctic Splash container. Strewn about Fishtown in an almost epidemic manner, Coffin finds the discarded cartons to be full of pathos. Untouched by the artist, the litter is captured on film in both color and black and white.

Veronica Scarpellino is an artist and the curator of this exhibit. Her work has been exhibited in New York City, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, in Atlanta at the Eyedrum nonprofit art space, and in Philadelphia through Projekt30. She recently received an award from the Andy Warhol Foundation through her work with Eyedrum.

Clockwise from top left: Steven Earl Weber, Tom Judd, Phillip Johnson, Billy Dufala & Steven Dufala