September 25, 2008

A Beautiful Find - Uwishunu

September 25th, 2008
Posted by John Steele
tagged as Arts

This summer saw the city of Philadelphia enacting drastic reforms in the way waste is dealt with. From the addition of Single-Stream recycling to the acquisition of BigBelly solar powered trash compactors to city street corners. If only our legislators would have realized that the waste they were so quick to compost or compact was in fact a goldmine of artistic materials.

The artists of A Beautiful Find, the newest exhibition hitting the James Oliver Gallery, take everyday items discarded by less discerning city residents and make them into works of art. From sepia-toned Arctic Splash bottles to the art of Baskin Robins samples spoons, one mans trash is truly an artists’ treasure.

Steven Earl Weber has created two pieces, School Supplies and Through This Gruff Exterior, that show the seedy underbelly just below the surface. One found sculpture resembles drugs under the floorboards, the other a school desk filled with guns.

Weber joins a star-studded cast of Philly artists including past and current members of Man Man, Steven and Billy Dufala, Philadelphia playwright and photog Justin Coffin and furniture-maker Andrew Brehm, fresh off his award-winning work at the Tyler Arboretum’s Totally Terrific Treehouses exhibit.

The exhibit runs through October 6th. The James Oliver Gallery is located at 723 Chestnut St. on the 4th Floor.

The James Oliver Gallery (4th Floor)
723 Chestnut St, Philadelphia PA

September 05, 2008

A Beautiful Find - PW

philadelphia weekly
archives 2008 » sep. 3rd

Match point: “A Beautiful Find” showcases outsider art for insider souls.

“A Beautiful Find,” Disco Descending, Straight Up Vampire and The Hoppers Hit the Road.

»Duchampian Brut

“A Beautiful Find”

Opening Sat., Sept. 6, 6pm-10pm. Through Oct. 6. Free. James Oliver Gallery, 723 Chestnut St., fourth fl. 267.918.7432.

“Look, Dad, there’s another one of the filthy bastards!” roared my 6-year-old daughter Tracey Trotsky Spinoza Jones while gesticulating obscenely at a male bohemian studying sheets of densely scrawled foolscap pulled from a Center City trash can. We’d been spotting these suspiciously well-dressed bin-rummagers for weeks. Tracey speculated they might be lost dimensional travelers desperately trying to get home to an alternative magical garbage-universe “like in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.” I thought it more likely we were witnessing the emergence of a new authenticity-fixated urban tribe of rubbish junkies—the dipsters. Turns out we were both wrong. The detritus-diving miscreants we witnessed were super cool Philly artists—former and current Man Man members, for instance—seeking material for what looks likely to be a truly trouser-burstingly exciting exhibition of “found” art at the James Oliver Gallery. Among the crap these geniuses have reclaimed and recontextualized for your chin-stroking viewing pleasure are mummified rats and mouse bones picked out of an owl pellet. Mmm! There will be so much grooviness packed into this stupendously sophisto-chic artist-attended opening reception that the universe might well prolapse under the strain, ending all life as we know it. But what a way to go.
(Steven Wells)

A Beautiful Find - Phillyist

Green Art


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 what others would consider junk as their physical medium.

Additionally, the renewed focus on green architecture and ever improving conservation have given a huge new boost to "green art" and in the fickle and rarefied atmosphere of the art world, green is the new black.

"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."

Be prepared to witness what a creative mind can offer in the form of art from the discards of society and nature. 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 artworks will 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, Billy and Steven Dufala and others. A reception with the artists, free and open to the public, will take place on Saturday, September 6th from 6:00 to 10:00 pm.

The James Oliver Gallery is located at 723 Chestnut St. 4th Floor, between S. 8th and 9th Streets.

Image Courtesy of JOG

A Beautiful Find - DigPhilly Interview