This show explores notions of the discarded and the distressed in the work of four artists: Josh Blackwell, Antonia Perez, Katherine Powers and Randy Wray. Josh Blackwell began collecting plastic bags from city streets and kitchen cupboards about six years ago. In the studio, the bags are fused shut and/or embroidered with yarn, deliberately thwarting their function. The bags attempt to redress their semi-degraded status with the addition of colorful embroidery in geometric patterns. The compositions draw upon “high” and “low” vernaculars such as Geometric Abstraction, Minimalism, folk traditions and do-it-yourself craft projects. Contrasting “artificial” plastic with “natural” yarn, the work interrogates the economies of waste and necessity. Antonia Perez is a mixed-media artist who makes sculpture, assemblage and installations. She gathers discarded objects such as used plastic bags, household linens, tissue boxes and assorted detritus from the home that has the potential for conversion to something unexpected. Her process transforms them from their lowly status as trash to the elevated existence of an art object. Katherine Powers is fascinated by the paradoxical activity of dissolving the physical and giving form to the ephemeral. She is attracted to the shimmer and variety of color in our abundant refuse, a sort of urban plankton. The artist views the collages as vibrant portraits of our internal world, defining the interplay of material, emotions and spirit. Randy Wray’s recent works recycle and transform the detritus of our castaway culture–junk mail, discarded polystyrene packaging, used clothing and old furniture–to perform a kind of alchemy and examine ideas about faith. They explore a number of seemingly polar opposite relationships: abstraction/representation, beauty/grotesquerie, natural/man-made, naive/sophisticated, familiar/foreign. By blending disparate ideas and sensibilities, the artist aims to create new paths of connection.
16 Wilson Ave. Brooklyn
Josh Blackwell, Antonia Perez, Katherine Powers and Randy Wray
May 30 — June 23, 2013
Reception: May 30, 6-9 pm