'Accumulation': Trash as art

"Weekend" will be shown at the International House.
"Weekend" will be shown at the International House.
Posted: December 07, 2012

THIS FIRST Friday, Seraphin Gallery shows its visitors how one person's trash becomes another's art with Joan Wadleigh Curran's "Accumulation." Paintings are made with gouache on black paper. The subjects are discarded and overlooked objects - a medley of trash from the streets of Philadelphia, rocks from a Wyoming quarry and ocean debris collected near Ballycastle, Ireland.

By removing these materials from their environment and rearranging them in her studio, Curran explores the value of each piece. She also transforms items such as tethered rope, cords and packing material, juxtaposing the harsh materials with vibrant colors or bright flowers. Things that were once useless become a part of a bigger picture; in this way, the artist creates a metaphor. "Accumulation" optimistically reflects the cycle of life.

Seraphin Gallery, 1108 Pine St., reception 6-8 p.m. Friday, 215-923-7000, seraphin.squarespace.com.

- Amanda Wagner

Myth in crafts & candy

Looking at transgender artist Caroline Wells Chandler's work, you may find yourself asking, "Is that a picture frame with a tail? Are those Teddy Grahams?"

Yes, and yes!

This month, Vox Populi Gallery hosts Chandler's exhibition "Myth Maker." There's something obviously cheeky about Chandler's work - these mixed-media creations are grounded in irony. The artist uses materials that could be found in any kindergarten class to explore how "an individual maintains autonomy in the face of a culture that thrives in the subjugation of its participants."

Crocheted blankets, dissembled stuffed animals, candy, faux fur and glitter are littered throughout Chandler's work to emphasis the very cliché nature of craft. But that isn't to say that this work is not serious; most objects reflect a personal, universal or cultural symbol.

"Sometimes a mancala bead is a bubble of water and sometimes it's just bead," Chandler said. Chandler uses familiar, comfortable objects placed in an unusual context. For the artist, this delineates where culture ends and the individual begins.

Vox Populi Gallery, 319 N 11th St., reception 6-11 p.m. Friday, 215-238-1236, voxpopuligallery.org.

- Amanda V. Wagner

Bring on 'Weekend'

As holiday cheer is on the rise, so, too, is scorn toward consumerism. Friday, International House embraces this dichotomy as its shows Jean-Luc Godard's black comedy "Weekend" in a newly restored 35 mm print.

The 1967 film follows the travels of a couple. Each person is unfaithful, materialistic - and planning the other's murder. A ride through beautiful French countryside leads to a horrific sequence of events as the couple comes across various conflicts of class struggle and civil war.

"Weekend" is part of the Janus Collection of European and Japanese films compiled during the 1960s, when most mainstream American films were glitzy epics or period dramas. Films from the collection are screened monthly at International House, whose film program curator, Robert E. Cargni, explained, "The Janus Collection . . . is a vital part of American film culture." There will be a post-screening discussion and wine reception.

International House, 3701 Chestnut St., 8 p.m. Friday, $9, $7 students and seniors, 215-387-5125, ihousephilly.org.

- Kailey Kluge


Art Attack is a partnership with Drexel University and is supported by a grant from the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge, administered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

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