FEBRUARY 2016 || GRLS GRLS GRLS: An All Female Gallery Showcase

GRLS, GRLS, GRLS is a recapturing of an aesthetic
GRLS, GRLS, GRLS is a redefinition of the archetype
GRLS, GRLS, GRLS is a celebration of all things feminine

The DECA gallery will be offering cutting edge work from local females or those who identify as such in order to bring to light the increasing influence of women in the artworld today.

GRLS was a project I've always wanted to do. The lure of the gimmick and the power of the work drove idea to manifest.

Having spent quite some time in Lancaster, Ive been privy to the wealth of unbridled creativity (as witnessed by our economy being fueled almost solely by the creative class) available in this town. As I started my search for talent and artists, the flow began as a tributary of the Conestoga and culminated with the power witnessed at Rickett's Glen. In some instances, I approached the ladies, and in others, the ladies approached me, drawn to one another, recognizing the flame within  each other, and thus GRLS, the revolution, was born!

GRLS is not only an art exhibit, it is a call to action, a re-awakening of the artistic and collaborative spirit inherent in this place we call home.

Based on mythologies, astrological pursuits, as well as archetypal and societal progressions, GRLS could not have come at more opportune time, bringing to the forefront, this amazing group of Art Activists, quietly creating in revolt quietly creating to make a lasting sound. 

That sound, in fact, was a sonic boom that landed in Lancaster the 1st weekend in February. The ringing in our ears was louder than we could have imagined. The buzzing lasted longer than we would have thought, causing the need for further inspection - to experience the realization that each female artist chosen has had a significant career/education/experience in the Arts, either locally or abroad. Notwithstanding the apparent expertise in the room, the ease with which each piece flowed to the next while properly depicting the broad spectrum of 'being-ness' for women today; from the naive and cute, to the hard and fast, from the soft and inviting to the blunt and sharp, all without superstars or comparing the length of each others CV, this exhibit was fully cyclical in its representation.

A online detractor noticed that there was no I in GRLS, he could not have been more right!

Friends, do not fall asleep
 

THE BUZZ

THE BOOM

A Review of GRLS

“Hours after I left DECA’s New Street gallery, I stumbled upon news of feminist stalwart Gloria Steinem chiding young women for their lack of investment in the seriousness of women’s issues. The joke’s on her: without any of the staunch finger wagging of second wave feminism, the painting, mix media, photography, collage, and video installation of DECA’s GRLS, GRLS, GRLS provided an alternately fun, profound, shocking and playful celebration of modern grlhood.

The highlights of the show were the many pieces that, from a distance, appeared shocking and sexual but upon closer inspection revealed something entirely innocuous, even banal. It was a playful optical trick that reminded us of our pervasive tendency to sexualize everything about a woman’s appearance and activity, even when they have little or nothing to do with sex (a badass large photo of a breastfeeding mother in boots comes to mind). I’m currently transfixed by a pair of photos that featured close-ups of mouth’s (one male and one female, if I had to guess) manipulating what can best be described (scientifically) as “pink goo”. They shocked me, until they made me laugh (mostly at my own perversity), until they shocked me again.

Other favorites of the show included two paintings and a mixed media piece dealing with the struggles of Latinas (including an incredibly visceral commemoration of the forced sterilizations of Puerto Rico’s oft-ignored eugenics program), an inexplicably charming photo of a large red-flannelled bust, and a video installation that, despite my best efforts at maintaining eye contact, had me rudely sneaking peeks between well-earned nods of appreciation. (It was only later that I could bask in its quirky and disturbing jump cuts before finally being taken by the arm toward the door.)
The most common eavesdropped dispute on opening night had to do with the choice not to attribute authorship to the pieces. Some felt this anonymity might deny a sense of personhood to the artist, but I felt it was an excellent escape from the (let’s admit it) awkward oppressiveness of artist’s statements, which tend to make viewing art a matter of holding a meter stick up to the work. For me at least, the lack of attribution held deeper significance and impact. It suggested that an overwrought sense of individualism might actually get in the way of one’s personal, political and aesthetic commitment to the exploration of femininity and grlhood.

On this point, DECA should get special credit for its discerning display choices, which were playfully non-linear and full of an obvious joy and appreciation for the eclectic gestalt of disparate artists and media. While it was (usually) stylistically clear where one artist’s work stopped and another’s began, the lack of attribution gave GRLS an episodic quality, Instead of getting some disingenuously broad (pun a little bit intended) statement about capital W-Womanhood, viewers were offered a glimpse into the intimate vignettes of the lived lives of ladies”
— Professor Matt Johnson-Icelandic Traveler and local notable

THE AFTERMATH

Event Images by Jason Langheine Photography

 

November 2014 || "Set and Setting" Various Photographic works by David Billet, Phil Jackson, Nikki Jarrett, Ian Kline, Chris Malmberg, Brian Powderly, Rob Reed and John Shanahan

setandsetting

Understated, underestimated skill is the phrase I'd use to start off this entry.

Its funny to think that even in this day and age, skate life and skaters seem to be just as much as a pariah to mass culture as they ever had been in the past. This is something that perplexes me: I mean i guess there is a stigma for every group of people who participate in similar activities, ie; bikers, rappers, hipsters etc. as lawless, uncouth, with having a general disdain for authority. Judgment can be placed on every group's collective hobby set however even with such a variety of personalities, age and skill levels, day jobs or independently wealthy, there is also one thing that holds true over time, the fortitude of the brotherhood (phrased specifically considering these categories still typically remain a boys game but at least in particular crew, there are a few females who are not just on the side but actively participating and creating as well)

One of those females is Nikki Jarrett whose piece titled Davis captures the dichotomy between the entitled malaiase of today's youth mixed with its ironic and literal 'care-free' nature so perfectly thoough the composition of a young man posing replacing his with an Elmo faced balloon set to a Blue Lagoon-esq beach cliff backdrop. It is a personal fave. Nikki's aesthetic and the collective style of the group of skate photographers that photojournalist Rob Reed had put together was full of geometry: right angled and askewed, fringe living, provocative compositions, and irregular subject matter - just as you would expect from a group of rapscallion, trouble makers.

Notwithstanding, the level of collective professionalism was bar none. Each photographer also released their own exquisitely produced zines (just let the irony in the combination of those words settle in because it is true). These full color publications were completely affordable while letting the patron take home a very well hand-crafted portfolio, essentially. 

This should be a given in this day and age, but this group also gets next level props for their ability to self promote. The skate tribe is strong and they always show up in support of each other, and to skate the lines wherever they may be, however, this group's social media game was on point which is the second most important skill to have behind actual artistic talent.

Thanks for all of the documentation guys and cant wait to show your collective again in the Summer of 2016.

 

October 2014 || "Nothing Will Do" Works by Jason Herr and Michael Fisher

nothing will do

I felt this show was an homage to my newly discovered love of analog collage. The preceding adjective seems disappointingly necessary these days to distinguish between analog and digital styles of mixed media. Although equally beautiful, each requires a much different skill set and standard of patience (as could be said for many fields today in our overtly modern world).

Michael Fisher, who hails from Harrisburg, helps to run The MakeSpace which is an Art collective/ community Art Space with a focus on all things creative, from wild DIY music shows to workshops and classes to educate the masses - a space after our own hearts!

There, Michael had run a monthly collage workshop so he'd been well versed in the visual dialog of cutting and pasting, as well as the effective use of negative and positive space in a piece. With a childhood background in haunting fairy tales and vintage Italian fashion mags, Michael's future in collage was laid out for him at a very young age.

For me, this was a re-introduction to Michael's creative partner in crime and Lancaster native, Jason Herr. Id always seen Jason's work in local coffee shops (when that was the best game in town for emerging artists) and on the walls of my friend's homes. His style is unmistakable. I imagine and awkward childhood full of imaginary anthropomorphic beasts, and wild plot lines filling his backyard playtime and scribbled upon his bedroom walls. Luckily, having recognized his innate talent, Jason decided to not only pursue his dreams travelling the collegiate route, but also to expand on his talents as well. Starting young with Illustration courses , as an adult, Jason is currently finishing a Fine Art degree at PCAD in Lancaster Pa, and combining the two methods into something reminiscent of the early DADAists who maybe time travelled into a land of epic journeys and masterful planning (see: any late 70's fantasy epic), colluding with the freneticism of 80's nu-wave with the color scheme of a modern day retro-inspired palate. Interestingly as well, Jason took on a new approach to the idea of mixed media collage by cutting out characters he had already drawn and applying them to a newly drawn scenario; taking cut-out scraps and incorporating them as aspects of interest or compositional elements into new pieces.

The mixture of the two styles was something to behold indeed...although I wish I'd taken better photos (you'll be hearing that a lot in this blog), the show was a success with a handful of pieces sold and much more hype built for the future of these two especially talented artists.

September 2014 || "BFFs"

Our grand opening event was celebrated by showing a number of the most talented emerging artists of Lancaster PA, all in one place.

Although the space was still pretty raw, I like to imagine the feels were too!

Marked by the contemporary works of:

  • Annie Kerekgyarto
  • Darren Jordan
  • Eric Regester
  • Osmyn Oree
  • Sam Warren
  • Holly Farrell
  • Taylor Brown
  • Salina Almanzar
  • Thomas Valentine
  • Zach Kolodziejski
  • Emma Cate Robertson

Artist and patrons alike were a-buzz with new possibilities, new outlets and a new frame of mind for a Lancaster which would celebrate and provide a platform for serious emerging artists of all levels. A new paradigm had begun.

 

(photos by Nikki Weems)