a preview ~ by Elizabeth Johnson, May 26, 2014.
Easton, PA will prove its claim as an “art town” with an outstanding exhibit in one of the City’s most prestigious buildings. On May 31st, 2014, at 6 pm BOOM…it’s an art show will open in the temporarily unoccupied corner of the Alpha Building at 18 Centre Square (formerly the Crayola store which has now moved inside the Crayola Experience).
Curator Tom D’Angelo credits Jared Mast, Project Manager of the Greater Easton Development Partnership, the building’s new owner VM Development Group LLC, and Easton’s Main Street Initiative for paving the way for the show happen.
When I previewed the show video documentarians Bryan Scott and Todd Frankenfield were setting up and several artists were installing their work. Danny Moyer was engrossed in a scrappy, colorful collage featuring girls’ eyes, french fries, bacon strips and soldiers (the finished piece will be different since he’ll continue to layer paint and found paper items before opening night). Ken Kewley, a resident of Easton’s West Ward and an avid fan of this working class neighborhood’s architecture, was working on West Ward, Downtown, a collage painting that uses posters left by Crayola Crayon, the space’s former tenant. Nestor A. Gil was arranging Acumen, a thoughtful board game that questions social stereotypes, and Blow, a group of inflatable word-and-paper sculptures.
Mike Kondel arrived with Fruit of Honor, a delicate, sophisticated mesh of print techniques and direct painting and bronze-applied metal leaf. Tiffany Calvert was hanging her painting, Untitled #240: a vortex of the extra nuts, bolts, molten gold and iron rebar left over after the universe was either created, or destroyed (appropriate for a show called “BOOM”). In contrast, I fall warily into the limitless space of Mike Cabreza’s collage of mirrored, jagged trees: his universe of fractal-like patterns contains no signposts, and his trees send deep roots into the infinite. Jim Toia’s Cowboy Lust, a snaky, slinky, 30-foot long sculpture of a hinged-together tree trunk, presents trees as natural architecture by putting the sawed pieces back together and thus bringing the tree back to life.
On a curved wall, gathering speed and momentum, Gregory Coates’s I Shot the Messenger protests attacks on the media and free speech by skewering a Yves Klein-blue bike with arrows. Then Tom D’Angelo’s puzzle-like, wooden wall sculpture slows the pace by forcing the viewer to notice each piece. D’Angelo’s work agrees with Chaz Hampton’s street art-inspired Quilt II, which reads as a lexicon of painting styles, and this sets us up for Jackie Lima’s sculpture, Fear, that combines cutout images of guns and actual bullet casings with a painted dream of being shot.
Steve Condra’s 8′ x 8′ plywood sculpture Firefly, inspired by a tiny pen and ink drawing, has yet to be delivered, but Josh Finck is carting in amplifiers, colored lights, mixer boards, and TVs from a local prison for the installation that will provide a stage for El Bandito and DJ Discreet during the opening.
Elli Albrecht’s painting Mirage uses black strands of paint “to formulate an entire cosmos,” as she says, recalling the work of Joan Miró. Marya’s Fabrication Series: Flower Child, a fabric collage over an acrylic painting, filters dense William Morris wallpaper or Indian fabric designs through portraiture. Painters William Hudders and Michael Schade remind us how beautiful our world appears a second before it goes BOOM, while Berrisford Boothe’s single-hued tondos, seem to paint AUM, the alpha and omega, what comes before or after the bomb. I’ll disclose that I have a painting in the show, but I’ll leave description of it to the reviews that will roll in after the opening.
BOOM will be open Saturdays 11am-2pm through June 21st during Easton’s Farmers’ Market, or by appointment with Tom D’Angelo. Come out and join the party! May 31st, 6-10 pm. Contact Tom D’Angelo on Facebook or at [email protected].