Art from Detritus: Upcycling with Imagination

April 23 - May 29, 2011

Opening Reception & Detritus Fashion Show, Saturday April 23 4-6PM

curated & conceived by Vernita Nemec

Angela Valeria * Anne Dushanko Dobek * Ann Kronenberg * Annaliese Bischoff * Barbara Fletcher * Barbara Minsky * Barbara Lubliner * Bernard Klevickas * Bernice Sokol Kramer * Carol Quint * Chippa Martin * Connie Perry * Constance Bradbury-Carlin * Courtney Lee Weida * David Channon * d'Ann de Simone * Don Hutchinson * Ed Brodkin * Ed Herman * Gordon Graff * Greg MacAvoy * Harry DeLorme * Helen Zajkowski * Irene Berkson * Irene Clark * Irene Christensen * Jenifer R. Stern * Jorge Valdes * Kasia Ozga * Kathleen King * Katherine Ellinger Smith * Kathleen Hendrick * Kiki Brodkin * Larry Zdeb * Laura Osterweis * Lee Lee * Lisa Moren * Lynne Kroll * Lynda Andrus * Marcia Bernstein * Margot Niederland * May DeViney * Monique Given * Moya Devine * Olivia Beens * Pamela Enz * Peter Wilcox * Philip Zuchman * Rachel Green * Rebecca Muller * Renata Stein * Robin Jordan * Roberto De Jesus * Russ Underlab * Stephanie Brody-Lederman * Susan Ward * Suzanne Morlock * Tracy Walter Ferry * Tracy Jamar * Tyrome Tripoli * Ursula Clark *Uzi Parnes * Vernita N’Cognita

Stephanie Brody-Lederman

Olivia Beens

Olivia Beens

Harry DeLorme

Harry DeLorme

Helen Zajkowski

Helen Zajkowski

Jorge Valdes

Jorge Valdes

Roberto De Jesus

Roberto De Jesus

Carol Quint

Carol Quint

Ann Kronenberg

Ann Kronenberg

Rachel Green

Rachel Green

The WAH Center (Williamsburgh Art & Historical Center) is pleased to present “Art from Detritus: Upcycling with Imagination,” the most exciting and creative solution to superabundant trash. The artworks by over 60 artists are made from recycled materials and trash and convey the message of the importance of “Recycling" & “Upcycling." They also inspire the general public and businesses often intimidated by or not interested in fine art. The primary goal of this exhibit is to show art that through its materials and techniques helps our environment. Art made from trash helps awaken us to the importance of recycling and demonstrates how recycling can be done creatively.

“Art from Detritus” continues the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people. This exhibit serves as a creative reminder that trash can be not only recycled, but also reused, to create beautiful and unique objects of art. All these artists see beauty in the discarded that fills and eventually serves to destroy our environment and realize this is a satisfying and rewarding way to creatively deal with the problem of too much trash.

Since 1994, the changing group of artists in this exhibit has opened dialogues with viewers about the importance and usefulness of art as something beyond decoration. The current exhibit at the WAH Center is the 19th realization of the concept. This exhibition gives talented artists who are outside the mainstream and whose artwork does not fit the prevailing fashion, a much-needed opportunity to exhibit. By curatorial choice many of these artists are ”emerging” artists, and still unknown, who continue to make art in which they believe, despite fame & fortune, thus far, eluding them. These artists often cannot afford studio assistants or expensive materials and equipment for art making. All see beauty in the discarded that fills and eventually serves to destroy our environment and realize this is a satisfying and rewarding way to creatively deal with the problem of too much trash.

Art from Detritus,” or art from waste, is an exhibition project that was conceived by Nemec, an artist as well as director of Viridian Artists Inc, in 1994 at a National Recycling Coalition convention. Besides demonstrating concern for our environment and creative use of trash, the exhibit also demonstrates ways to use our abundant trash as a solution for the artist unable to afford expensive materials & equipment with which to create. Many of the artists in these exhibits initially began to work with discarded materials because of their easy availability.

That first exhibit happened in Portland Oregon in the lobby of the recycled Sears Roebuck building & corporate headquarters for municipal waste & recycling in Portland who sponsored the reception and donated the site, during the annual conference of the NRC. Since then, the exhibit has occurred every year throughout the US with funding from the Kauffman Foundation and the Puffin Foundation as well as sponsorship by the NRC. Detritus exhibition sites include five Pittsburgh sites including Westinghouse headquarters and the Museum of Arts & Crafts; also Kansas City MO at the Linda Hall Library of Science; also Phoenix and Turners Falls MA. In NYC, Detritus exhibits have occurred at galleries, colleges and non-profit spaces including the Henry Street Abrams Arts Center, Gallery 450, Viridian Artists Inc, Synagogue for the Arts, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Farleigh Dickinson University and others.

Vernita Nemec, a.k.a. Vernita N'Cognita, is known in New York City art circles as a visual & performance artist: “The Endless Junkmail Scroll” and “Dress” (of catfood can lids) performed at Dance Theater Workshop (DTW), curator (The Art from Detritus exhibits happening nearly annually since 1994), gallery director (Viridian Artists, NYC) & arts administrator (former Executive Director of Artists Talk on Art & Soho20 Board of Directors).

This exhibit reaches beyond the art world, serving as a message not only about art but also about recycling for the good of the environment. People who have seen past Detritus exhibits are impressed with both the art and its message but more people must know about it. Help us spread the word!

Following are brief descriptions of some of the artists’ processes and intentions:

Barbara Lubliner uses plastic bottles to make building-toy-like sculptures of wire frame platonic solids that she re-purposes into playful art, which shifts the focus from environmental blight to creative production.

“For the past ten years, newspaper, magazines and cardboard have been my main materials, though I do scavenge the garbage in my studio building where I often find discarded canvases, styrofoam and wood.” Bernice (Sokol Kramer)

“Still Friend” is a sculpture made out of a wooden chair and chicken bones that depicts our relationship with our skeletal self. Carol Quint

Utilizing cut up CD ROM material, wire, beads, copper, rubber gaskets, glitter and glue, comic writer Connie Perryrecently unearthed a collection of her handcrafted jewelry pins.

“I like to rummage and to ruminate, exploring the tensions of fragile, ephemeral forms with containers and associated mental and physical archives/collections.” Courtney Lee Weida

“All my work uses compositional elements I find in the trash or at estate sales that I mount to a hand-rubbing (with a spoon) that I made from a piece of wood from an old barn.” d’Ann de Simone

“Art from worthless crap. My work is an explanation of myself.” Gordon Graff

Helen Zajkowski says, “Through my sculptures from found objects, I deconstruct the universal conception of objects and create a new reality that is charged with irony and humor.”

“I like the shapes and texture of found material. I am inspired to use them in ways that are original and distinctive.” Irene Berkson

"When my memory hurts I start to paint." JAVA, Jorge Valdes

“Throughout my studies in geology, anthropology, Egyptology, environmental sciences and Morphic Resonance, I have sought to expand the artistic statements and formal aspects of my work while always keeping the vision of unifying art and science a primary focus.” Irene Clark

For Irene Christensen the metamorphic wooden boxes are about the merging of electronic age and organic life.

"Kathleen King elevates the humblest bits of plant detritus to iconic status for the viewers' contemplation by reconfiguring these small botanical fragments into metaphorical entities in her assemblages."

Lynne Kroll says: “I am inspired by the mystery, power, beauty and magic of Mother Nature.”

Laura Osterweis "Fish Lips," part of a series of art created from recycled lipstick, encourages the viewer to more closely observe parts of subjects that we see but do not often consciously examine.

"Unwrapping the Past", uses wrappers from candy to recreate childhood memories. Lynda Andrus

"Scrupulous and delicately structured, Margot Niederland’s tableau assemblages conjure fine-spun miniature worlds of enjoyably beautiful free-form dimensional narratives, like still frames in an unknown movie.

May DeViney “I love including detritus and cast-off materials in my art because they provide a small history of their own that I would be unlikely to be able to create from scratch; their presence inspires new directions and paths of thought and reminiscence.”

“My work uses manipulated, re-contextualized images to explore fashion, identity, gender and the body as commodity.” Moya Devine.

“I can’t throw anything away.” N’Cognita

Olivia Beens uses natural material found in rural and urban environments. She creates objects that can be seen as portals to other realms of existence enabling viewers to make spiritual connections.

Pamela Enz creates multi media work with her body, ink, oil, and photos, a lifetime torn and layered into text, her own, or the gift of random lines that continue to haunt and inspire.

My art is about transforming the immaterial spirit-nebula into material form. Philip Zuchman

“The Knight of Tides” is evidence of how I transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.” Roberto De Jesus

“Sewing dryer lint together to make a military uniform exposes the insanity of violence as it deviates forcefully from the warmth of domestic normalcy and comfort.” Susan Ward

“My art in this show takes something that exists in one form and remakes it into another entity.” Stephanie Brody-Lederman

Tyrome Tripoli, Brooklyn based metal sculptor and assemblage artist, creates a large abstract sculpture of an erupting mammary gland made from discarded pink and white plastic objects.

“Creation": “The first people lived beyond the sky because there was no earth but below was an endless sheet of water and then the first thunder clapped and the sky broke open and a strange tree fell down into the water so the Great Turtle, master of all animals said since the tree had earth on its roots the animals should bring up some of the earth, so it could be put on his back to make an island (EARTH).” Ursula Clark

Filmmaker and photographer Uzi Parnes was the founder of club Chandalier (sic) and has been creating "photo-chandaliers" since 1984.