Amy Schmidt, Toy Soldier @ Area 919, 919 North 5th Street, a survey of the past year of exhibitions. From a distance the content of this image is clear, a young masked rebel with a gun but up close – break me off a toy soldier. The collage is a huge collection of tiny war toys: plastic soldiers, tanks, planes, bugs, dolls, animals the subtext is powerful in what Amy Potsic called the political room.
The art work collected in the newly refurbished back gallery is all politically motivated from TODTs, Camera (an old camera with a fetus trapped inside created in 1980, still relevant considering the current debate concerning abortion), to Abby Schmidts Tank (encaustic made from melted crayons on a light box depicting children looking back at an approaching tank) to Potsics own photographs commenting on Chinese oppression of its people. DoN likes arguing about difficult art and this show really pissed him off.
Abby Schmidt, Fossil Fooled @ Area 919. This piece is not so easily read but its all plastic dinosaurs – plastic is made from oil, oil is made from dinosaurs, dinosaurs are dead.
Abby Schmidt, Jessica, melted crayons on light box. Schmidt mixes her own colors by melting crayons together to create flesh tones creating a new take on everlasting encaustic. The subject is fat babies being fed, the look in their eyes is frantic, as if they know theyve already eaten too much – Mom, please stop!
Abby Schmidt, Jessica, melted crayons. There are three of these big baby portraits hanging together, heroic in size, extreme close-ups of glowing skin shines with the light of health – a strong condemnation of Americas obsession with food and never-ending quest for satisfaction.
Amy Potsic, Made in China – Female Adoption, Made in China – One Child Limit, Made in China – Reproductive Rights & Made in China – Population Control, archival pigment print, each 24″ x 48″.
Amy Potsic, Made in China – Exile, archival pigment print. Potsics Made in China series is based on traditional scrolls but are actually all shot around town. Amy is a world traveler but came to the conclusion that Philly is a world class city and began shooting photographs as if she were in a foreign land. The aspect ratio of the camera dictated the scroll design, the content is traditional appearing Chinese imagery but is actually trees found locally, each representing the four seasons, each photo dedicated to forms of Chinese oppression and how America kowtows to the huge market even though they are literally plowing down traditional villages to build high-rise apartment with no concern for preserving history or up-rooting villagers. Hey, even Disneyland now has a franchise for Beijing. The photographs are luxurious and rich with crisp detail, saturated color and beautiful composition, if you did not know how angry Amy is about religious oppression in Tibet you would think these were an homage instead of condemnation.
Mark Khaisman, packing tape on light box @ Area 919.
Mark Khaisman uses tape to create drawings of Baroque and Rococo furniture found in Sotheby catalogs. The furniture is, of course, for rich people only and if you actually owned it you would never sit in it or write on it, you would probably put a velvet rope around it – thats what makes Khaismans drawings use of lowly plastic tape so appealing and intriguing. A former stained glass artist, Mark confidently twists and folds the tape into curvy lines, layering tape to create density and depth, transforming something so cheap into something precious and desirable.
TODT is an artist collective that have been working together (more or less) for 30 years, even though the member artists have individual names, they prefer to be known only as TODT. The group is primarily interested in the future and science, the above piece was developed in the early 80s, before computers, using a light-box they found on the street, the Marilyn is also a found object, the combination is truly prescient considering the current green trend, the use of electronics and light and mixed metaphor collage, très au courant yet timeless. TODTs resume includes the Whitney Biennial, the Venice Biennial, and many gallery & museum shows going back to 1979.
TODT, Eye Tower @ Area 919. This light sculpture was created for a gallery who fronted the funds to develop over a dozen pieces but the gallerist took off with nine of them, luckily several were saved along with material to make more. The staring eyeballs signaled the oncoming onslaught of oppressive mass surveillance of hidden watchmen cataloging our every move from trafffic lights to toll booths; a local real estate mangement office even has a camera just in case renters get pissed off and don’t pay up.
13 Months has plenty more to see with photos by John Rosser, furniture by Luis Montoya, Anthony Angelicola, Mike Parsell & Daniel Petraitis plus antiques and objects of desire. In just 13 months, Area 919 has established itself as an art force to be reckoned with.