Hard to believe a week has passed since this exhibition opened and summer has made room for autumn as well. Such is the passing of time. As promised here are a few views of the show my work is in which opened at Bellarmine University’s McGrath Gallery on September 16. The exhibit is entitled “Outcasts and Artifacts, artwork from a disposable world”, “Al Gorman and Scott Scarboro”. I snapped a few installation views before people arrived for the opening. Thanks to friends and family as well as a well-timed snippet in the local paper… a good mix of folks came out to see our work.
I have a lot of stuff I’ve gathered and made to select from over the years and I decided now was a good time to see my sign collection hanging on a wall. I found that I still enjoy looking at these artifacts. I like hand painted signs and one of my very first jobs was working in a sign shop. I have this idea about history being interpreted from examining the existing fragments and this collection fits. I also like finding the occasional sign where the universe is seemingly “speaking” to you by providing enigmatic clues.
My “Fake Food Collection” was another one of my various collections I put on display. I have shown this before, however, it seems each time I go to the river I find another piece or two for it. As a result, this collection keeps getting bigger and bigger and no longer fits in the Styrofoam box I use to store it. I found every piece at the Falls of the Ohio courtesy of the Ohio River beginning eight years a go. These are the pieces I did find and I often wonder about the ones that got away! To me, all the predominantly plastic representations of food are another signal of our disconnect from nature. The smell of the plastic is really noticeable. I think this collection presents initially as something humorous until the reality of it sets in. This seems to be a part of my art’s modus operandi.
Among the sculptures I displayed are a couple of early pieces that I have never exhibited before. Such is the case with “Fang” on the right and my version of the meeting of the explorers “Lewis and Clark”. “Fang” still has its original dirt on it. Also in this shot are my “Squirt Gun Collection” and a small predatory animal I called the “River Ghost” which I featured in a blog post last year. Most of these Styrofoam sculptures I consider to be “relics” of a larger process I engage in and weren’t originally intended to be stand alone objects. Although I have saved many works over time, the vast majority of them were left behind to await their fates in the park.
Scott Scarboro is an interesting artist who lives in New Albany, Indiana that also works with found objects and materials. His stuff is more “urban” than mine and he makes use of old toys and yard sale and flea market finds. He likes to tinker with the mechanical and electrical workings in these toys so they neither move nor sound as originally intended. Of late, Scott has been exploring the uses of sound in sculpture in public art settings. The paintings began life as wall paper remnants that then became drop cloths that Scott worked back into. Scott and I have been friends for many years and our artistic paths seem to intersect frequently.
Another view from the gallery. Scott made the robot painting as well as the lamp. The two of us spoke to an evening art appreciation class at the university that went really well. We were able to engage the class with our art and ideas and I believe most of the students were not art majors? As a result of our talk many of these students came out for the opening reception.
Two “devilish” works by me and Scott. The Styrofoam sculpture I entitled “Faun or Blue-tongued Devil” and the wall piece Scott made using a toy jet fighter plane. One idea that both of us like working with is “repurposing” existing objects and making new statements from them. The world is after all already filled with a multitude of objects that can be reinterpreted without using freshly extracted resources from nature.
Also in the show were two Styro-turtles I’ve made. The white one was featured in one of my recent posts as the “Cottonwood Turtle”. I was pleased by how that story and images turned out. Both turtles include old bicycle helmets in their making. The black one’s body under the helmet is actually a foam wig stand in the shape of a human head. For many of the works I presented, I also included laminated hard copies from my blog posts that showcase the sculpture on exhibit. I have to say that I still prefer seeing my works in the contexts of where they were created and as a result I probably don’t pursue the exhibition opportunities available to me. In closing, here is one final shot featuring three of my pieces and a shameless sign I painted to get gallery visitors to also visit my riverblog! I still feel that this is the best place to get a fuller sense of what I’m doing at the Falls of the Ohio. All the rest is fragmentary and tells a smaller part of the story. My thanks go out to Bellarmine University and Caren Cunningham for the invitation to exhibit and Laura Hartford for all her hard work in preparing for this show.