The old adage that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” could be used to describe the most recent exhibition at the Perry County Council of the Arts’ Landis House.
“Enhanced Thrift Art” was inspired by New York-based artist Dave Pollot’s altered thrift art paintings. PCCA Executive Director Erika Juran described the purpose of the show as being, “to connect our community through the arts. For some, this was the first time they entered a show. For seasoned artists, they chose a new medium. The show drew artists of all ages across Central PA, and using thrift shop materials took the elitism and the cost out of the show.”
John Newman’s lamp constructions, “Home Run Hemmingway” and “Hummingbird Whitall,” feature railroad insulators along with found metal objects that are crafted into unique desk lamps. From a baseball trophy to hummingbird statuette, the re-purposed pieces become a conversation starter fit for any home.
Karen Lee Miller Newman seemed to take her source materials from grandma’s attic. In “African Turtle Tuffet,” a round hand crocheted covering is sewn onto a pillow to create a hassock. Miller Newman’s “Floral Crescent” is a old-fashioned wooden hat box adorned with a delicate half-moon of dried flowers. Using traditional folk materials gives the new creations a modern life while paying tribute to their past.
The photographic collage by Shannon Beaston is layers upon layers of various colorful photos pieced together over a framed base image.The young woman in “Segmented Elegance” wears a full skirted gown, adorned with diverse imagery. The rural-looking background echoes the collage theme.
The mixed media constructs of Zeelinda Dissinger employs multiple media. “June Bug,” “Lady Bug” and “Dragon Fly” are three-dimensional compositions with Barbie dolls transformed into their namesake insects. Resembling fashion models, the “bugs” are sporting fun outfits, as their backgrounds not only describe their entomological attributes but poke fun at their human ascribed images.
In the spirit of Pollot, several artists re-appropriated imagery into new and now whimsical paintings. Sophia Meglio’s “The Hungry Caterpillar” has inserted the iconic children’s book character into a traditional still life of fruit spilling out of a basket. The darkened worm holes and crawling insects turn the placid image into one sure to evoke a reaction.
Erika Juran has transformed the well-known “Blue Boy” by Thomas Gainsborough into Seventies rock star “Aladdin Sane,” an alter ego of performer David Bowie. In the Juran’s painting, a 1770s icon completes a metamorphosis into a 1970s one.
In Brett Zeigler’s paintings, he has inserted contemporary pop culture imagery into historical genre scenes. “The Force is Strong With This One” sees Star Wars’ character Darth Vader, casually strolling along Parisian street. Similarly incongruous is The Dude character from the movie “The Big Lebowski” smoking a pipe along with Revolutionary War era aristocrats. Both inserted characters are not immediately noticeable, which makes their discovery even more surprising and humorous.
PCCA’s “Enhanced Thrift Art” is an irreverent and enjoyable change of pace. Giving local artists the challenge to interpret Dave Pollot’s vision is a unique call that was answered with creativity and in the spirit with which it was issued, a reminder to have fun. It is a simple, and welcome, message that art does not always have to be so serious.
“Enhanced Thrift Art” is on display until Nov. 4 at the Perry County Council of the Arts’ Landis House, located at 67 N. Fourth St., Newport.The gallery is open Wednesday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., most first Saturdays 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. For more information call 717-567-7023 or visit www.perrycountyarts.org.