One of the newest additions to vibrant downtown Carlisle business district is the unique artistic space, Ejecta Projects.
Founded by local husband and wife team, artist Anthony Cervino and art historian Shannon Egan, Ejecta Projects is an art gallery, an artist’s studio and space “to consider collaborative artistic and curatorial undertakings.”
Ejecta Projects not only offers exhibition opportunities for artists, but also, according to Cervino and Egan, “... serves as a gesture toward community investment, a place for connection among people who crave an atmosphere of warmth and creativity.”
The space is conceived as a continuation of their 2015 co-written book and co-curated exhibition titled “Ejecta.” It’s defined as when a volcano erupts ancient rocks and magma — ejecta — spews into sight for the first time. The original exhibition sent private aspects of Cervino’s life bubbling to the surface, exposing them to viewers for interpretation.
Similarly, Ejecta Projects intends to also examine relatable themes of failure and success, parenthood and marriage, materiality and mortality. Exhibitions and endeavors will not only reflect upon such personal and professional themes, but also engage a broad repertoire of artists and audiences.
Cervino and Eagan have assembled for their opening exhibition, “Valediction,” the works of four artists whose sensibilities echo that of the original Ejecta exhibition.
The works in “Valediction” are diverse in their media – painting, sculpture, collages and digital prints – but share a sense of loss, fragmentation and displacement, providing a continuum of emotions that were at the center of the gallery’s namesake. Each of the artists shown – Lisa Blas, Nora Sturges, Joe Meiser and elin o’Hara slavick – speaks to the inspiration that has brought Ejecta Projects to fruition.
Blas’ carefully selected text, reproduced with acrylic on water color paper and placed upon vellum, displays headline text from local newspapers in the 19th century fonts common in newspaper mastheads. These “headlines” are drawn from tragic times of disaster and loss, such as during Hurricane Katrina.
As the letters are layered upon the two sheets, they both appear and fade, to be both absent and present. In “Pictorial (grounds),” the text decries “Seeking Solid Ground” in bright orange; as if to shout in desperation to the viewer.
Powerful details emerge from intimately sized paintings in Sturges’s egg tempera and oil on fiberboard. Her imagery may at first seem simple, and “Soup,” for example is precisely that—a filled bowl sitting upon an earth tone placemat. Yet the longer one lingers upon Sturges’s works, the intricate details emerge, and the subjects depicted on the small canvas appear to magnify.
“Fragments” are three tiny pieces of mosaics, yet when even smaller lights are poised to illuminate them, the entire scene enlarges upon the plane as one leans in to absorb the details.
Using some of the most modern technological innovations, Meiser has produced digital prints with CAD (computer-aided design) software and three-dimensional modeling to create his own taken upon some of the most traditional art genres, the still life and self-portrait.
In “Horace (Vanitas Series),” Meiser’s still life depicts a vase overflowing with colorful wildflowers, surrounded by realistically rendered foods, and even a candle with a delicate plume of smoke rising as if recently extinguished. Understanding that the scene is masterfully composed as well as computer generated, creates a fascinating homage to the Dutch Masters of the Renaissance era.
The medium of collage is employed by slavick. Using such source materials as silver gelatin prints, archival inkjet prints and found photographs for use with her collage, her works have an historic feel. Displayed in repurposed frames, the collages contain vintage imagery enhanced by enigmatic elements.
“Three in One” uses layers of textural photographic prints topped by a small snapshot that was apparently double exposed resulting in two images. The accidental patterns on the silver gelatin print serve as beautiful matting for the haunting display.
The inclusion of Cervino’s single sculpture Archimorph (Duplex), from the original exhibition in 2015, is now intended to serve as a singular trace of that iteration of Ejecta. The conjoined hanging houses are suspended from the ceiling. The two structures serve as a representation of a yin and yang, made of complementary materials, yet differing styles. They serve as a metaphor for partnership; having both similarities and differences, but ultimately fitting together in harmony and union for a shared purpose.
Ejecta Projects has made its entrance to the Central Pennsylvania art scene in a way that both defines its intentions without limiting its parameters. It appears to be a gallery with its own point of view, aiming to inspire creativity in the community, which is a very welcome goal.
“Valediction” is on display at Ejecta Projects, located at 136 W. High St., Carlisle, until May 5. Gallery hours are 2 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays. Contact Ejecta Projects by phone at 443-904-3649 or visit its website at www.ejectaprojects.com.