An Assembled Trace brings together 5 artists who incorporate found and repurposed materials in their work to challenge the landscape of waste and precarity we face in Philadelphia and around the world. Each piece highlights the importance of noticing what exists around us and how material and ideas can be gathered, accumulated, and transformed.
The exhibition approaches artmaking as a process towards embracing sustainable and ethical creative practices with the potential towards moving art objects out of white wall spaces and into the collective common. For Alden Cole, he sources vintage glass vessels and lamp fixtures from thrift stores, garbage heaps, and gifts from friends. He later turns once individual pieces into structures he calls luminaries and fits them with LED bulbs to cast a colorful glow around the home. His practice calls towards transcendental experiences and provides an opportunity for visitors to look closer at what they cast into the waste stream to be appreciated in an alternative way. Similarly, Nancy Agati’s practice, as seen in her pieces, Nectar II and We are Birch and Water, uses substances left over from the shedding of birch trees and empty nests from wasp colonies to uplift the patterns embedded in these materials and lead the viewer towards appreciating the beauty of the natural world. Within her Blue Streak series of works on paper, she harvests pigments from her garden to create inks from cosmos and marigold flowers, amaranth, dry raspberries, black walnuts, and more, to produce abstractions that echo shapes found in nature and man-made design. Both artists take the viewer on a journey of the possibility of things we move past, sometimes without even noticing, day to day.
Although quite different in scale and material, Maria Stracke and Anna Guarneri approach art-making in similar ways, collecting material and finding ways to physically fuse them together. Anna’s process involves sourcing material from stores that collect leftover materials from stained glass artists around the region and imperfect glass sheets from factories to incorporate unique, recycled, fragments into her work. She arranges then solders the pieces into abstracted sculptures and hangings in a series she calls The Stacks. They call to mind colorful renditions of cartography, towers, or in some, termite mounds. While Alden’s luminaries cast light from within their shell out, Anna’s flat, colorful glass blends with natural light and cast white light to transform the space around it, expanding her relatively small-scale work into hazy monuments around the room, glimpses of a world both within and outside of our own. Similarly, Maria’s piece, Grow Growing (Mountain Walk II), is suspended away from the wall and its already large size is magnified by the shadows projected through the shaped holes present throughout the work. She begins each piece by creating smaller paintings and drawings, then tears or cuts each piece into fragments that are later reconstructed and mended using hanji, a handmade mulberry paper from Korea. Her work seeks connection to disparate material history, comparing hanji’s relationship to the household and common spaces in Korea as part of everyday objects such as doors and lamps, to the western use of hanji as a highbrow material often found in a conservator’s toolbox as an archival method of repairing texts. Each of Maria’s pieces become a new, undulating form, inspired by shapes and colors from her mental archive of embedded or inherited histories and memories.
Ana Mosquera’s work challenges the structures enveloping us, analyzing collectively shared information and data sets across broad, intersecting topics such as currency systems, architecture models, refugee and immigration data, and climate change statistics. Her work was created using inflatables typically utilized by sport fishers and sourced curved foam. Ana coated each section using creamy gold faux-silk and fabric she handprinted with images related to The Central Bank of Venezuela and cryptocurrency during her apprenticeship at Fabric Workshop and Museum in 2022. The piece highlights questions regarding our current finance system and if the hot air projected to us by those in power will really be able to sustain those of us who do not have access to easy routes of escape in times of crisis. By paying attention to the catastrophic prediction Ana sees heading towards us, we can look at the other work present in the gallery as a beacon of hope, weaving together practices that ask us to slow down, look closely, and find alternative methods of living in relationship to the people and world around us. The artists of An Assembled Trace were brought together to offer a glimmer towards futures that will or may come to be, and methods towards embracing sustainable and ethical creative practices on both an individual and collective level.
Curated by Samantha M Connors and Bryant Girsch, Co-Executive Directors of Da Vinci Art Alliance, An Assembled Trace, is in direct relationship with the 2023 Everyday Futures Fest, celebrated around Philadelphia every April. This year’s theme is Sustaining Craft and Community, celebrating the vast amount of identities, cultures, and skills that exist and are deeply rooted in our overlapping communities. To learn more information, please visit www.everydayfuturesfest.org
An Assembled Trace by Nancy Agati, Alden Cole, Anna Guarneri, Ana Mosquera, and Maria Ah Hyun Stracke will be on view in Gallery 1 at Da Vinci Art Alliance starting March 29th until April 23rd. The opening reception will take place on Saturday April 1st, 4-7pm.