Sunday, December 16, 2007

nuts and berries: objects and not

Little Berlin 1801 N. Howard St., Philadelphia.
Friday, December 14th- ?

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A wall of found and manipulated objects, priced from low to "priceless"

nuts and berries: objects and not bills itself as a "visual agreement between daniel petraitis and martha savery" and each would-be capital letter was printed lower case as it is reproduced here. I can only assume the use of lower case implies that the artists (or the space) are extremely modest about their craft and its place in society. I think an adept parallel would be when a band chooses to play on the floor, becoming a part of the audience, rather then performing on an elevated stage. If anyone has ever produced or come across an in-depth study of the use of lower cases in text, especially when the capital "I" is replaced with the lower case "i" I would be happy to hear a discussion of it.

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One of the objects on display at Little Berlin.

The "visual agreement" between the two artists in question is in actuality a nice way of saying a two-person show with a few collaborative pieces. However, I think the use of the term is especially apt in nuts and berries as the works of Daniel and Martha compliment each other in a seamless way. It would be possible to imagine the exhibition as a one-person show. As the title of the exhibition implies, the artists have gathered objects natural to their urban environment. The phrase "nuts and berries" becomes a metaphor for discarded objects; telephone books, pieces of pallets, old furniture, plastic trash and anything else that one might find abandoned to the sidewalks of the city. After gathering the "fruits" of the metropolis each artist transforms the trash into an arresting visual object or installation. In one collaborative work, the transformation is as simple as hanging the objects on a wall, numbering them, and giving them each a sale price.

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A man sits on a piece of telephone pole beside Martha Savery's stack of yellow pages.

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Daniel Petraitis' stack of pallets.

For me, the "tour de force" of the show was in a slightly separated room housing a mountain of artfully stacked telephone books (by Martha Savery) and pieces of old pallets (by Daniel Petraitis). The pallet ends had been painted bright colors by Mr. Petraitis in a move that immediately called to mind Jessica Stockholder, branded onto the ends of each wooden slat, however, were the initials "dp". The branding mirrors the industrial process, pulling this stack of wood into a highly Duchampian context, while turning each piece in the stack into a highly individualized artwork produced in multiple.

nuts and berries: objects and not , was a treat to visit, it's simple modesty and use of recycled materials was a breath of fresh air in today's decadent climate.

Also posted to artblog


naaaaaaaaaatalie said...

two things:

1) The phonebooks remind me of Jonathan Callan's sculptures, such as this large one that was at the Mattress Factory, though they are more structured...

2) recently Ryan Gander gave one of his "loose associations lectures" at the Drawing Center and had a thing or two to say about the no-capitals condition, when it emerged, and how it annoys him. I can't find his writing on the subject but am interested in the phenomenon as well. ...

Annette Monnier said...

I agree about Callan. Plus if you you ever Ryan's writings on the capitals thing let me know!