Posted: May 05 2014
I AM HERE
A group exhibition of Philadelphia artists that exhibit both on and off white walls.
Friday, May 16, 2014 • 6:30pm – 10:00pm
(Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org regarding press preview details)
James Oliver Gallery
723 Chestnut Street
4th Floor - Philadelphia, PA 19106
It is our choice to express ourselves. We truly have the power to make a difference, to brighten up an area that needs some love, to break down the sometimes intimidating gallery and museum walls, to express a common voice to the community, to simply say, "I am feeling inspired. All viewers are welcome. Here it is!" without any reservations.
-Sara McCorriston, Curator of "I Am Here"
If a city can be defined by its art then Philadelphia is revolutionary with its artistic trail blazers who’ve set the tone with their unleashed self-expression. They bond our communities with shared visceral moments –constantly shaping a culture that defies the trappings of being boxed into idioms that try to define creativity in terms of subversive elements of expression. These artists follow a history of groundbreakers whose actions resulted from a need to be heard.
-Ginger Rudolph, Content Specialist & Educator of “I Am Here”
Tel: + 1 215 498 9127
For further information on screening dates, artist’s talks, and catalog information please contact:
Tel: + 1 267 303 7185
James Oliver Gallery
Gallery hours: Wed – Fri 5-8pm, Sat 12 -8 pm
Tel: +1 267 918 7432
DARRYL "CORNBREAD" McCRAY
Darryl McCray, known by his tagging name, “Cornbread,” is a graffiti artist from Philadelphia, credited with being the first modern graffiti artist. Darryl McCray was born in North Philadelphia in 1953 and raised in Brewerytown, a neighborhood of North Philadelphia. During the late 1960's, he and a group of friends started "tagging" Philadelphia, by writing their nicknames on walls across the city. The movement spread to New York and blossomed into the modern graffiti movement, which reached its peak in the U.S. in the 1980’s and then spread to Europe. Since his tagging days, McCray has developed a close relationship with The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. He is a public speaker and a youth advocate.
Through 40+ years of creating artwork on a grand, public scale, Zagar has helped shape Philadelphia into a thriving creative community. When he was 19 years old, Zagar discovered the folk art installations of Clarence Schmidt in Woodstock, New York. Influenced by Schmidt, Picasso, Jean Debuffet, Curt Schwitters, Antonio Gaudi, Simon Rodia and Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, he was inspired to include the concepts of untrained artists as manifestations of fine art.
My work is marked by events and is a mirror of the mind that is building and falling apart, having a logic but close to chaos, refusing to stay still for the camera, and giving one a sense of heaven and hell simultaneously.
It is an impossible place, but strangely you can visit it and smile at that which you knew existed somewhere. Now you know that place is in Philadelphia, and you knew it all along, didn’t you?
My black and white cutouts are an evolution from when I used stencils to make posters for my band, The Nite Lights. About ten years ago, as my technique improved, the stencils became too fragile to work with. I started to simply photocopy black paper cutouts and found that I was able to get much more coverage pasting and stapling these around town than I had with the stencils, all the while, retaining a fine art object.
The longer I have been doing uncommissioned public art the more I try to find architectural spaces to frame and add context to my work, ultimately, integrating it into the environment. In a gallery, however, one can to see the original cutouts from which the larger installations are made. Their intricacy and smaller scale often surprise people, giving them a new perspective on the public / private aspects of my work and emphasizing the blend of craft and concept that I attempt to achieve.
JESSIE HEMMONS, AKA ISHKNITS
Ishknits, or Jessie Hemmons, is a yarnbomber from Philadelphia, PA. Her work concentrates on facilitating a shift in the perception of street art, by using a typically feminine craft to initiate a dialogue on the relationship between gender and non-commissioned public art. Through her use of vibrant colors and a historically empathic medium, she encourages people to understand and utilize the ability they possess to be assertive as well as positive in their community. Her work exemplifies that the loudest public voice does not have to be the most hostile and threatening, but can be used to encourage and elevate.
Kid Hazo is a Philadelphia based street artist out to catch a few smirks and smiles by creating pieces that parody the heart of Philly culture and venues around the city. His lighthearted props and sculptures are interjected into the urban environment in attempts to brighten up someone's day and add a layer of comic relief on the streets.
And Photography by CONRAD BENNER, AKA STREETS DEPT
Fishtown-born photographer and creator of StreetsDept.com, a photo blog dedicated to highlighting local street art, graffiti and urban exploration.
If a city may be defined by its art, then Philadelphia is revolutionary with its artistic trailblazers who have set the tone with unleashed self-expression. These artists bond our communities with shared visceral moments – constantly shaping a culture that defies the trappings of being boxed into idioms that try to define creativity in terms of subversive elements of expression. These artists follow a history of groundbreakers whose actions resulted from a need to be heard.
These are the artists that give us reason to pocket our devices and look around us. They make long walks enlightening experiences. They have the need to connect with their city and share with their neighbors in a unique way that is all their own. They dedicate their time to connecting with us, whether it be through a powerful message, image, or a simple expression of beauty. Seeing their work around the city reminds us that it is our choice to express ourselves, and that we truly have the power to make a difference, to brighten up an area that needed some TLC, to break down the sometimes intimidating gallery and museum walls, to express a common voice to the community, to simply say, “I am feeling inspired. All viewers are welcome. Here it is!” without any reservations. Philadelphia holds such a rich history of countless people feeling driven to express their passions through uplifting visuals, being so energetic that it is sometimes so hard to hold back--having no other choice but to listen to the revolutionary ardor that sings from these historic streets. Through this exhibition, we aim to celebrate all of the people in Philadelphia who have been inspired and were driven to continue passing on the message of inspiration to others, while never ceasing to be inspired themselves. We have chosen to highlight some of the Philadelphia artists that have greatly affected our lives, but we also acknowledge that there is no way the passion that emanates from Philadelphia’s artists of all kinds could ever be contained in one room – a truth worthy of celebration in itself! Our hope is that you feel and see the beauty of this city as a member of its community, whether you are here for years or just an hour, and that this energy stays with you and continues to spill out into the streets for years to come.
We are so pleased to present this phenomenal roster of artists, whose individual passions represent a link back to the blossoming graffiti culture, a creative philosophy influencing work with more depth than the definition “outsider art” allows. We also present a photographer, whose work has helped document the landscape of events in Philadelphiaʼs burgeoning generational shift that is pushing us to stray away from using generic terms such as “street art” to define the diversity of artistic work. “I Am Here” is an exhibition of six individuals who collectively represent a commonality in all artists – a traversing of traditional conventions in pursuit of a name of their own.
Curator and Content Specialist, respectively, of “I Am Here”