Greylock Arts Patterns of Play
Group Exhibition in Adams to Oct. 30
By: Charles Giuliano - Sep 20, 2010
Patterns of Play
Curated by Matt Belanger and Marianne R. Petit
Artists include: Ithai Benjamin and the Princes of Persuasion, Gabriel Barcia-Colombo, Keith Bona, John Seven and Jana Christy with Harry and Hugo Mitchell, Craig Kapp, Robyn Moore, Eun Jung (EJ) Park & Hyun Jung (June) Park, Michael Reese, and the Trees and Hills Comics Group
93 Summer Street Adams MA 01220
Exhibit Dates & Times:
September 17th – October 30th 2010
Admission is free and open to the public.
Open Saturdays 1 – 4 p.m. and by appointment.
Appointments can be made by phone or email.
Over the past several years the projects of the gallerists Matt Belanger and Marianne R. Petit, in their Adams based alternative space, Greylock Arts, have often combined whimsy, a fresh, youthful sensibility, and applications of new technology. They bring irony and humor to the often dauntingly serious field of art/ science/ technology.
They teach in New York, where they maintain an apartment, while weekending and summering in the Berkshires. The curators introduce a sustained resource of urban energy and sophistication into an otherwise active but familiar arts community. There is always something new and intriguing to be encountered in their storefront on Summer Street. It was once a thriving commercial district back in the day. They represent a paradigm of the creative economy as artists revive neighborhoods and communities that have stagnated since the mills shuts down decades ago.
Since Greylock Arts is a labor of love, and is only be open on Saturdays, their loyal supporters throng the opening celebrations. Typically, the gallery was packed with artists and neighbors on Friday night.
The special treat of this lively event was a performance of the puppet show the Princes of Persuasion. It is the inspiration of musician and tech artist, Ithai Benjamin, and his partner, Destiny Mazursky. Ithai, a former student of Petit, has been making dolls since he was a kid. He plays guitar and sings along with two saucy and naughty marionettes. They are a boy and girl. The voice of Mazursky animates the girl but she is concealed from us behind a screen. All of the lively movements of the puppets are pre programmed and computer generated. There are no strings attached.
The dense audience howled along with songs like “Cranberry Cologne” and the anthem “Prince of Persuasion.” This was definitely not a kids show. One of the songs revealed a fixation on the "assholes of animals." The audience was handed pieces of paper with one depicted in the center. With colored pencils that were passed around we were asked to create an animal around the orifice. For mine I drew a starfish. It was wickedly naughty fun. I am sure they delete that tune when performing for a young audience.
While the gallery is open only a few hours each week the store windows of the former clothing store offer drive by displays. It is an important aspect of their promotion and exhibition strategy.
Following the theme of Play, as we face the gallery, the left window which flanks the deep set entry featured cartoonish constructions by the Korean born twins Eun Jung (EJ) and Hyun (June) Park. Visitors can crawl into the window and interact with animating mechanical elements of the humantistic, humorous, sculptures. The other window displays stuffed animal dolls by Robyn Moore. They resemble but are not exactly creatures extracted from nature.
In the main gallery was a range of work including cartoons, books, and computer animations. As always the theme entailed interacting with the pieces.
By far the most intriguing were the video sculptures of Gabriel Barcia-Colombo. He has taken the ancient idea of a ship in a bottle and updated it to humans trapped like specimens. The most clever of these was a projection of a housewife in a blender. By pressing the blender’s buttons she is swirled about and pureed as it were. Like that old joke about a frog in a blender but without the blood and guts. How does he do that?
Yet again it was fun fun fun till Daddy takes the T Bird away.