Material Abuse, is an exhibition which deals with the use of non-traditional materials and the non-traditional application of conventional art-making materials. The diversity of artwork, the ingenuity of presentation and the adventurous spirit of the artists touches on the richness of a subject that merits more space and more time to investigate fully. But within the confines of a summer group show, the nineteen artists presented in Material Abuse reward the viewer with a snapshot view of some of the highly original means of art-making evident in contemporary art today.
One could group the artworks presented in categories such as; assemblage, reductive processes, the distress or abuse of conventional materials, the use of unconventional materials—but these works reject categorization. Traditional genres of art-making are compromised, altered and contemporized. New production techniques are invented. Art making becomes an act of defiance and alchemy. Non-traditional materials, sometimes of questionable value, including concrete, map tacks, medicine bottles, antique fabrics, spools of thread, spoons, discarded clothes, fur, light bulb filaments, paper money and Styrofoam packing materials, to name a few, are meticulously transformation. Paper is cut and subjected to chemical spills. Glass is leaned, layered, painted and abraded. Objects are stacked, pried, inverted, soldered, bound, embroidered, pierced and flocked. The end results surpass both physically and conceptually, the sum of the parts. What, in fact, is the mundane is elevated and the familiar transformed.