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August 30, 2009

A "crisp, cartoony spectacle of creation, religion, pop stars, profanity, and undefiled nature unfolded' is how The Philadelphia Inquirer describes Semiopticon, an exhibit presented by Thomas Buildmore and Morgan Thomas of Overkill Studios now on display in the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery. Not unlike street art or graffiti, the black and white installation, painted directly on the gallery walls, uses semiotic symbols recognized throughout historic and contemporary art to reflect on the innate drive in human nature to communicate through decoration. Buildmore and Thomas purposely reduced the installation to simple black and white so visitors can closely examine the significance, style, and beauty of each design and iconography. Semiopticon received a rave review from, and will be on display through September 11th.

Much like any painting installation, the ephemeral nature of the paintings, whether in a gallery or on the street, transcends the gallery into a worshipped space that will invoke a sense of loss at its removal. By treating the space as hallowed ground, even through the installation process, Buildmore and Thomas seek to challenge their viewers to see the gallery as a contemporary sacred and spiritually invigorating place.