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Raw to Refined: A New Art Exhibition Puts Unconventional Materials on Display at Drexel

Margery Amdur's most recent work has focused on creating sculpture with cosmetic sponges

January 07, 2014

“Raw to Refined: String, Tape, Sponges and Vinyl,” a new exhibition of artwork created with unconventional materials, will open at Drexel University’s Leonard Pearlstein Gallery (3401 Filbert St.) on Tuesday, Jan. 14 and run through Friday, March 21. The gallery is free and open to the public Tuesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The exhibition, which is hosted by Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design in collaboration with Philadelphia’s Pentimenti Gallery, features abstract wall pieces constructed of wood and vinyl, a mural of translucent packing tape, textured wall hangings created from sponges, an installation of laced red twine and other works from artists Margery Amdur, Mark Khaisman, Derrick Velasquez and Nami Yamamoto.

“Raw to Refined” will include a series of free and open-to-the-public events. The public is invited to watch Khaisman create a 40-foot wall mural using packing tape during a special pre-opening installation event on Saturday, Jan. 11 – Monday, Jan.13 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Several of the artists also will be available for press interviews at this time.

An opening reception will take place at the URBN Annex (3401 Filbert St.) on Thursday, Jan. 16 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will include a gallery walkthrough with the artists and Christine Pfister, co-owner and director of Pentimenti, from 4 – 5 p.m.

Derrick Velasquez’s vibrant sculptural forms utilize gravity and industrially manufactured materialsAt 5 p.m., guests can preview a new dance performance specifically created for the exhibition by Drexel dance professor Leah Stein. Stein will perform the full version of the piece on Saturday, March 1, utilizing the ExCITe Center’s Magnetic Resonator Piano.

Additional events planned include: a workshop on the use of tape with Khaisman and Nicole Koltick, an assistant professor in the Department of Architecture & Interiors, on Feb. 12; ongoing workshops every Wednesday with Amdur to contribute to her evolving cosmetic sponge installation; and a workshop on Filet lace-making with Yamamoto on March 5 (refreshments provided, please email to sign up.)

Margery Amdur is a process-based artist whose materials and fabrication process are as much a part of the work as the finished pieces. Most recently she has focused on creating sculpture with cosmetic sponges. Often these pieces are built in collaboration with friends and students, further emphasizing the communal process mostly identified in craft works. Amdur received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie-Mellon University and her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Amdur’s work has been featured in more than 50 exhibitions, including those in Turkey, Hungary and England. She has curated and organized two national exhibitions. Amdur is the recipient of more than a dozen awards and grants. She has been reviewed in national and international publications, including Sculpture Magazine, New American Paintings, Seams to be Constructed and New Art Examiner.

Mark Khaisman’s works are pictorial illusions formed by light and shadow using translucent packing tape, clear acrylic panels and lightMark Khaisman’s works are pictorial illusions formed by light and shadow. His medium consists of three elements: translucent packing tape, clear acrylic panels and light. By layering and bunching opaque tape, he uses light to break through and create transparencies highlighted by color, shading and texture. Born in Kiev, Khaisman studied art and architecture at the Moscow Architectural Institute in Moscow. He has been the recipient of many awards, and his works are found in the collections of Brandywine Trust Collection, Philadelphia; British Airline Collection, London; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Del.; NBC Collection, New York; Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany; and West Collection, Philadelphia.

Derrick Velasquez’s work investigates process by channeling the forces of gravity and tension between materials like plywood, two-by-fours, Masonite, marine vinyl, acrylic, hardwoods and the human body. He constructs a language of structure that plays with traditional concepts of physical and psychological interactions with industrially manufactured materials. Velasquez received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his Master of Fine Arts degree from The Ohio State University. Velasquez’s work is in the collection of the Metropolitan State University of Denver and in private collections in Denver, Philadelphia, New York, Miami and more. He is represented by Pentimenti. 

Nami Yamamoto translates her surroundings into an aesthetic experience which helps her to better understand her worldNami Yamamoto’s artistic process is governed chiefly by an empirical investigation of her surroundings, which, when translated into an aesthetic experience, helps her to better understand this world. Merging science and poetry, her work begins with a survey of the environment, collecting interesting material of natural and manmade ephemera or noticing some natural phenomenon. Yamamoto received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Maryland Institute, College of Art in 2001. She received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts in Japan.

About the Pentimenti Gallery
The Pentimenti Gallery works directly with domestic and international artists and institutions in developing content-driven contemporary art exhibits that challenge traditional aesthetics. The gallery’s exhibitions have been reviewed in major magazines and newspapers, such as Art in America, the Art Economist, the Huffington Post, TimeOut New York, USA Today and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Media Contact

Alex McKechnie