Everything Rebecca Kelly creates exudes a wonderful sense of whimsy and pathos (at left, her mixed media work, “Sad Clown”). This multitalented woman is a storyteller, teacher, artist, and now curator.
She has put together transFORMation: Art Made from Recycled and Reused Materials, at Bucks County Community College.
Americans throw away more than 200 million tons of garbage each year. Yet tossed-aside materials like broken toys, aluminum cans, milk cartons, plastic bags, wood scraps and cake boxes can find new life through an artist’s creativity.
Such artful adaptations from cast-off trash transformed into art can be seen at the Hicks Art Center Gallery through Oct.17. A companion show is featured in Artmobile, the college’s traveling art museum, which will tour Bucks County schools and public sites through June 2010.
This exhibition features the work of 42 artists from the Mid-Atlantic States, including Bobby Hansson, Ellen Sall, Leo Sewell, Carol Cole, and many of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers – artists who scour trash bins for materials to transform into art. Wired and welded assemblages, sculptures made from olive oil cans, dolls made of old tools, books made from cake mix boxes, wall hangings made of junkyard scraps, as well as masks, musical instruments, lamps and furniture made of found wood and other objects are on display.
Transforming found objects into art is nothing new, according to Fran Orlando, director of exhibitions and Artmobile at the college. “People have always worked with whatever scraps they had available, whether it was scraps of fabric for quiltmaking, or soldiers on the battlefield, carving art out of shrapnel.”
There will be a public reception Sept. 17, 5 to 7 p.m. Guest curator Rebecca Kelly will speak at 6 p.m.
Artmobile will be adjacent to Hicks Art Center and be open to the public during the Sept. 17 reception and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 22, 23 and 24.
In conjunction with transFORMation and in collaboration with the Bucks County Intermediate Unit, a Recycled Books Workshop with artist Mark Wangberg will take place in Hicks Art Center Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Participants may earn five Act 48 hours, the state-required professional development hours for teachers.
The college is located at 275 Swamp Road, Newtown, Pa. Gallery hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Sept. 19, and Mon., Fri., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Tues.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sat., 9 a.m.-noon. 215-968-8425; www.bucks.edu/gallery ; www.bucks.edu/artmobile.