The motif that recurs in the Archive Space at Crane Arts is a product of Gregory Labold–or perhaps just as accurately, the product of a humble little mushroom. A radial pattern of lines emerges from the center point of a circular shape, which is subsequently repeated countless times in the small space on the walls, wooden panels, articles of clothing, and just about everywhere else.
Originally, this round shape was an image of the bottom of a mushroom cap that Labold discovered in his childhood backyard. He found the idea of each one of these fruiting bodies producing millions of spores for new mushrooms to be spiritually inspiring. Since then, it has become an artistic message and somewhat obsessive printing venture that Labold throws like confetti at shows, secretly places between the pages of books, or discreetly slips into pockets or corners of rooms wherever he goes.
In the alcove made radiantly colorful by the explosion of fungal reproductions, we find a table that spills out onto the floor with paper versions of the 'spores' that visitors may cut themselves to distribute or keep as they please. It is an experiment in duplication and proliferation as much as it is a display of printmaking and design.
Entitled “Spore Spirits: A Silkscreen Installation,” this is just one of a few similar shows for Labold in Philadelphia, his prints also making recent appearances at The Last Drop Coffeehouse and Rocket Cat Café. Through this language of biological tenacity, personal culture-making, and spreading the positive energy and joy that he finds in his symbol of choice, Labold hopes to encourage others to make a meaningful mark on the world and be the best people they can be.
Three mannequins also occupy the installation and represent the Artist, the Businessman, and Lady Temperance. Adorned in colorful garments, the Artist stands for the disorder, beauty and struggle of individuality while the black-and-white suit of the Businessman embodies order and industry. Labold sees the tension between the two, but also a balance, as he attempts to live between these two worlds – a challenge any artist would be familiar with. Lady Temperance stands between these opposing views as a mediator and voice of reason amidst the philosophical turmoil; neither can really exist without the other.
By recognizing this duality, and aside from spreading his message by way of covert distribution, Labold has also harnessed his interest in fashion and garments to produce a line of clothing, which he sells to keep himself and the project going. In the course of everyday life, these patterns and colors are sure to stand out in a crowd, but Labold is quick to point out that if you wear them to one of his shows, you'll blend in nicely! Although Gregory Labold's spore-spreading is sure to continue, the show at Crane will only be on display through January 5.