Three new additions at Napoleon

Arts / Article

Napoleon is “Pleased to Meet You” in August with a show by its three newest members: Matt Ziemke, Alexis Nutini and Christina P. Day. The artists all have quite divergent processes, and yet the objects they create alternate in the gallery for a visually stimulating introduction to three fresh, new faces to the Napoleon community. Works in the show range from Ziemke’s multimedia conglomerations to altered found objects by Christina Day and stained wood patterns by Nutini.

Matt Ziemke, “Conglomerate No. 2.”

Upon entering the space, to the left of the doorway is a construction that seems partway between a bridge and a scaffold. The sculpture by Ziemke is a relief, hanging on the flat surface of the wall, but projecting outward like some type of mid-progress engineering project. Much of the material used in the piece entitled “Conglomerate No. 2” is Ziemke’s preferred medium of clay, but he has also begun experimenting with a variety of other materials as well. Reminiscent of the commonly assigned balsa wood bridge projects in middle school, many of the flattened clay creations are supported by shelf-like wooden lattices. The rest of the structure is somewhat lopsided and seems to teeter to the right. In the upper left is a balled up, holey piece of orange plastic, which appears like some type of caution tape or barrier, altering the viewer to its visual danger.

Christina P. Day

Christina P. Day, “Casement #1.”

Found objects are the starting point for Day, who takes retro gadgets and converts them into decorative art. For “Blue Brick 45” she takes a 45 rpm record player and covers its interior with a layer of tacky wallpaper. The blue flowers in the pattern match the outer shell of the record player’s case perfectly, as if they were meant for one another. In “Casement #1,” a Polaroid camera is reduced to form with a coat of white paint. The mechanisms of the device become unimportant in the face of its recognizable shell. Around its outside is a custom trim – usually intended for walls – which makes the camera all but completely camouflaged in a white room. What better for candid shots or Polaroid instant CCTV?

Alexis Nutini

Alexis Nutini, “Voladores.”

Anyone who has ever studied an oaken board knows that the intricacies of wood grain patterns are an often overlooked, but beautifully subtle background image that we see almost daily. Nutini takes this idea to the forefront by printing complex stain images onto oak panels. The grain of the wood immediately becomes a warped background, instantly complemented by the similar, but clearly separate prints. They are in many ways organic, but draw on linear hash marks and twirling appendages which break the consistency of the wood’s surface. In many ways they are the ideal contrast while simultaneously consisting of a very similar visual vocabulary.

The three newest artists: Day, Nutini and Ziemke are clearly welcome additions to the Napoleon family. Each of them brings a unique stylistic background to contribute, and “Pleased to Meet You” demonstrates their abilities both individually and as a group. The exhibit will be on display at Napoleon through August 31.

Napoleon is located at 319 N. 11th St. (2L on the second floor), Philadelphia; [email protected]napoleonnapoleon.com.