Tuesday, June 16

Sunday in the Dark with....John and Carolyn

Just North of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge lies a compound of buildings I've passed countless times, unaware of the history and possibilities of what was hidden within the unassuming facades. Welcome to Hidden City
There's a certain synchronicity that ebbs and flows in my life and my work. I seem to see exactly what I need to see, or find the exact book I need, or speak to the exact person I need right at the moment I need them in order to continue the flow of my thought processes and inspiration. I felt it the moment I entered Disston Saw works to see the work of John Phillips and Carolyn Healy. John had created a video montage of blueprints and maps and mechanical drawings projected over a screen of blueprints. The images and ideas fed directly into my brainstorm for what to do with my Woodford project (see previous post).
The space was dimly illuminated shrouding all in a certain mystery of sound and flickering light from John's video projections. The photo above shows Carolyn's series of rollers mounting upwards toward the ceiling and draped in silver silk. It caught the light, shimmered, and undulated like mercury. Some elements were harder to capture. The image above consisted of plexiglass box forms arranged under a series of hanging screens made of woven metal lattice onto which was cast a constantly shifting projection of blue- documents? The light made the entire construction feel ephemeral despite it's weighty materials. This was the piece in which it was most difficult to decipher where one artist's ideas stopped and the other's began.
These rusty boxes and saw blades seen above were stacked and arranged like a metal forest, or perhaps a futuristic yet abandoned city. A ziggurat. They shifted in the dimness, causing trepidation when trying to navigate the space.
I am fascinated by how an artist can take seemingly ordinary materials and spaces and make them extraordinary. The two artists were permitted to sort through the "archives" of the company, and found scads of original drawings and sample forms and source material. Their exploration ranges from formal arrangements of the detritus of years to historical references of the building and neighborhood to an echoing of sound and action and form of ongoing processes that occur onsite. John Phillips and Carolyn Healy honored the workers of this place both past and present by showing us the beauty of the materials they work with, and they helped us see the mystery of the rituals of their work and craftmanship.
Most of the Hidden City sites are open to the public on the weekends through June. Get out there before you miss your chance!

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