PLAYFUL Stephen Walling, Fernando Orellana, Phyllis Palmer & Joseph Kurhajec

Opening Reception: Saturday, August 23rd, 6-8pm

August 21, 2014 through September 21, 2014

Carrie Haddad Gallery is pleased to present “Playful,” an exhibit featuring new fresco secco art by Phyllis Palmer, Play-Doh constructions by new media artist Fernando Orellana, wooden wall sculpture by Stephen Walling and wooden “toys” by Joseph Kurhajec. The show will be on view August 21st through September 21st with a reception for the artists on Saturday, August 23rd from 6-8pm. All are welcome to attend.

Fernando Orellana will be exhibiting his series entitled Population which started in 2011. The project is a response to ongoing petroleum wars and enthrallment with the automobile. It involves the use of a high-tech aluminum “Extruder,” created by Orellana himself, to make 429,674 Play-Doh automobiles, the estimated number of vehicles that the Ford Motor Company produced in the year of Henry Ford’s death, 1947. Play-Doh is molded, pushed, and sliced by The Extruder. The grids of miniature automobiles are then encased in clear epoxy, preserving and protecting them from the elements like a fortified tomb. Since all cars need drivers, Orellana created Play-Doh drivers to escort the automobiles on their journey into the future. Indeed, these drivers need shelter and nourishment to sustain them during their travels, so Orellana created Play-Doh cows and Play-Doh houses. With this, Population was born.

By 2012, Orellana had branched out from his rectangular grids and was instead creating Play-Doh assemblages in mandala formations. Additional objects such as airplanes, telephones, bottles, and guitars began to accompany the drivers and their automobiles. By combining familiar objects and the centuries-old motif, traditionally used to symbolize wholeness in the universe, Orellana introduces a dialogue of the world’s interconnected existence. This series does not stray far from the artist’s conventional mode of production as he is known to use new and traditional media as a way of transmitting concepts that range from generative art to social or political commentary. The artist is currently an Associate Professor of Digital Art at Union College in Schenectady, NY. Orellana received his Masters in Fine Art from The Ohio State University and has exhibited extensively around the globe, including Espacio Fundación Telefónica in Buenos Aires, Argentina, The Tang Museum of Art, and The Biennial of Electronic Art in Perth, Australia.

Fresco-secco, a technique employed since antiquity, is humorously revisited with the new work of multi-media artist, Phyllis Palmer. In a style reminiscent of the still-visible frescos which adorned the houses of Pompeii, Palmer creates seemingly ancient scenes with a modern twist in unsuspecting moments of relaxation, recreation, or pleasure. The series was inspired by her travels visiting museums and archaeological sites between Naples and Sicily, where she became enlightened by the early Greek and Roman lighthearted philosophy towards sexuality. Upon returning to America, Palmer channeled the ancient culture’s liberal display of sensuality into her art to strip the topic of the seriousness it exudes in the modern day. Also done in good-humor is the execution of the work itself. Rather than strictly interpreting the human body three-dimensionally, Palmer simplifies and flattens the figure, therefore allowing the viewer to appreciate the hilarity of her images. Palmer is a long-time resident of Tivoli, NY and has recently shown at the Woodward Gallery in New York and the Amarillo Museum of Art’s juried National Biennial in Amarillo, TX.

Also exhibited are new painted wood constructions by Stephen Walling. His recent body of work features his beloved wall relief sculptures of painted wood blocks and scraps. His new compositions of beautifully patterned grids incorporate a cheerful use of color, form, and space. Walling’s constructions act like three-dimensional canvases as the individual pieces of wood unite to create various shadows, evoking an optical illusion. In effect, the eye is taken through a visual playground as perspective travels along the transitional depths and colors of each block. Stephen Walling graduated from Pratt Institute and later become an award winning Art Director at Conte Nast Publications. He has been showing with Carrie Haddad Gallery since 2006.

The fetishes and emotionalized works of artist Joseph Kurhajec share a raw directness as he yearns for a simpler, more primitive world. Born in Wisconsin and raised on a mink farm, Kurhajec has exhibited his sculpture in galleries and museums internationally since the 1960s, namely in Rome, Paris, New York City and Art Basel in Switzerland. Darkly wild and strongly religious in nature, his work is as much a reaction to human violence as it is a showcase for evocative materials such as monkey fur, reptile scales, hair, plastic, bones and nails. Some of his most recent works are hand carved cows, alligators and lizards set on wheels; these childhood “toys” present more of a shock factor than a cuddle buddy with their crooked teeth, long, black monkey hair and spiky feathers. Silvery painted wooden fish are cleverly wedged into imported sardine cans; these toys are all the more charming for their bizarre imperfections. Kurhajec ‘s endless sense of curiosity and unwavering energy pushes him to create daily. He lives between his home in Treadwell, NY where he established the Treadwell Museum of Fine Art, his bohemian apartment in Paris and Maine.

Fernando Orellana

Joseph Kurhajec

Phyllis Palmer (Painting)

Stephen Walling