Local artists have reclaimed and repurposed found objects from paint swatches to bean bag chairs to create the works now on display in Mercyhurst University’s Cummings Gallery. “Reused, Reclaimed & Repurposed,” curated by Professor Dan Burke, features works by John Bavaro, Ron Bayuzick, Amara Geffen, Brian Pardini, Suzanne Proulx, Fran Schanz, Deborah Sementelli, and Jesse & Ricardo. The exhibit runs through Jan. 5.
Proulx will describe her work in a gallery talk on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m. in Zurn Hall 114, and a reception for the artists will follow in the gallery from 7 to 9 p.m.
The gallery will be open weekdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and weekends 2-5 p.m. through Dec. 13. It will be open by appointment only during Mercyhurst’s Christmas break, Dec. 14-Jan. 5. Call 814-824-2092 or e-mail gallery director Heather Dana at email@example.com to schedule an appointment.
John Bavaro earned a Master of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Cincinnati and is an associate professor of art at Edinboro University where he teaches drawing and painting and previously directed Bruce Gallery. His iPad and iPhone works have been included in national and international exhibitions and he is the founder of the International Association of Mobile Digital Artists.
Bavaro exhibits “Bluegill,” created from colored paint swatches he and his daughter collected over time while visiting home improvement stores. He translated one of his bluegill paintings to pixel form in Photoshop and then recreated it as a 20’ by 10’ mosaic.
Ronald Bayuzick graduated from Edinboro University and earned a Master of Fine Arts from Kent State. He worked for 30 years as an art teacher at Stow High School in Ohio. His works have been widely exhibited, including large sculptures in Erie’s Bayfront Convention Center and on the campus of Edinboro University.
His mixed media works incorporate found metal, found objects, steel, paint and old wheels to create abstract forms.
Amara Geffen is an artist and community organizer who also teaches art at Allegheny College. Her studio practice encompasses community and/or environmentally focused public art, as well as art works that utilize found and repurposed objects that explore personal narratives and evoke a potentially romantic view of life, memory and time.
She also directs the Art & Environment Initiative in Meadville, through which community partners and Allegheny students engage in projects emphasizing reuse, repurposing, revitalization and placemaking, including Meadville’s Urban Art Trail. She studied art at California College of Arts & Crafts, the University of Cincinnati (BFA) and Indiana University, Bloomington (MFA).
Brian Pardini graduated from the University of Notre Dame and attended Mercyhurst University. He went on to teach social studies at the secondary level and was a self-employed builder/renovator for 20 years. He now focuses his time and energy on making art in his studio in Fairview.
He creates his art from driftwood found throughout the year. “I collect hundreds of pieces of driftwood every year. Among them are a large number that suggest figures in motion,” he says. “Whether trees grow in ways that lend themselves to animated movement or my eye is caught by those particular shapes, I’m not sure. But I am certainly amazed by what the earth creates and the lake soaks, tumbles, smooths and washes ashore.”
Suzanne Proulx earned her BFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1990 and her MFA from Syracuse University in 1996 in printmaking. After graduate school, she turned her focus primarily to drawing and sculpture.
She has exhibited nationally and currently teaches drawing and design at Edinboro University. She repurposes brassieres in her pieces for Cummings Gallery.
Francis T. Schanz has been involved in the local art scene all his life. He graduated from Mercyhurst University and earned a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Edinboro University. He has taught adult and children’s classes at the Erie Art Museum, the Martin Luther King Center and Edinboro University, serves as executive chairman of the Northwest Pennsylvania Artist Association (NPAA), and owns and operates Schanz Gallery at 1505 State St.
Schanz uses new and old material and found objects and combines them to take on new life. He’s showing "Earthling," which incorporates bean bag chairs, children's plastic outdoor toys, tubes and wire to create a brand new landscape.
Deborah Sementelli teaches classes at the Neighborhood Art House, the Erie Art Museum, Lifeworks and Teaching Artist residencies through Arts Erie’s Arts in Education program. Sementelli works in a number of different media including drawing, fiber and watercolor. Since a young age, she has been intrigued by the fine detailing and quirks of couture and vintage clothing. “I am most inspired by the human form and how the body has been decorated throughout history,” she said.
Sementelli’s “Mail Order Bride” repurposes about two dozen Priority Mail envelopes to create an 1880s period bustle ensemble. The dress was made and is presented on Sementelli's mother's adjustable dress form. “The Triple G Onion Setee” is an enormous pillow constructed from and stuffed with onion bags.
Jesse & Ricardo have evolved as public art personages, the iconic art in tandem.
“Pictured Art and Architecture: La Poetique de L’espace (The Poetics of Space)” reflects the interior of their home at 255 West Front St. The deconstructed and redesigned art and architectural piece, 2000 square feet of repurposed interpretations they describe as a “wunderkammer,” is too large to transport to the gallery, so they invited J. John Theide to document the space in photos.
Theide graduated from Mercyhurst last year with a degree in graphic design and a minor in photography.
PHOTO: 36 Weeks: On Nature, Dreams & Self by Amara Geffen