“This really is an amazing space,” said Amy Lipton, a NYC based curator who attended the opening of Philagrafika Projects Due North exhibition.
She continued, “There aren’t spaces like this in New York, there can’t be.”
The space she was referring to is the Crane Building in Old Kensington. Constructed in 1905 of concrete and brick, the structure initially served as a warehouse. It was later converted to a processing plant for frozen seafood. It was during this incarnation that a mammoth concrete block freezer was added to the first floor. The freezer is now the Icebox presentation space. The term “literally is regularly abused nowadays but in this instance, the Icebox was literally an ice box.
Before you make it back to the Icebox, you pass through several brick and concrete galleries. One of which is currently occupied by the photographer John Woodin. His installation entitled Un-Natural Landscapes consists of images of plant nursery’s, greenhouses, and other highly regimented environments. His exhibition runs through March 8.
Many of the contributing artists were at the Opening on January 9. Philadelphia painter and photographer Diane Burko was there despite being temporarily confined to a wheel chair.
“I’d spent most of last year being bi-polar,” explained Diane, pointing up and then down, “I was on an expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula for almost a month and on another expedition with 26 other artists around Svalbard this fall. I was climbing on top of glaciers near Ny-Alesund, wearing crampons and navigating between deep crevasses with nothing going wrong – nothing! Then this December 9 while hiking in the Mojave desert exploring the Pinnacles…. I somehow slipped on the sand, flipped up in the air and landed in such a way as to break my tibia and fibula in three places… I have two plates and 10 screws in my foot.”
“You don’t need to apologize for laughing,” said Diane, “I was laughing too. The situation was completely absurd.”
Local filmmaker David Scott Kessler had a movie he had shot in Iceland playing on one of the large bare walls of the Icebox. In the background someone asked rhetorically what it was like to have his movie shown in IMAX.
“I made ’em big so you could see ’em,” said David.
David is currently finishing up a film about New Jersey’s Pine Barrens. The first area containing Due North is a conventional gallery space that is dominated by giant topographic maps depicting what the coasts of Iceland and the Mid Atlantic might look like after the Arctic and Antarctic icecaps melt. The maps are by Icelandic artist Rúrí and are part of her ongoing project entitled Future Cartography. All of the pieces in the show draw inspiration from the idea of “The North” and there are lots of blues, blacks, and whites. Three of the prints that stand out are by Marianne Dages. They feel uncannily Egyptian. On a pedestal in one corner is Shoplifter’s 3d printed blood vessel that she created at NextFab. The piece has since sprouted synthetic hair. The completed work is called Raw Nerves II.
Besides the films showing in the Icebox presentation space there is a rocky looking sculptural piece composed of screen printed, hand made paper.
Two of Burko’s photographs are hung on the back wall.
“I chose those pictures because I thought they look more like paintings than photographs,” said Burko.
Hanging above everything is a giant fur ball made of synthetic hair. The Dr. Seusian piece is of course by Shoplifter and entitled Sun.
Back in the corner sits Kolbeinn Hugi’s synthesizer. Unfortunately something was amiss and instead of playing his videos the device projected a Windows desktop most of the night.
Overall the show is very evocative and moody but certainly not dreary. While Philagrafika deals mostly with printed media, Due North expands the concept to encompass film and photographic prints as well as 3d printed pieces and everything in between.
The show runs until January 26.