OFF THE WALLS: From Junk to Art (April 22-May 27)

Jennifer Zackin's "Safeguard"

A Recycled/Repurposed Materials Exhibit at GCCA

Guest curator, Willie Cole

Curated by Sculptor Willie Cole

On April 22nd, Greene County Council on the Arts launches OFF THE WALLS: From Junk to Art a new group exhibition dedicated to recycled and repurposed materials and guest curated by Willie Cole.

On view through May 27, 2017, OFF THE WALLS features two and three-dimensional artwork by twenty-seven artists presented inside the GCCA Catskill Gallery and other public spaces along Main Street in Catskill, including Park For Paws dog park, MainSpace, Magpie Bookshop, HiLo Catskill, the Historic Catskill Point and Dutchman’s Landing. Guest curator Willie Cole, an internationally renowned sculptor who works exclusively with recycled materials and has extensive experience with large installations, chose the selection of works.

“If it triggered a gut response at first glance, then (the piece) had a good chance,” Cole explains. “If it was original beyond cliché, and conceptual as well as contextual, then inclusion was guaranteed.”

OFF THE WALLS is sure to surprise viewers with the inventive uses—and abundance—of materials used in the artwork. Edwin Falk’s 1200-pound sculpture “Phil Harmonic” is made of truck bearings, old truck hood pieces, grain planters, an upright piano string assembly, manure spreader, snow-blower chute, tractor gas tank, and other types of rusted, natural oxidized iron. Daniel Lanzilotta’s “T-FREQUENCY” is made of plastic buckets, umbrella parts, plastic bottles, and broom bristles, among other materials. Jennifer Zackin’s “Safe Guard” is comprised of an assortment of plastic game pieces on a salvaged street light cover; while Portia Munson’s “Lawn” is made up of thousands of recycled green plastic objects.

Jennifer Zackin’s “Safeguard”

By contrast, some artists’ pieces are comprised of only one material but used in a repetitious manner, like Ruby Silvious’ “Painted Pistachio Shells,” Barbara Lubliner’s “Wall Rug” made of plastic dry cleaner bags, Harlan Mack’s “Jasmine” made of upcycled bicycle parts, Linda Stillman’s “Buongiorno” made of coffee filters, and Amy Silberkleit’s “Waterfall” made of used cloth scraps and thread.

Painted Pistachio Shells by Ruby Silvious

An upstate influence can be found in the many artists who work with natural materials like found wood, including Alison Slon, Guy Mera, Fay Wood, Eric Banks, John Cooley, and Harry Matthews. Others transform the ordinary, everyday object into something profound, including Erika M. Klein’s “Uneasy Dreams” which is painted on old book pages, Carole Kunstadt’s “Interlude No. 9” made of linen thread and music manuscript, Franc Palaia’s “When Will We Learn” made of a painted metal car hood, George Spencer’s “Klu Kluk Klan” series made with cereal boxes, and Jerry Gant’s “Musical Melanin” installation made of vinyl records.

“Uneasy Dreams” by Erika M. Klein

The tone of artwork also varies, ranging from the whimsical in Howard Jones’ brush series, Shelley Davis’ assemblages, Glenn Bauer’s “Poco-cabra,” and Anthony Murray’s sculpture “yes, Yes, YES!”, to feminist mythology in Hope Konecny’s “Hope Totem”, and Stepan Kubicek’s moving “Ashes to Rust” series, a large-scale sculpture installation designed to build awareness of genocide and the Holocaust through art. “Ashes to Rust” will be presented at the Historic Catskill Point, along with Edwin Falk’s “Phil Harmonic.”

“Ashes to Rust” by Stepan Kubicek

Rounding out the exhibition is international sculptor Vahap Avsar’s “Black Album Installation” at MainSpace (404-406 Main Street in Catskill). The Black Album Installation is a wall piece made out of tar paintings, using approximately sixteen doors to affix the individual paintings. Mr. Avsar will be bringing his personal studio to 404-406 Main Street from April 17 to April 27 adding a performative aspect to his creation, which will resemble a very large landscape painting when completed.

Vahap Avsar’s “Black Album Installation”

In conjunction with the opening of Off the Walls, GCCA will host several special events, including a live interview with guest curator Willie Cole on Saturday, April 22, 4:00 pm at HiLo Catskill moderated by Robert Tomlinson. The Willie Cole interview is free to public, offering a unique listening opportunity. After the interview, attendees will head over to the opening reception for Off the Walls from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at GCCA’s gallery at 398 Main Street, and MainSpace at 404-406 Main Street in Catskill. Attendees will receive a map listing all the locations in Catskill where artwork is located.

A map listing all the locations in Catskill where artwork is located is available at the GCCA Catskill Gallery. Located at 398 Main Street in Catskill, NY, the GCCA Catskill gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday noon to 5 p.m. Please visit for more information on this and upcoming exhibits, artist opportunities as well as GCCA’s other important programs.

The Full List of Events for OFF THE WALLS:

Saturday, April 22, 4 p.m.

Sculptor, Willie Cole

Live interview with guest curator Willie Cole at HiLo (365 Main Street, Catskill) moderated by sculptor Robert Tomlinson and recorded for broadcast on Mr. Tomlinson’s monthly radio show “Purple House” on Catskill’s creative community radio station WGXC (90.7 FM).

Saturday, April 22, 5 to 7 p.m.

OFF THE WALLS opening reception at GCCA’s gallery (398 Main Street) and MainSpace (404-406 Main Street). Attendees will receive a map listing all the locations in Catskill where artwork is located.

Monday, April 17 to Thursday April 27

Vahap Avsar’s “Black Album Installation” at MainSpace (404-406 Main Street in Catskill). International sculptor Vahap Avsar will build a wall piece (the “Black Album Installation”) out of tar paintings that he has been making for a number of years. Using approximately sixteen hollow doors to affix the individual paintings, the entire piece will resemble a very large landscape painting. Mr. Avsar will be bringing his personal studio to 404-406 Main Street from April 17 to April 27, adding a performative aspect to his creation of the Black Album Installation.

Friday, May 5 at 7 p.m.

Ken Butler (photo credit Jesse Winter)

Benefit Concert & Dance Party for GCCA & WGXC (90.7 FM)  Musical performances by Ken Butler, Peter Head, and special guests at HiLo Catskill, followed by Cinco de Mayo dance party (DJ’d by Neva Wartell), live broadcast from 7-9:30pm on WGXC (90.7FM).  Tickets: $10 ($5 after 9:30 pm for dance party only)

Ken Butler is an internationally recognized artist, musician, and innovator of experimental musical instruments created from diverse materials including tools, sports equipment, and household objects. Tickets: $10 ($5 after 9:30 p.m.)

Thursday, May 22, 1-3 p.m.

Guided critique of OFF THE WALLS for Catskill High School students, followed by a recycled materials art project at the Catskill Community Center (rain date of May 23).

Wednesday, May 24 at 7 p.m.

Screening of critically acclaimed documentary MARWENCOL, preceded by musical performance by Jen DuBois (of Dust Bowl Faeries) at Drive-In 32 in Greenville, NY (screening begins at dark). Tickets: $10

MARWENCOL is a feature documentary about the fantasy world of Mark Hogancamp. After being beaten into a brain-damaging coma by five men outside a bar, Mark builds a 1/6th scale World War II-era town in his backyard. Mark populates the town he dubs “Marwencol” with dolls representing his friends and family and creates life-like photographs detailing the town’s many relationships and dramas. Playing in the town and photographing the action helps Mark to recover his hand-eye coordination and deal with the psychic wounds of the attack. When Mark and his photographs are discovered, a prestigious New York gallery sets up an art show. Suddenly Mark’s homemade therapy is deemed “art”, forcing him to choose between the safety of his fantasy life in Marwencol and the real world that he’s avoided since the attack.

Jen DuBois (photo credit Noah Fowler)

Jen DuBois is a singer/songwriter and musician who was raised in Greene County, and lived and studied flamenco guitar in Spain. For the past two years, she has been the guitarist for the Dust Bowl Faeries, and writing and performing original compositions as a solo artist.

For more information on these events, the GCCA Visual Arts Program, and the OFF THE WALLS exhibit please visit

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