This is not our house … Thank you.

Happy New Year!  I’ve been trying to write this entry for a good three months now.  I always get caught up in the organizational aspects of writing because deep down my dyslexia-triggered insecurity tells me if I don’t get it perfect, I’ll come off as dumb. Well, a lot of this is going to be me gooshing my personal feelings of gratitude, and might sound kinda dumb anyway. So, nothing to lose.  

It was this past year that I finally found some traction in the studio.  In May of 2023, I met artist/educator Jeremy Wakk while he was showing his work at an exhibition space called Noware Gallery. I LOVED the raw aesthetic of the space and inquired as to how I might show my work.  After some conversation with the gallery owners, Jeremy (who also curates for Noware) invited me to show my work.  “This Is Not My House, and I Don’t Know If I Can Catch Them” opened at Noware Gallery in late October during Fall Art Walk Lancaster.  In terms of meeting other artists/art-interested people in the community and also pushing my work forward, this opening was the singular most important event of the year. I met so many folks and had the absolute best conversations about art practice, art process, local art spaces, art collecting, coffee, and all things Lancaster-related. It was SOOOO much fun.   Beyond new connections, the support that I felt from family, friends outside Lanc, colleagues, former teachers, and institutions left my jaw on the floor.  Almost the entire side of my extended family living on the East Coast showed up to see the work and hang out during the Art Walk.  A good number of friends from York (some of whom I’d not seen since moving back to PA) made the trip across the river to see the work.  Friends who have moved to Lancaster from other places came out to see, talk, and support.  And wildly, one of my clients whom I used to train while living in Nyack, NY made the trip from Brooklyn to visit Lancaster and see the show.  I often say that I make work to digest the experiences and situations that I don’t have language for and that is honestly the principle reason.  But other people caring about those efforts REALLY make that work feel meaningful and make it much easier to continue. Thank you so much for coming to the exhibition. Catching up with you, meeting you, and talking with you was the highlight of my year.

Like every other milestone in my life, it took a tremendous amount of support to pull the exhibition together.  

Melanee. Thank you for being my art practice enabler since I began this wild pursuit in 2016. Thank you for managing our home during the late nights leading up to the show. Thank you for sometimes taking on the role of a single parent so that I could keep painting to meet the deadline. Thank you for managing Hudson on the weekends when I needed more time than I thought I did. Thank you for being flexible and so supportive when It was making your life more hectic. Thank you for being my partner.  I love you so much.
Mom, Dad, George, and Alison. Thank you for traveling and lending your open arms and your time when we needed to alleviate pressure.  You are so helpful to us.

Dave Kube. Thank you for being my sounding board as I unpacked my ideas, my studio visitor as those ideas started to take form and my installation/curation when I needed to present.  You have been a wonderful friend in a new city.  In the future, I hope I can be as helpful to you as you have been to me.

Jeremy Wakk.  Thank you for believing in me and my work.  There wasn’t much to show when I asked how I could show at Noware, but you gave me the benefit of the dought. Thank you for the studio visits and for making yourself available when I needed guidance along the way.  I look forward to more collaboration in the future!

Jon and Emma.  Thank you for opening such an incredible space.  I very literally walked into Jeremy’s show and started repeating to myself “This is the coolest exhibition space in Lancaster … I need to figure out how to show here.” I know you both have so much going on and I’m sure it would have been easy to just shut the bay door until “life slowed down.”  Noware is an absolute gem.  Thank you for allowing me to participate. 
Jacob, Jeremy, Juan, Katie, Matt, Paul. Thank you for letting me ramble incoherently about my unparsed concepts. Those conversations help me more than I can articulate.

This show ended up being a springboard to various other exhibition opportunities.  Since deinstalling in November, I have been able to show my work at David Lyall Home & Design (which has a gorgeous exhibit space and always hosts an incredible first Friday event for exhibiting artists), be part of a group show at The Pennsylvania College of Art & Design (curated by Ophelia Chambliss and others), and most recently, The Art Grind in Danville (run by Ashley Lopez/Brock Dent and has a great mission).

Again, “This Is Not My House, and I Don’t Know If I Can Catch Them” was quite a highlight for me.   Thank you for coming.  

Talk soon,


Stolen Goods - The Dillsburg Banner

An exhibition review for Stolen Goods was released by the Dillsburg Banner on January 13, 2022.  The review is part of the “Inside Art” section of the Dillsburg paper and was written by Joseph and Barrie Ann George.

Stolen Goods at Marketview Arts

For some, creating art is simply making something aesthetically attractive. However, some artists and curators view art as something more. They view art as a way to scrutinize contemporary history and to explore under-examined narratives in order to create a meaningful dialogue with the viewer.

The election of 2020 certainly polarized the nation. Competing notions of what constituted American history and who was to be included in that understanding “duked” it out. Topics such as immigration, equality, and inclusion created a heated environment that continued past the election into the events on January 6, 2021. “Stolen Goods,” the current exhibition on view at Marketview Arts in York, unabashedly tackles these issues with uncensored, thought-provoking art.

Opening on the anniversary of the Capitol Riots, this exhibition explores direct reactions to the events of that day but does not simply stop there. In discussing the impetus for the show, Matthew Clay-Robison, Director of the York College Galleries, looks at the language of the “Stop the Steal” movement, delving deeper into questions of who and what has been stolen and from whom, throughout American history. Who the country belongs to, who gets to protest, and who is included in the story of America all play into the compelling works that are inspired by these themes.

Directly addressing the events of a year ago, “January 6th” by Matthew Blackwell uses a series of oil paintings on eight panels, which depict various scenes, some of which were made famous by the media. Painted in the vein of Outsider art, the paint is bright and textural, imparting the sense of chaos and confusion of the day.

Tackling the same point in time is “We the People” by Jacob Cullers, an inkjet print on vinyl, with camo fabric, linen, deer hide, oil, and enamel paints. One large image of the Capitol Riots is the basis for this mixed media creation, as it shows people ramming into the building about to breach its doors. The added marks react to the image and the added fabrics create the visual symbols of the people at the Capitol in this piece is about the dangers of extreme nationalism. Splashes of color express the atmosphere of violence and danger.

What has been perceived as divisive messaging is used in “Complicit” by Kate Kretz, a sculpture created from an official MAGA hat and letters from it pieced together and appliquéd to the front, with embroidery. The piece is part of an ongoing series of work constructed entirely of MAGA hats that have been ripped apart, an action the artist described as “cathartic” as she manipulates the pieces into objects that function as corrective physical manifestations of the truth, as the artist views it.

Other hot-button political issues are addressed by several artists. “Retraction” by Susanne Slavick is an oil painting on a wood panel, of a segment of the southern border wall, which has a red carpet of welcome leading to it. Yet it appears to lead to certain peril, as once a potential migrant scales the wall, there is a descent into a ditch, dashing hopes of freedom.

“Incoming” by Andrew Ellis Johnson is an updated and ironic allegory of Manifest Destiny that blends historical and current references to the seizure of land and resources along with xenophobic and hypocritical attitudes toward migrants and disease. Created on an expansive sheet of paper with ink and distemper paint, the historic imagery seems to melt into current-day scenes; covered wagons drawn by an invisible horse, a frontier couple transforming into armed police, and a body taken away on a stretcher all share the artistic plane. The layers of detail in each scenario invite the viewer to consider the connections within the stories.

“The American Dream, Baby” by Dillon Samuelson is a mixed media construction illustrating a shadowy house, complete with a white picket fence, set atop a hill, comprised of darkened shapes-limbs, animals, people, and other “victims” upon whom the “American Dream” has been built. The sky glows an ominous red as the American flag flies in the yard, begging the question of at what price is the “dream.”

With an intriguing use of creative and engaging graphics and animation, a series of short videos by Paul Rucker tackle issues such as the U.S. prison system in “Proliferation”, the distribution of the slave population in the Southern states from the 1860 census in “Density”, the tragedy of lynching murders of African Americans in “Stories from the Trees Parts 1 and 2”, and how Confederate cotton sales were born on the back of black slaves in “When We Were Useful.” The arresting, mesmerizing shorts capture the attention of the viewer, forcing them to confront the powerful messages of the videos.

While Clay-Robison does not view the need of all art to be engaged in a socio-political commentary, he thinks that “Stolen Goods” is an opportunity for artists to challenge what political philosopher, Frantz Fanon called “the aesthetics of respect for the established order.” Clay-Robison states “we live in a visual culture; the production and consumption of images is driving culture and training us to see the world in certain ways. Art is a part of that whether it wants to be or not and we (as artists and curators) need to be aware of that power and what we produce.” “Stolen Goods” is a testament to the power of this imagery and a provocative show that both stimulates and challenges the viewer to digest the issues that confront America today.

“Stolen Goods” is on display at Marketview Arts, 37 W. Philadelphia Street, York through February 23.
The gallery is open:
Tuesday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.,
Wednesday: 12-7 p.m.,
Thursday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.,
Friday - Saturday: 10 a.m.-9p.m.

Joseph George holds a degree in history and art history from Dickinson College. He and his wife, Barrie Ann have spent over 30 years together traveling and visiting art galleries locally and throughout the world. They have been writing about the art scene for nine years both locally and internationally. Their tastes range from fine art to street art.

Original article from Dillsburg Banner

Stolen Goods

Today is January 6, 2022. 

Americans around my parents’ age remember exactly where they were, what they were doing, and who they were with when they learned Kennedy had been killed.  Americans from my generation (and older) have similar recollections about September 11.  Now, we all have January 6, 2021.  I was completely stressed out, beginning my final semester of graduate school. The first wave of the COVID pandemic had all but botched my thesis research and I was desperately trying to come up with a new concept for the thesis paper that I was supposed to be writing.  I didn’t have class on Wednesday and I expected a full eight hours of banging my head into the wall before heading home to Mel and our new infant.  A few other folks were wandering around the grad studio blocks, but it was mostly quiet, maybe quiet enough to make some progress, even?  There had been plenty of buzz about Trump supporters showing up at the Capitol to protest the certification of Biden’s win.  I was sure there would be a bit of drama, and hopefully, folks wouldn’t get hurt, but this was US Capitol building, what were they really going to do?  Around 2 PM, I started scrolling through Instagram stories to see if anything had gone down. Protestors had overrun the Capitol Police and were breaking into the Capitol of the United States.  

I spent the rest of the day staring at a live news feed and texting my relatives and friends in Washington.

Tonight, on the first anniversary of the insurrection, doors for the Stolen Goods exhibition will first open for public viewing.  This is my first project as a visiting curator at Marketview Arts. The show is comprised of artists invited to participate and others who were selected after answering an open call for works.  Matthew Clay-Robison and I have tried to present a grouping of works that not only reflect on the events of that day, but also on the attitudes, emotions, and narratives that built the foundation for such an event to take place.

The roster of exhibiting artists includes Guggenheim Fellows, visionaries of contemporary art, emerging artists, personal mentors, and friends.  The work includes a broad range of mediums: drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, digital works, recorder performances, and more.  I’m very excited for everyone to see it.

Stolen Goods runs until Wednesday, February 23, 2022.  There will be an exhibition reception on Friday, February 4, 2022.  

A special thank you to Matthew Clay-Robision, James OShea, and all the participating artists.

Exhibiting artists:
Matt Blackwell
Jacob Cullers
Deborah Dancy
Chawky Frenn
Gregory Eltringham
Josephine Hyde
Andrew Ellis Johnson
Juan Juarez
Kate Kretz
Thomas Nazario
Jefferson Pinder
Ivy Rodgers
Justin Ruby
Paul Rucker
Dread Scott
Susanne Slavick
Dillon Samuelson
Joseph Velasquez

Marketview Arts is located at
37 W. Philadelphia Street
York, PA 17401

Hours of operation:
Tuesday | 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Wednesday | 12–7 p.m.
Thursday | 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Friday–Saturday | 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Sunday–Monday | Closed


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