John Silvis: Crashcourse III

Date Sunday, February 12
through Sunday, March 11, 2012
Location Olson Gallery

Event Description

About the Show

With his third installment of Crashcourse at the Bethel University Olson Gallery in St. Paul, Minn., Silvis continues to explore crashed car imagery in art as existential metaphor. Referencing Andy Warhol's crash photo silk-screens and John Chamberlain's large twisted car metal sculptures, Crashcourse III includes stitched cars on felt that are presented on custom designed black and red car wallpaper, life size assemblage sculpture with felt, photography, and drawing, and a series of discarded car parts on pedestals.

The "Crash Stitches" are hand embroidered by Silvis using images of crashed cars from websites and online blogs. Embroidery and wallpaper that traditionally embody warm and nostalgic connotations become usurped by the more aggressive and potentially threatening images of demise. The black and red thread on gray felt nonetheless engages the viewer with its tactile sensuousness.

More recent experiments with disparate materials led to maquettes for the "Crash Assemblages", which are made of stock mural photographs, designer tape, industrial felt, and Plexiglas car silhouettes, combined on a life size MDF board structure. The two shapes skeletal MDF board shapes are in the form of a top weighted cross and two perpendicular triangles joined at the center.

The third component "Crash Objects" introduces a physical yet altered remnant of the automobile to the show. Silvis spray paints on the surfaces of the otherwise dirty and mundane car replacement parts with bright, warm colors and the individual car parts form contrived relationships completely foreign to their original purpose. Although completely futile in function, their presence communicates a bizarre, life-like energy.

About the Artist

John Silvis is a Brooklyn-based artist working with the mediums of photography, sculpture, and performance. In addition to showing internationally, Silvis is the director of the New York Center for Art and Media Studies, a program of Bethel University, and curates exhibitions. Educated in photography, his work has become increasingly cross-disciplinary and evolved from more traditional portraiture to examining the automobile as a cultural signifier in a variety of mediums. Silvis’ one-person shows have presented at the Essl Collection (Vienna), Galleria Fox (Italy), Pole Position (Brooklyn) and Galerie Kollaborativ (Berlin).

Show Events

John Silvis Artist Talk and Closing Reception
March 1
6 p.m.
Eastlund Room, CLC Building, 2nd Floor

Reception following the talk


Michelle Westmark
Gallery Director and Assistant Professor of Art