By Tammy Scileppi
Metamorphosis elevates the mundane at “Contemporary Reuse” – a dynamic group art show now on view at MFTA Gallery in Long Island City.
In his amazing work, renowned Brooklyn-born visual artist and cinematographer/director Louie Schwartzberg focuses on the intriguing connections between humans and the wonders of nature, through his breathtaking films and documentaries.
Having been recognized as a pioneer in high-end time-lapse cinematography — and the only cinematographer on the planet who has been shooting time-lapse film 24 hours a day, seven days a week, continuously for over 30 years — he undoubtedly knows a thing or two about the beauty of transformation.
Schwartzberg was once quoted as saying, “Metamorphosis has always been the greatest symbol of change for poets and artists. Imagine that you could be a caterpillar one moment and a butterfly the next.”
That concept is at the core of a remarkable collection of artistic creations, showcased in a must-see group exhibition that runs through Dec. 4.
Popular Long Island City reuse center, Materials for the Arts, seems like a perfect location for this unique show, which celebrates the creative recycling of common, everyday materials.
The organization collects and redistributes (free of charge) a ginormous assortment of surplus materials to nonprofits and New York City public schools.
“The MFTA Gallery serves everyone, from the students visiting on field trips to tourist looking to catch some great artwork during their stay in town,” said Kwame Belle, a spokesman for the MFTA. “A major takeaway for ‘Contemporary Reuse’ is how the wide range of works allows everyone to enjoy it in their own way. While they are all connected by the themes of resourcefulness and sustainability, each material and object chosen tells a unique story.”
MFTA Gallery visitors are having fun trying to make sense of all the quirky art forms that are on display there. Pieces have been cobbled together by a group of impactful, super-imaginative New York City artists, who know how to elevate the mundane through transformation.
You won’t see this type of art anywhere else: Sculptures made of car bumpers, fabric scraps, old puzzles, and cut-off wooden blocks, meet with collages made of shredded and ripped paper. And there’s lots more.
“Contemporary Reuse” showcases works made by amazing artists Andrea Burgay, Pauline Galiana, Adam Daniel Murray, Ben Pederson, Carol Pereria, and Sol Sax. Annalisa Iadicicco and Justin Horne are based in Queens.
The show’s opening reception Sept. 21 featured a cool musical performance by two of the artists, using metal hardware as instruments and textiles.
Burgay’s hybrid work – “Destroy Edit Transform” – seems like a great example of creative metamorphosis. Through her reuse of found and discarded stuff, the artist transforms the mundane into the extraordinary. She combines sculpture and collage to create something new. She has exhibited locally and internationally — in Queens, at Local Project and Flux Factory in LIC.
According to Horne, a multi-media artist who finds beauty in the mundane, “the most powerful works of art are ones that inspire a visual and visceral experience.”
His photographs, paintings, sculptures and installations reveal an extraordinary eye for color and form.
“Hopefully, my work can offer an intimate discovery for an individual, by relying on their imagination as they encounter it,” he said.
For Annalisa Iadicicco, creating art is all about “breathing new life and repurposing material that would otherwise have been left to wither and age in anonymity.
“Each piece inevitably goes through multiple incarnations before it reaches its final state,” according to the artist, whose work combines photography, raw materials and diverse artistic processes.
“This process led me to discover a three-dimensional world for my art, using reclaimed materials found along my urban travels, to create installations and sculptures that speak to social injustices and environmental problems,” she noted.
“Just to be able to be a part of the process of art coming alive in my hands. The process of creation and listening to each unique piece and allowing it to lead me in its metamorphosis, is what my work is about.”
It’s another wonderful example of how artists can be inspired by the power of transformation.
The MFTA Gallery is located on the third floor at 33-00 Northern Blvd. in Long Island City. It is open Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.