July 6 – August 1, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, July 10, 6-9pm
Joseph Crawford Pile
Why am I compelled to draw trucks raising hell, dirtbikes peeling out, and army helicopters racing across the canvas?
I grew up on a farm in rural Kentucky, deep in the sticks. We only had a handful of neighbors. There were very few children around that were my age, except my siblings. We weren’t allowed to watch much television. Until I got my driver’s license, I spent my summers on the farm. The most exciting thing around was the monstrously large and loud machinery used to work the farm: the jacked-up 4×4 trucks and the off-road dirtbikes and 4-wheelers. In the country, everything is very quiet and still. So when a mammoth combine harvester thunders by your house, shooting up big black plumes of smoke and rumbling out a deep raspy diesel groan, it gets noticed.
Our driveway merged with the highway at a sharp right angle. To make this turn, cars had to slow down almost to a stop. Some locals used to this as an opportunity to burn out, loudly. Thick woods lined nearly the entire perimeter of our property. We couldn’t see our neighbors, but we could hear their 4-wheelers and dirtbikes.
We lived in between Fort Campbell and Fort Knox. Military planes and helicopters frequently buzzed our house. When I heard them coming, I’d drop what I was doing and run outside to stare in awe. I still run out to watch the airshow when I’m visiting the farm.
It’s common for people to think of vehicles’ relationship to humanity, and, in a broader sense, the natural world, as an antagonistic one. Vehicles Misbehaving is my attempt to capture the primal beauty I see in these machines.
Joseph Crawford Pile grew up on a pig farm in rural Kentucky. His great-grandfather, Christopher Pile, bought the farm in 1864. Pile was raised in the house his grandfather built, who bought the land with the wealth passed down from his grandfather, William Pile, who received a land grant in Kentucky for his service in the Revolutionary War.
Pile dreams about the farm every night. Usually the dreams are a mix of family members and peers from his formative years, all set on the farm with a desperate apocalyptic theme. He has spent his life trying to interpret these dreams, to gain insight into his personal, emotional, and psychic identity and his place in the world.
Pile’s mother is an artist. As a child, he watched her paint portraits, landscapes and still lifes. She fostered his interest in the arts and enrolled him into summer art programs as a teenager, which lead him to art school as a young adult.
Pile currently live in Baltimore, Maryland.
Nick Clifford Simko
Nick Clifford Simko’s work considers the parallels between the construction and destruction of visual culture. “Fragmentia” examines the values of the past through the form of fragmentary pieces in the present. Adapting the material and metaphorical language of allegorical tapestry, these torn and tattered compositions isolate specific moments from the larger scene. For Simko the process of collecting, collaging, tearing, and destroying historicized images is a way to reveal the impermanence of art and explore the flexibility of its meaning.
Simko utilizes methods of accumulation and elimination to realize these tapestry works. The first step involves collecting subject matter with a digital camera, such as figures, animals, and landscapes. Using photographic imaging software, the artist carefully collages the individual elements together into a cohesive composition. Next the designs are woven into textiles on a computerized loom. The weavings are then cut and distressed. The final installation juxtaposes the remaining fragments in relation to the missing pieces.
Nick Clifford Simko is an interdisciplinary artist who utilizes digital photography and computerized loom technology in his practice. His work has been exhibited at museums and galleries in Baltimore, Richmond, and Washington DC. In 2013-2014 he was a member of EMP Collective, an interdisciplinary arts organization in downtown Baltimore. He holds his BFA in Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the Maryland Institute College of Art. In fall of 2015 Simko will begin his MFA in Photography at the University of New Mexico.
Everyone is Actually Each Other