Patchwork Junk Drawer at Gallery 210

From the official press release from Gallery 210:

The other day I was at a friend’s house. He was looking for a corkscrew and couldn’t find it. Fumbling through one drawer he asked another friend to take a look in the junk drawer—pointing to one just down from where he was rummaging. “Junk drawer? That’s an intimate thing!” said the one to the other.  Filled with things too precious to discard but neither valued, neither useful nor useless—in some sense like the treasures tucked away by a child in a shoe box and shoved under the bed or buried by a tree in the back yard. They are like souvenirs taken from sojourns as though they were the deepening of childhood memories: sluggishly past traumas, whizzing by the mundane, dawdling in the company of the cherished and monumental, or just pebbles in shoes. Intimate perhaps because we often feel as though we are those junk drawers: cobbled together with miscellany that doesn’t quite seem to fit together, point to anything larger or say anything—anything; just a discarded mess of unattended to questions. Baubles.

Chad Irwin’s Patchwork Junk Drawer deals in these baubles. His is the amalgam of dust and detritus all too often discard into drawers like these or tossed to the side of the road or passed by without any thought. There he pauses and contemplates, sifts through the confusion and re-envisions it into art. A bottle cap, denim patch, button and bone become Coelacanth. The discarded becomes the “discarded, found and re-integrated” just like the prehistoric fish once thought extinct but now rediscovered and highly sought after by museums and collectors.

His medium is just junk: frayed pieces of yarn, buttons, broken shells, rusted nails and cast off on canvases and in frames which look equally regal. It’s a hard sell to a culture so enamored by the pristine, and who already threw this stuff away once before. But where most see irrelevance, Irwin finds a challenge. May be its out of his own brokenness (or may be its in response to the shattered he’s encountered) mingling with an out-and-out dissatisfaction with the status quo that necessitates his humble attempt at mending. That’s why he collects, catalogs and assembles as if he were an archeologist, or anthropologist, but instead of deciphering and piecing back together what was, he attempts to study the discard in order to re-shape it into what could be. His is not about answers rather possibilities. And that is most what a junk drawer represents: the perpetual hope for purpose, usefulness and meaning, but always teetering with apprehension—flirting with irrelevance. That is the challenge in each of his pieces for us. First a confrontation with the garbage, then a reconciliation, or at least, the prospect of one. He obliges his viewer to reconsider value both their own and in general.

Patchwork Junk Drawer will be on display at Gallery 210 from September 9th until October 16th 2010. It will feature more than 20 works by local artist and Pennsylvania transplant, Chad M. Irwin. There will be an opening reception Friday, September 17, 6:00-8:00 PM. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. General gallery hours are from 9:00 a.m. – Noon, Monday thru Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Sundays.

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