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October 15, 2008 > Spare Parts Exhibit

Spare Parts Exhibit

By Emma Victoria G. Blanco

Have you checked the "junk drawer" in your kitchen lately? It probably contains "spare parts" from do-it-yourself projects and ready-to-assemble furniture; chances are that you will probably end up tossing them away during your next spring cleaning. But have you ever considered that those "spare parts" could become art?

That is exactly what has been done by artists featured in the Spare Parts Exhibit at Olive Hyde Gallery. Gallery curator, Sandra Hemsworth is excited about the exhibit and explained, "Spare Parts is a show that features varied artists who use mixed media as the medium of their work. Often in the realm of mixed media artists become either quite resourceful in their choice of materials or the opposite, very specific."

Lori Krein of Campbell uses cast-off objects that are of relatively little value or importance and recreates or reuses them in her wall pieces, morphing them into a relief style painting. Krein describes her work as "inspirational, eco-friendly art." She was attracted to this show because her work is made mostly from spare parts and "consists of old, rusty washers, screws, nails, and other items which would otherwise have been thrown away."

Niles artist Ed Frakes has been painting and drawing for 50 years and has always played with making 3-D objects just for fun. For two weeks in 2003, he made twelve icons named after flowers and installed them in his backyard. That collection eventually evolved into the Niles Garden of Saints, which has been visited by several hundred people over the past five years. Frakes has no problem finding spare parts for his work. "Niles is a paradise for material and people leave parts on my front porch because they know I can usually find a use for them," he said.

While the exhibit title, "Spare Parts," was chosen to suit some of the artists' approaches, covering a variety of methods and materials, it also "emphasizes the way artists often turn to whatever they can find or whatever they are attracted to as materials," Hemsworth stated. Featured artist Lucy King makes jewelry from scrap glass, while Emi Tabuchi creates collages with torn paper. Hemsworth added, "Oftentimes the selection of which works live next to each other can play quite a critical role in the success of the show."

While artists like Frakes create their pieces for the pure reason of "having fun making them," others are more purposeful. Krein stated, "I want people to see the world from a different perspective. When I see a pile of rusty washers and nails, my eyes light up. Most people would turn and walk the other way. Maybe after seeing my work, they will think twice about tossing out something they don't want anymore, and find a new use for it. This might help our environment, even just a little, to begin healing."

Don't be surprised if a visit to the Olive Hyde Gallery to see the Spare Parts Exhibit compels you to take a second look at that kitchen junk drawer and create something yourself.

Spare Parts Exhibit
October 19 through November 17
Thursday through Sunday
Noon to 5 p.m.
Olive Hyde Art Gallery
123 Washington Blvd., Fremont
(510) 494-4228

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