Zane Campbell, Installation View
Zane Campbell: Alcoholic JanitorJanuary 9 - February 12Reception date TBA
Institute 193 is happy to present the first solo exhibition of work by artist and musician Zane Campbell. Although born and raised in Maryland, Campbell comes from a well-known North Carolina family synonymous with Appalachia and mountain music. His relatives include an aunt, Ola Belle Reed who was a legendary banjo player who once turned down an offer from Roy Acuff to join his band, and a great uncle, Guy Brooks, who was a fiddle player in the Red Fox Chasers. The family is credited with bringing country music to northeast Maryland where they operated general stores, a country music radio station, and New River Ranch, a country music park venue that played host to legends like the Louvin Brothers and Hank Williams.
In the late 70s, Campbell dropped out of college and moved to New York City to become a musician. A series of events led him to the Kolping House, a boarding house run by the Catholic church, where he rented a room and eventually was hired as a janitor. His time there prompted him to write a largely autobiographical story illustrated in the style of illuminated manuscripts retelling some of the outrageous happenings that occurred during his tenure there. The story is centered on Worth MacDonald, a character meant as a stand-in for Campbell. It tracks his progressively erratic and self-destructive behavior resulting from alcoholism and his struggles to get sober. Throughout, we’re introduced to a host of misfits emblematic of a version of New York that predates the sanitation and gentrification of Manhattan that occurred in the mid and late 1990s after the mayorships of Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani. The vignettes are told in true Southern style, mixing truth and fiction to dark and frequently comedic effect. The drawings Campbell made to accompany the roughly 100-page text are remarkable in their own right. They are intricate and painstakingly worked, with a comic-like focus on narrative and structure. In addition to drawings and the full written text from 'Alcoholic Janitor', we will be exhibiting Campbell’s travel notebooks, which include his handwritten song lyrics, diary entries, and drawings.
John Martin, Untitled, 2018, glazed ceramic, dimensions vary.
John Martin John Martin's ToolboxNovember 10, 2018 – January 1, 2019EXTENDED THROUGH JANUARY 20
Reach into John Martin’s toolbox and you won’t find rusty metal wrenches, old hammers, or runaway screws. In their place lies a vast array of chunky ceramic sculptures, styled with dynamic colors and exaggerated shapes. Too large to be operable and too fragile to be functional, Martin’s tools are the primary method of interaction with the objects that fascinate him. Tools are born from the human imagination, dictated by our goals to work faster, build stronger, and reach further. They make us as we make them. Raised on a farm, tools, and machinery were part of Martin’s daily life. He wasn’t allowed to—and still doesn’t—use conventional tools, but they are omnipresent in his work. He draws them. He paints them. He sculpts them in wood and shapes them in clay. Despite a lack of first-hand use, Martin acquired a visual vocabulary of tools from years of observation on his family’s farm. Martin’s sculptures invite us to separate the physical tool from our notions of it; what does a tool become when it is no longer practical?
Martin was born in Mississippi in 1963 and spent most of his childhood on his family’s farm in Arkansas. Years later, he moved to Oakland, California to live with his grandmother and aunt, where he began working with Creative Growth in 1987. Martin has always collected watches and keys, and over the past decade built a large collection of found tools. However, his signature images of knives, hammers, and saws go back to his experience as a child on his family’s farm.
Creative Growth is a non-profit art studio that supports artists with developmental disabilities. Their large facility offers resources like a ceramic studio, sewing and quilting equipment, and a range of two-dimensional mediums. Creative Growth also provides a gallery and representation to their artists.