By: Bailey Dodds, Seraphin Gallery Intern
Edited By: Alyssa Laverda, Associate Director, Seraphin Gallery
This July at Grizzly Grizzly, Phillip Scarpone, a Seraphin Gallery artist, has created an ethereal multi-sensory installation for viewers. The exhibition is called University City Station: Glassboro, a large-scale sculpture that fills the entire space of the gallery. The piece itself is created through the process of casting and metal fabrication.
As you walk into the gallery you are instantly confronted with a large industrial pod, a perplexing architectural experiment encompassing the complete space. The structure is a narrow rectangular enclave, a combination of different man-made materials with a door half opened. The mysteriously still structure is both intimidating and inviting. You can hear the faint hum of the air-conditioner from inside, drawing you in from the Philadelphia heat. The cool blue glow offers some refuge from the beaming gallery lights. With the little space that remains in the gallery it feels daunting to be on the outside of the structure, you are immediately compelled to enter.
Once inside, you are not sure whether to feel safe, as you are encapsulated in the intimate indigo space or claustrophobic and terrified at the thought of the whole foundation crumbling over your head. Then the rough texture of the interior is illuminated and it is clear that this is not a fragile construction. There are cracks, exposed insulation and leaks of light from the outside. The constructed details emanate years of build-up and decay. This decrepit interior is cool and protected but there is a slight paranoia as you stand immersed in the white noise and dropping temperature.
The source of this imagined environment; University City Station: Glassboro is a fused memory of a scrap yard in Glassboro, New Jersey and a Septa station in Philadelphia. The combination of these two sites proposes a new space, a physical point of contact between reality and memory. This intangible territory, that is so often trapped in our individual imaginations has now been given a unique identity, now accessible to the viewer.
This recollection of memory and site-specificity is part of Phillip Scarpone’s process, he has stated: I am interested in how recalling a moment, place or experience, (and then) diluting it and filtering it through a mental sieve, can create new poetry I what we find important. Through his manipulation of materials and recall, the installation transports the viewers into an eerie environment, addressing concepts of palpable existence and retrospection simultaneously, while instilling a slight fear of the unknown.
Seraphin Gallery has recently consigned three smaller sculptures from a series by Scarpone that encompass similar lineations of industrial composition and decay. Ricordi Rotante Sediment #1 and Ricordi Rotante Sediment #2 are compilations of steel, concrete and found objects like wrenches and oil cans that establish a raw display of time and place. Drawing upon memories of his father, Scarpone creates molds from his father’s tools--symbols of an earlier period and a sense of nostalgia.
Phillip Scarpone will be featured in a group sculpture show at Seraphin Gallery along with other gallery artists Laura Sallade and Geoff Dubinsky from February 3 - March 29th 2017. For more information about Phillip Scarpone’s work and the upcoming exhibition visit the page below.