Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Navigating the History of the Globe Dye Works

In conjunction with the opening of the Catagenesis exhibition, we will be showing a film about the history of Globe Dye Works.  Independent Curator Cheryl Harper, and Philadelphia Sculptors President Leslie Kaufman are responsible for the bulk of the work that has gone into the film, along with a small crew.

Bill Greenwood, Company Treasurer and Plant Superintendent, 1965

Recently, Cheryl and Leslie visited with the oldest surviving manager of the Globe Dye Works, Wilson "Bill" Greenwood, at his home in Moorestown, NJ.  Bill is a spry 89 years of age and he has a glowing energy while talking about his life at Globe, as well as the business' history.

Bill Greenwood, Reminiscing through one of many Globe scrapbooks, 2012

The film will describe the fascinating story of a truly unique and impressive family business.  The company was founded in 1865 by Richard Greenwood (who had emmigrated from Liverpool, England when he was 12), along with his friend William Bault.  It was Richard who had experience with textiles, his father was a loom weaver back in England, and he eventually bought out Mr. Bault (who was an engineer).  

Richard Greenwood, Co-Founder of Globe Dye Works, 1880s

Richard Greenwood knew what he was doing.  He had a reputation as the "indigo doctor" and was consulted on "sick" batches of indigo dye throughout the country.  Not only was he skilled in the art of textile dying, but he also laid the foundation of a stunningly functional family business.  It has been said that 10-15% of family businesses survive three generations, Globe excelled through five (Bill represents the fourth generation).  Richard (pictured above) had a visceral presence in the business throughout its existence; long after his death there was a life-size photo of him on view at Globe, a stern and proper Victorian keeping a watchful eye on his beloved operation.

Come visit the Catagenesis Exhibition (on view at the Globe Dye Works, September 9th - October 21st) to learn more about the Greenwood family and their extraordinary Globe Dye Works!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Featured Artist: Nivi Alroy

Nivi Alroy's work is tumultuous bordering on chaotic.  She describes it as examining the "ever-changing relationship between inner and outer spaces."  For Alroy, these spaces can be generated from the body, the home or even a sculpture – all realms where lines of division between the inner and outer are messy, to say the least. 

Alroy considers these divisions to be messy because of constant intrusion of outer realms into interior space.  It is this intrusion that creates the exposure of intimate details; this idea takes literal form in Alroy's installations, which can be described as highly textured explosions of this exposed interior.  Not only does Alroy challenge these boundaries, she also challenges gravity and scale.  In her creations things fall up and expected proportions are thrown out the window. 

Nivi Alroy, Over Spilled Milk

For the Catagenesis exhibition, she will be working in the boiler room of the Globe Dye Works facility.  This is a huge space with many intrusive and valuable obstacles that she will have to navigate and incorporate.  Alroy is coming all the way from Israel for the show and doing most of her preparation by proxy – studying video of the space, transporting items to the site and selecting objects leftover from Globe Dye's heyday that she will utilize.  Alroy will then arrive a little over two weeks before the opening to begin the exciting and immense job of steering her ideas through the boisterous exhibition territory - an overwhelming task that will no doubt be worth the wait!

Globe Dye Works, Boiler Room

Monday, July 2, 2012

Featured Artist: Reece Terris

The Western Front Front: Another False Front is a fascinating public art project by Canadian multi media artist Reece Terris.  It is exemplative of his ambitious work effort as well as his conceptual ingenuity.  The project also offers excellent insight on how he might approach his work on the upcoming Catagenesis Exhibition.

Terris' project revolves around false fronts, facades which were historically used to create a more impressive and established feeling in what were then (mid 1800s) very freshly constructed boomtowns.  In an interview with Exhibition Coordinator Mandy Ginson, Terris says "the project speaks to the past and present use of architecture as a means to communicate broader cultural values and aspirations."  Reece connects boomtown architecture and the 2010 real estate upturn in his home of Vancouver, B.C. 

Terris'  association with the original false fronts are as corporeal as they are ideological.  He created an enormous facade to lengthen the bravado of the first.  This was no small feat, and surely Terris' mountain climbing skills were suitable.  (Follow this link to watch a video of the false front being installed.)  Poignantly, the facade was installed for the duration of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and then shuffled into the cities architectural memory.

The potential parallels between this body of work, whats happening already at the Globe Dye Works and the Catagenesis Exhibition are strong.  It is quite thrilling to imagine what sort of feats Terris will embark on in his utilization of the heroic facility that is the Globe Dye Works.