Code Number Safe [Un]Safe Exhibition At Hicks Art Center Gallery

Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 1:45 PM

Painting by Edward Ellis Hughes
Collaged painting from 1982 by Edward Ellis Hughes
Last updated: Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 4:02 PM

Hicks Art Center Gallery at Bucks County Community College is pleased to present a group exhibition of new and historic art works featuring U.S. and internationally based artists. Code Number Safe [Un]Safe will be on view from Wednesday, January 18 through Saturday, March 4, 2023.

The group exhibition will feature sculpture, painting, drawing, collage, assemblage, photography, and video works by:

Miriam Carpenter, Paul W. Evans, Helen Rebekah Garber, Hand Drawn Map Association (Kris Harzinski), Daniel Healey, Edward Ellis Hughes (Courtesy of The Petrucci Family Foundation), Barbara Martin, Kathleen McSherry, Neal Pressley, Lorna Simpson (Courtesy of The Petrucci Family Foundation), and Steina and Woody Vasulka (Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix).

The premise of the exhibition "Code Number Safe [Un]Safe" is built around the concept of numbers and numeric systems holding values for safety and stability or on the contrary- impermanence and oppression. The cohort of artists participating in the exhibition use numbers and numeric identifiers to describe personal, process and historical narratives through sculpture, painting, collage, or visual diagrams/images that symbolize spaces for realized well-being or vessels of conflict.

Artistic expression is often codified solely as a right-brain endeavor. However, many artists utilize left- brain processes, organically, out of preference or necessity, by sourcing a multitude of numeric systems to augment right-brain creative activities; in artworks deploying painting, printmaking, photography, video, assemblage, and sculpture in the exhibition “Code Number Safe [Un]Safe.” For example, Lorna Simpson’s photogravure and screen-print work, “Counting” employs various means of quantifying time, history, architecture, and the body(hair) with texts flanking three images while Barbara Martin’s expressionist paintings include repetitive marks or tallies to measure rhythm in dance. Enumeration for Paul W. Evans is made visible by tackling familial relationships through sibling birth order. In addition, Evans paints and collages numbers juxtaposed with plant shapes to question the proliferation and detrimental side effects of genetically modified organisms to humans and the environment.

Neal Pressley’s “No. 7” series of woodblock prints capture a historic building’s past identification before it was erased during the site’s development into a construction company’s Lancaster headquarters. An augmented reality video will illustrate where the “No. 7” was originally seen on the building prior to its transformation. Daniel Healey’s Letraset transfer drawings are shape forms the artist meticulously creates by hand, “not [with] a computer, or lensing an AI response.” Steina and Woody Vasulka on the other hand, embraced new medias and broke technological barriers to create moving images that questioned the presence of the human hand in artmaking. Their two works in the exhibition, “1-2-3-4” and “Solo for 3” look archaic now and almost humorous in their basicness. But at the time of their making, the videos were groundbreaking.

From the Hand Drawn Map Association’s archive, founder Kris Harzinski is exhibiting a selection of maps with subjects ranging from concepts of partnership to transit line numbers in a fictional city. While numbers do not appear visually on Miriam Carpenter’s exquisitely carved wood feathers, the title of the first one the artist created is the average number of feathers of a mallard duck, 11,903. Each subsequent sculpture’s numeric title is one less than the one made before it. In “Code Number Safe [Un]Safe, Carpenter will exhibit the 15th feather, “11,889.” Experiencing the daily ritual of self-injection as a means of healing and survival, Kathleen McSherry felt guided to make the sculpture “MS Nightmare” from found objects in her collection that spoke to her in a transformative and meaningful way that words cannot describe. In Edward Ellis Hughes’ remarkable collaged painting from 1982 the numeric references are not obvious which raises questions that may remain unanswered; “Did the artist choose the numbers randomly and do they signify some thing or being?”

Although numbers are attached to specific values like money and hurricane categories, the artists in “Code Number Safe [Un]Safe” made conscious decisions to include them in their artworks as clues to explain the inherent values personally significant to them and others.

Exhibition programming is free and open to the public and includes:

February 2, 2023, 2 p.m. - Helen Rebekah Garber will present an Artist Talk in the Zlock Performing Arts Center at Bucks County Community College. Garber will speak about her journey as a nurse practitioner and artist and how they intersect on her canvases through numerical patterns. Following the Artist Talk, the exhibition’s opening reception will be held in the Hicks Art Center from 4-6 p.m.

February 7, 2023, 10-11:30 a.m. - Kris Harzinski, artist, director, and founder of The Hand Drawn Map Association will present a map making workshop in the Hicks Art Center room H100. Materials and supplies will be provided.

Gallery hours throughout the exhibition will be Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays noon to 4 p.m.



About the Hicks Gallery

Hicks Art Center Gallery at Bucks County Community College provides a varied series of curated art exhibitions and related programming in support of the Arts & Communication Department and as an important educational and cultural resource for the community. The Gallery is located at 275 Swamp Road, Newtown, PA 18940 in the Hicks Art Center on the Newtown campus of Bucks County Community College.

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