Breathing new activity into old art forms has accurate to be a affluent attitude of analysis for Amy “BannerQueen” Johnquest, whose latest exhibit, “One Size Fits All,” is now on affectation at the Salmon Falls Gallery in Shelburne Falls through Dec. 30.
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In Johnquest’s newest artwork, which she calls “Altered Ancestors,” the ascetic faces of unknown, abandoned Victorians boring out through an about consciousness-expanding brume of corrective polka dots, swirls and outlandish, sci-fi hairdos.
The aboriginal images were begin on alone chiffonier cards that were calm by Johnquest’s acquaintance and adolescent artist, Stacy Waldman. Johnquest has corrective on them, absolute them up to poster-size or alike imprinted semi-hidden “messages” in the way she has brave the garments.
Cabinet cards were alien about 1870. They were portraits of bodies taken at able photography studios, army on a abundant agenda banal and put on affectation in cabinets and in photo albums with congenital cardboard frames for the 4¼-inch by 6½-inch cards. They were accepted until about the 1920s, back snapshot photography displaced them in popularity.
Waldman runs a business alleged Abode of Mirth Photos and Ephemera in Easthampton, and shares a boutique with Johnquest at 22 Cottage St. Waldman specializes in “vernacular photography,” mostly abecedarian photography adopted from old photo scrapbooks in flea markets and tag sales.
“There’s a huge apple of collectors out there,” Johnquest explained. “There are building shows, and absorbing brand shows area bodies are award aesthetic capacity in the book that the aboriginal columnist may not accept intended.”
About bristles years ago, Waldman threw a collage-making abode affair and put out some chiffonier cards for her guests to use as absolute in their cardboard collages. Johnquest was there, too, and “Altered Ancestors” was born.
“I’ve consistently done collages and corrective on aggregate I could get my easily on,” Johnquest said. “I was at this affair Stacy was having, and I absolutely acid in on the Victorian chiffonier cards.”
Johnquest’s assignment on the cards is all hand-painted.
“Nothing’s photo-shopped. Everything’s low-tech,” she said. The assignment includes begin objects, best photos, bolt and paint.
“The photo itself tells me area it wants the acrylic to go,” Johnquest said. “Sometimes they’re added humorous, sometimes added ethereal, but they’re all affiliated with the access of time. It’s a affectionate of awakening of this discarded, absent affair that ability accept contrarily concluded up in the debris heap.”
“I absolute rarely acrylic on the absolute faces,” she added. “I try to be admiring of the animal actuality who was already alive, and of the (photography) studio, whose name is sometimes on the basal of the card.”
Johnquest loves application begin altar in her art and generally juxtaposes an old art anatomy with a new message.
Johnquest grew up in Novelty, Ohio, area her aboriginal art influences included columnist Diane Arbus, who is acclaimed for her photographs of sideshow performers, and “Zap Comix” artist Robert R. Crumb.
After accepting a amount in accomplished arts, Johnquest formed as a assurance painter, and again as a clear artist for newspapers. Besides alive at her studio, she is administrator of the Taber Art Gallery at Holyoke Community College.
In 1998, Johnquest angry to the ancient bazaar affiche as her afflatus for what became “BannerQueen” art. Johnquest, a above Ashfield resident, began painting her aboriginal “sideshow themed art piece.”
“I was addled with a able and actual faculty of assuredly award my way home,” she writes in a blog on her website. “My paintings are anon afflicted by the old bazaar sideshow banners. … The old banners acclimated blatant depictions and circumlocution to woo and abduct you into departing with banknote to access the tent. Usually these blatant promotions promised added than what the absoluteness abaft the canvas delivered.”
The Montague Book Mill banderole is one archetype of Johnquest’s work. Among her best contempo banners, on affectation abreast the antechamber of The Blue Rock Restaurant, is Johnquest’s banderole admiration to Julia Child, corrective in account of the chef’s 100th altogether anniversary.
Another banderole in the exhibition, “It’s Nature’s Way of Cogent You,” combines a lyric from a 1970 recording by Spirit (that says “It’s nature’s way of cogent you something’s wrong”), with a two-headed frog. Johnquest said she had been account about abnormal frogs in Minnesota, possibly from baptize pollution, and put them calm in one image.
“Using pop cultural references with argument and imagery, I actualize advertisements that do not advertise anything,” Johnquest said. “These paintings are a acclimation act of ardent artlessness and tongue-in-cheekiness.”
During the exhibit, active copies of her book, “Altered Ancestors,” will be for sale. Throughout December, the Salmon Falls Gallery at 1 Ashfield St. is accessible from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven canicule a week. An artist’s accession is planned on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 3 to 5 p.m.
To appearance added of Johnquest’s work, appointment bannerqueen.com.
Staff anchorman Diane Broncaccio has formed at the Greenfield Recorder back 1988. Her exhausted includes West County. She can be accomplished at: [email protected] or 413-772-0261, ext. 277.
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