Intramurals" carries a sense of playfulness with it, from its name to the man behind it to the colorful works that will light up the gallery where this new exhibit now is on display.
Ten artists from across the country will show paintings and sculptures at Afa Gallery this month in the show, which opens today and runs through May 25. An opening reception will take place Friday during the First Friday art walk.
Curating the exhibit is Shickshinny native Christopher Moss, a graduate of Marywood University's art program who now lives in Brooklyn. He works at an art gallery and has been an artist for years, but this is his first time curating a show.
"Everybody I worked with was great and terrific and easy to work with," he said.
Mr. Moss has taken a whimsical approach to the exhibit, referring to himself as the "referee" rather than curator and naming it "Intramurals" because the artists included are "all very good at sort of playing with ideas."
"There's something playful about that, about the suggestion that this might be like a basketball game ... (but) thinking sort of metaphorically about that in terms of passing an idea around, passing the ball," Mr. Moss said.
Mr. Moss, who exhibited his own work at Afa last February, knows some of the artists personally, many of whom live in New York. Others he met through mutual acquaintances, while social media helped him connect with still more artists.
"A few other artists I've never actually met in person, but through their Facebook or Twitter (I) have come upon their work and come to admire them or what they do," he said.
Albuquerque, N.M.,-based artist Heidi Pollard will display two paintings and two sculptures in the show. An artist for about 30 years, she now creates full time.
"I have been a painter primarily for quite a number of years and, recently, I've started getting into sculpture, which is kind of where I started out," Ms. Pollard said. "I had a year-long residency in Roswell, N.M., last year, which gave me the time to kind of explore a bunch of different media."
Ms. Pollard described her work as playful in a serious way, with her paintings abstract and created loosely and improvisationally.
"My sculptures, well, they're all over the place," she said. "They tend to be accumulated from all kinds of things. Debris, basically."
She hopes people associate spontaneous feelings of playfulness and joy with her work.
"I really like to approach everything I'm doing with humor and pleasure - pleasure in the material and little puns in the work," Ms. Pollard said. "And then from there the sky's the limit."
That playfulness is apparent in one work she will display at Afa, called "Iris" and related to a sculpture of the same name by the legendary Auguste Rodin. Named for the Greek messenger to the gods who personified the rainbow, Rodin's work made a symbolic rainbow from a torso and legs. Ms. Pollard's work drops the body entirely, leaving just two work boots with one emitting flames.
"That's my little joke," she said. "My little Rodin joke."
The Afa show appears to be "pretty exuberant," Ms. Pollard said, "which is great because I think sometimes the art world and the art-speak in the art world is, if not downright heavy, almost totally opaque really."
"My attitude is the work I do is available both to people who really know a lot about painting and sculpture and to people who know nothing about it," she said.
BY CAITLIN HEANEY