“In Plain Sight” presents the works of two artists who, both in their own unique way, transform what the rest of society often overlooks or even treats as “trash” into ecstatic expressions of beauty. Scharff and Stoeber have found delight in humanity’s superfluous materials—small pieces of paper, toy parts, and even heels of once-fancy women’s shoes, come together and become vessels to other worlds and other cultures. Scharff’s small-scale collages, made on the road on her long journeys throughout Asia, are jewel-like mini portraits of many cultures she encountered and befriended along the way. Stoeber, in contrast, turns his gaze to his own Venice neighborhood alleys and creates three-dimensional assemblages that bring together seemingly disparate objects, crafting rapturous visual poems out of the forgotten and discarded.
Margi Scharff began assembling her collage works while living in Mexico, making the art from whatever the roads she traveled provided her with. After a two-month trip across Mexico, she set off to Asia, traveling, since the year 2000, on a ten-dollars-a-day budget and creating and exhibiting collages assembled from found materials in China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. During this art-making journey she exhibited her ‘road collage’ works in Delhi, India; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Chittagong, Bangladesh. A short documentary film of her work entitled “Rangi-Changi” was made by the BBC reporter Daniel Lak during Scharff’s time in Kathmandu, Nepal. Scharff was also the subject of the “Top Emailed Stories” NPR report in 2006 and is the recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Grant.
Orville Stoeber is a mixed media, conceptual, assemblage artist who works with wood, spray cans, acrylics, illustrations, super glue, found and everyday objects to create his intimate three dimensional universes filled with color and intricate detail. Stoeber describes his process as “using chance encounters with various materials to create whimsical and dreamlike associations that hopefully produce a meditative state in the viewer.” When he is not creating in his Venice studio, Stoeber works as a special needs teacher, writes songs and does volunteer work in the music for healing program at Cedars Sinai Hospital.