Tyler Jackson and Greg Mavraganis don’t need to visit art supply stores to find the canvases for their art. It starts with the stuff people throw away.
For Mavraganis, that’s often old windows, which he transforms into shabby-chic mirrors. For Jackson, reclaimed wood sprouts back to life as articulated robots that he calls “BLANKS.”
Their art is featured in an exhibit called “Scavenge, Assemble and Survive,” which opens Jan. 21 at The Green Gallery in Durham’s The Scrap Exchange.
“Like many of us, I have become more conscious of my footprint on this planet and how the work that I create impacts the world we live in,” says Jackson, who lives in Raleigh. “I have always been interested in the art toy, which is inspired by the aesthetics of childhood toys but remains a sculptural object rather than a plaything. Instead of coming up with a design and then having it manufactured, I decided to design a toy which could be made from accessible recycled materials.”
The collection of robots in the Scrap exhibit, each embellished with donated odds and ends, “further develops the narrative of the importance of scavenging and reuse for survival in a post-apocalyptic wasteland,” he says.
“During the process of making this work, I was pleased to discover that the mistakes and somewhat limited control of materials did not detract from the quality of the work but instead gave each piece a personality which cannot be recreated in a machine in a factory but only as a product of the artist's hand in the process,” he says. “This personality gives the work character, makes the narrative stronger and makes every piece truly unique.”
Mavraganis receives many of his windows from building renovators in Durham, where he lives. He says he likes riding around, checking out the ever-changing real estate scene. And refurbishing the windows enables him to be ecological and also reflect the city’s heritage.
“Each window comes from a house with a distinct past and unique history,” he says. “In that way, when I refinish them I’m capturing the history in the windows while also giving it new life as a mirror. I think that's similar to the urban revival that’s going on in Durham.”
“Scavenge, Assemble and Survive” opens with a free reception Friday, Jan. 21, from 6 to 9 p.m., during Third Friday festivities in Durham . The Green Gallery is in the rear of The Scrap Exchange at 548 Foster Street. The exhibit is open during store hours: Mon., Tues., Wed. and Fri., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thurs. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. noon-5 p.m. For information, call 688-6960 or go to www.scrapexchange.org.