Found Objects Art Show

By Rick Black
Highland Park Artists Cooperative
135 North Sixth Avenue, Highland Park, N.J. 08904
                                                                                                            April 5, 2009
APRIL 2009
Art Available Upon Request
Contact: Bill Bonner
By Rick Black
HIGHLAND PARK – Art is where you find it and, in this environmentally-conscious borough, artists are showing how art can be found in the trash that people routinely put on the curbside to be hauled away.
Over the past few months, members of the Highland Park Artists Collective have been collecting discarded objects from around the borough in order to turn them into works of art for an exhibition called, “Found Objects Art Show (Recycling With A Passion).”
The exhibition, which features the work of 11 members of the collective, will run from April 19 to May 17 at Pino’s Fruit Basket Shoppe and Wine Cellar, located at 13 North Fourth Avenue. An opening with food and music will take place at Pino’s on Sunday, April 19, from 2 to 5 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
The show is a natural outgrowth of a concern with recycling and the green movement among artists and borough residents. Some of the art to be on display includes a giant praying mantis made from a wooden staircase support, wire hanger sculptures, a box of “chocolates” made out of seashells, a Budweiser frog display, black walnut shells with owl-like faces, rustic clocks made out of bricks and many more oddities and quirky conceptions.
“We live in a throwaway world and I wonder how much longer we can afford this luxury,” said Fred Cole, a sculptor who specializes in found art and who helped organize the show. “It is my hope this show will stimulate people to rethink their patterns of use and reuse of existing materials.”
 “What intrigues me is finding the beauty in everyday objects, often discarded ones, that can open awareness and stimulate thought and emotion when seen in a different context,” said Susan Lichtig, a mixed media artist.
“When you swing a green compost bucket at a yard sale in Highland Park, you cannot fail to send three curmudgeon artists into antique bliss,” said John Marron, a Japanese ink painter and poet who will be contributing “a painted pitchfork of populist pique,” among other objects that he has transformed into art.
Approximately 35 found art objects will be displayed throughout Pino’s 10,000-square-foot location in between stacks of wine bottles from around the world as well as boxes of cookies and candies that can be used in gift baskets. 
“Pino’s welcomes the opportunity to afford local artists a venue for their unique and wonderful creations,” said Brian Taxman, owner of Pino’s Fruit Basket Shoppe and Wine Cellar and president of Main Street Highland Park. “I think this exhibition in particular is a good example of Highland Park’s green community mentality.
“We’re always available to support community activities,” he added. “And maybe in turn people will buy some gourmet food or wine to show their support of local businesses, too.”
As artist and graphic designer Nancy Schultz said, artists often find serendipity among the ruins and cast-offs. In short, as you will discover at the show, art is where you find it. For more information about the show or store, call Pino’s at 732-247-5421 or Bill Bonner of the Highland Park Artists Collective at 732-777-0686.