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Anthony Coleman and Andrew Jeffrey Wright: E.T. and Some Bananas

Jun 13 — Aug 16, 2024

Featuring work by: Anthony Coleman, Andrew Jeffrey Wright

Opening reception, June 13, 6-8PM

 

E.T and some Bananas is both the title of a collaborative drawing by Anthony Coleman and Andrew Jeffrey Wright and the title of their two-person exhibition. This drawing encapsulates much about their approach to art: bright color, a focus on characters from popular culture rendered through their own highly original interpretations and odd juxtapositions. The exhibition features collaborations between the two artists and individual bodies of work. For over five years, Wright has worked closely with Coleman as his art “coach” at Artworks/Community Integrated Services and for over two years they have been working collaboratively. For their collaborative drawings, Coleman creates the main character leaving the backgrounds intentionally blank, and Wright then addresses the voids with this trademark buzzy patterning. 

 

Coleman’s characters are a disparate bunch culled from all corners of popular culture: Garfield, the Phantom of the Opera, Batman, Grover from Sesame Street, Woody Woodpecker, Ms. Pac-Man, and Boo Berry and Count Chocula of 1970s sugary cereals fame, to name a few. On occasion, Coleman goes outside of the fictional character vein and dabbles in Hollywood and art world figures. Here, one encounters Coleman’s take on Rita Hayworth, a Nick Cave sound suit, and renditions of trippy costumed mannequins from the early 2000s collective, Forcefield. Many of Coleman’s characters are distinguished by pronounced eyebrows, compacted bodies where hands and feet occupy much of their corporeal mass, proboscis-like noses, and an antenna-like protrusion emanating from the top of their heads. At times, Coleman seems to follow the Surrealist adage of radical juxtaposition. Think “the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella” but with cartoon characters, celebrities, and consumer goods put in a blender and spilled onto paper. Drawings like Orange & Blue Composition (Garfield, Airplane, Fiat, and Q-Bert),  James Gandolfini & Sponge Bob, Blue & Green Composition (Grover, VW Bus, Geko, and Boo Berry) showcase Coleman as a kind of 21st century pop Surrealist.

 

A founding member of Space 1026, a renowned artist-run-space in Philadelphia, Andrew Jeffrey Wright is a multidisciplinary artist working across media including drawing, comics, painting, murals, photography, animation, screen printing, zine making, installation, and performance. Wright has been creating pattern permutations that conjure psychedelic and optical art of the 1960s and early 70s throughout his artistic career. Wright also mines the collective consciousness of his youth, integrating characters like E.T., Garfield, and Bart Simpson (a predilection he shares with Coleman); juvenilia discovered in his childhood attic; and twists on low-brow slogans found on bumper stickers into his practice. It goes without saying that humor underlies everything he makes. Wright has always championed the dissemination and accessibility of his art through t-shirts, buttons, and calendars (Labs with Abs, his screen printed calendar of anthropomorphic Labradors looking buff has been a semi-annual project since 2006). Wright’s work with Coleman is a natural outgrowth of his decades-long belief in the rewards of collaboration. He has worked with a wide range of artists over the years including Isaac Tin Wei Lin, Barry McGee, Clare Rojas, Ed Templeton, Marcel Dzama, Michael Dumontier, and Woodley White. 

 

Anthony Coleman (born 1969, lives and works in Philadelphia) has has had solo exhibitions at Blues, Bristol, UK; Amanita, New York, NY; Space 1026 and Bennas’ Cafe (both in Philadelphia); Dale Zine, Miami, FL; SAGE Studio, Austin, TX; and New Language, London, UK, among others. Coleman has been featured in group exhibitions at venues such as The Flat-Massimo Carasi, Milan, Italy; Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art, GA; Marvin Gardens, Ridgewood, NY; SAGE Studio; Breach, Miami, FL; La Luz de Jesus, Los Angeles, CA; Fleisher/Ollman, Little Gallery, Little Berlin, Space 1026, Savery Gallery, and Dirty Franks (all in Philadelphia), and Gallery Aferro, Newark, NJ. 

 

Andrew Jeffrey Wright (born 1970, lives and works in Philadelphia) has had solo exhibitions at Philadelphia venues including Pressure Club, Practice, The Print Center, Spector Gallery, and Space 1026. Further afield, he has had solo shows at The Hole, New York, NY; THIS Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Lamp Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan; Dome Books, Austin, TX; The Luggage Store, San Francisco, CA; and Giant Robot, New York, NY.  He has exhibited in group exhibitions at Philadelphia venues such as Institute of Contemporary Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Paradigm Gallery, Fringe Arts, Fairmount House, 990 Gallery, Space 1026, The Print Center, Vox Populi, and Painted Bride Arts Center. Other venues where Wright’s work has been presented in group exhibitions include the International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Swiss Institute, New York, NY; Slow Culture, Los Angeles, CA; Joshua Liner Gallery, New York, NY; Telephone Booth Gallery, Kansas City, MO; Mudguts Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Cinder Projects/In:Surgo Gallery, Berlin, Germany; 2012 Le Havre Contemporary Art Biennial, Le Havre, France; The Hole, New York, NY; New Image Art, Los Angeles, CA; Bravin Lee, New York, NY; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Foundation Cartier, Paris, France; Foxy Production, New York, NY; the Mockbee, Cincinnati, OH; Lump Gallery, Raleigh, NC; and the New Museum, New York, NY, among others.

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