ZEN AND THE ART OF GARBAGE HUNTING AND THE PROTECTORS OF THE REFUSE
Opening reception Friday February 28th 7-10pm
Show runs through March 22nd
Gallery open by appointment
These seven photos are a part of the ongoing project “Garbage Totems” which utilizes heaps of debris often found within abandoned garages, back alleys and even along the sidewalks of a city. These black and white photographs were taken with a highly sensitive and specialized machine tuned to capture what is otherwise invisible to the average garbage hunter. Seven piles of distinction were chosen that had the clearest image of what is known as the refuse protectors or heads of the totem. The photos are also a record of what is there before the “neighborhood machine” engages with the sites to transform the strewn and scattered lowly resources into a higher status, a more meaningful source of material, a place where a being, a figure, a totem, can attract and retain one of the Refuse Protectors so that they may make themselves visible to the average passerby. The protectors will then hopefully inhabit the sites permanently warding off evil doers, garbage dumpers and other ne’er do wells while at the same time attracting beneficials to the area.
In the gallery a totem appears in the form of 5 gathering baskets (1 blue and 4 grey shopping carts), and two chariots: 1 male (charred recliner) and 1 female (curved rocker) in the power position.
Mitch Cope works as an artist and designer based in Detroit, MI. He is partner in the design and art duo Design 99 with his wife, Gina, specializing in sustainable residential design and installation art. He also collaborates on the Detroit Tree of Heaven Woodshop project and continues to develop solo work. Although Mitch still considers himself a painter his work tends towards the sculptural of the socially interactive type, albeit with color. He can often be seen sculpting new forms in the dirt with a transformed Bobcat skid steer, AKA The Neighborhood Machine, or installing solar powered lighting kits to illuminate abandoned spaces around his home in what is known as Banglatown.
Born Detroit, Michigan, he earned his BFA in Painting from the College for Creative Studies (Detroit, MI) and an MFA in Painting from Washington State University (Pullman, WA). He was founder of Tangent Gallery in Detroit, co-curator for the Detroit section of the Shrinking Cities Project (Berlin) and has exhibited his work throughout, notably the Vanabbe Museum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, KunstWerk, Berlin, Smart Museum Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. He has an ongoing installation with Design 99 at the Mattress Factory Art Museum in Pittsburgh as part of the Detroit: Artists in Residence exhibition.
Funding for this project provided by