Urban Pop: DISTORT, Leslie Friedman, and Jay Walker


Main Line Art Center Twists the Traditional in Urban Pop
9th Annual Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition

March 20 – April 12, 2013

Featuring Artists DISTORT, Leslie Friedman and Jay Walker

Curated by: Amie Potsic, Executive Director of Main Line Art Center

Artist Talk & Opening Reception:  Fri., March 22
Artist Talk: 5:30-6:30 pm
Opening Reception: 6:30-8:30 pm

Closing Reception: Thurs., April 11, 6-8 pm

HAVERFORD, PA (February 26, 2013)—Take what you thought you knew about Main Line Art Center and twist it.  Start with classic artistic training, add in graffiti, skateboard half-pipe references, and then a layer of vinyl tape. This is Urban Pop, the ninth annual exhibition presented in memory of Teaching Artist Betsy Meyer, appearing in the galleries March 20 to April 12.

Featuring artists DISTORT, Leslie Friedman, and Jay Walker, Urban Pop is an exhibition of works influenced by Pop Art and urban culture that explores the expansion of traditional artistic mediums into installation works referencing graffiti, half-pipes, and iconography.  Curated by Amie Potsic, Executive Director of Main Line Art Center, the exhibition is a fitting tribute to Betsy Meyer, who encouraged those around her to push beyond expectation.

The works presented in Urban Pop meld a deep appreciation for art history and classical training with ephemeral, low-fi materials to create incredibly well-crafted contemporary works.  By way of screen-printed repeat patterns on linoleum tile and sculptural references to half-pipes, Leslie Friedman transforms spaces into bright, sparkly surfaces with subversive content below.  Combining his classical training with the creative energy of graffiti, DISTORT creates sculptural works inspired by his admiration of the Baroque and the intensity of present day life.  Jay Walker’s large-scale wall installations combining vinyl tape and repeated iconography deftly reference the visual languages of portraiture, Pop, and design.  Each of the works presented exist in a dialogue with art history as well as our contemporary experience of urbanism and popular culture.

Main Line Art Center has planned a variety of programs inspired by the vibrant and edgy art of Urban Pop. The exhibition opens with a free artist talk on Friday, March 22 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, followed by a reception from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  On Thursday, April 4 from 6:30 to 9 pm, the Art Center will host Artini: Pinot & Prints, the latest installment of its popular Young Friend Artini Series. After the tour of the gallery and a glass of wine, participants will learn about screenprinting from Urban Pop artist Leslie Friedman, and then experience it firsthand by making prints.  Advanced registration required: Young Friend Members are free; General Members and Non-Members are $15.  With Urban Pop artist DISTORT, young artists ages 11-18 will learn about basic graffiti art lettering styles and create their own tag in a Graffiti Lettering Workshop on Thurs., April 11 from 4:15 to 5:45 pm.  Advanced registration required: $25 Members/$35 Non-Members.  A free closing reception will be held on Thursday, April 11 from 6 to 8 pm.  Main Line Art Center’s galleries are free and open to the public Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 8 pm and Friday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.

Combining classical training with the intense creative energy of graffiti, DISTORT has impacted the streets and galleries alike.  Now living in Jersey City, DISTORT earned a BFA from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certificate in Painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 2010, he presented his work in a solo show at the Works on Paper Gallery in Philadelphia.  With subsequent shows in New York and New Jersey, his sculptural installations and paintings on canvas soon combined into his own original formats of “scrolls” and “shields.”  Together with The Element Tree, a cultural showcase and store in Weehawken, NJ, DISTORT has completed murals at Art Basel Miami as well as locations across North Jersey.  He continues to create challenging work inspired by his admiration of classicism and the intensity of the present.

Leslie Friedman is a printmaker by training, living in Philadelphia, who explores print, pattern, and multiples through large scale installations. Friedman’s love for printmaking began in her hometown of Providence, RI and blossomed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she lived and established a printmaking studio from 2005-2007. In 2011, Friedman earned an MFA in printmaking at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University (Philadelphia), where she taught two semesters of serigraphy.  She continues to teach in Tyler’s BFA Printmaking and Visual Studies programs, as well as at The University of the Arts (Philadelphia), and Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA).  Friedman co-founded an artist-run project space in Philadelphia called Napoleon.  In 2012, she was named a fellow at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA) in their Career Development Program.  Her recent project, Half Piped Ideas, presented at ArtPrize 2012 in Grand Rapids, MI, featured a functional skateboard half pipe covered in screenprinted tiles addressing the ups-and-downs of Jewish identity in mainstream American society.

Jay Walker, originally from South Texas, moved to Philadelphia in 2004 to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Upon earning his MFA in 2006, Walker began regularly showing in national group exhibitions at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (Wilmington), Bambi Gallery (Philadelphia), Pageant Gallery (Philadelphia), Artist Space (New York City), Space 38|39 (New York City), and most recently at Center of the Arts (Collingswood, NJ). In 2010, Walker had solo exhibitions at the Abington Art Center and the James Oliver Gallery (Philadelphia) and in January 2013 at the Crane Arts Building (Philadelphia) and Gordon College (Wenham, MA).

Amie Potsic began her tenure as Executive Director of Main Line Art Center at the end of July.  Most recently she served as Director of the Career Development Program at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA) in Philadelphia where she curated exhibitions and planned professional development programming for emerging and professional artists. Potsic has curated over 70 exhibitions at venues including The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and Moore College of Art & Design. Potsic is also an established photographic artist who has exhibited her work nationally and internationally.  In addition, she is currently Chair of the Art In City Hall Artistic Advisory Board to the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture & the Creative Economy.

For over 75 years, Main Line Art Center in Haverford has served as the creative home for generations of community members of all ages, levels and abilities. Its mission is to inspire and engage artistic creativity for all ages and abilities and to celebrate and strengthen the essential role of visual art in community life.  Each year the Art Center educates nearly 5,000 people through its art classes, outreach programs, lectures, and art camp.  In keeping with its mission, Main Line Art Center pioneers a unique series of outreach programs for children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities, and grants $12,000 in need-based scholarships annually.  The Art Center has built a reputation for presenting innovative, thought-provoking exhibitions, while also presenting exhibitions that celebrate community. We offer up to ten annual exhibitions, including seasonal fine crafts shows, in our beautiful, spacious gallery. These exhibitions feature the work of emerging and established artists from across the Mid-Atlantic Region and attract over 10,000 visitors each year.

Main Line Art Center is located at 746 Panmure Road in Haverford, behind the Wilkie Lexus dealership just off of Lancaster Avenue. The Art Center is easily accessible from public transportation and offers abundant free parking. For more information about Urban Pop and associated programs, please visit www.mainlineart.org or call 610.525.0272.


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