A Group Exhibition Featuring: Cornbread, Drew Leshko,
Kid Hazo, and Marissa Cianciulli
Exhibition Dates: July 26 - August 31, 2019
Opening Reception: July 26, 2019 5:30-10:00pm
July 10, 2019 (Philadelphia, PA) - Paradigm Gallery + Studio is pleased to present Signs, a group exhibition of works by widely-known Philadelphia artists, opening on July 26, 2019 and remaining on view through August 31, 2019. Signs features artworks by artists who have reimagined the Philadelphia cityscape around us through signage in its various forms. The artists exhibiting in Signs are Cornbread, Drew Leshko, Kid Hazo, and Marissa Cianciulli. While these artists’ works may accidentally interact with each other on the streets of Philadelphia, they have been intentionally brought together at Paradigm to highlight the way we interact with and see signs without everyday distractions. Signs will have a public opening reception on July 26th from 5:30 - 10:00pm.
Though often overlooked, signs are a constant and recurring visual in our urban landscape. Signs have always played a pivotal role in how we see and navigate a city, whether they’re hand-painted, government-issued or tagged. Widely considered to be the birthplace of modern graffiti, Philadelphia has always been a leader in the movement and its related subcultures. Since the 1960s, Cornbread, the pioneer of the graffiti movement, began tagging the city. Starting with Cornbread Loves Cynthia, a very loud declaration of love, he is most known for tagging a jet belonging to the Jackson 5 and sneaking into the Philadelphia Zoo to tag an elephant. With his fame, Cornbread uses his platform to advocate for young, local artists who share his passion for art. For Signs, Cornbread will be presenting a series of new tagged (and decommissioned) street signs.
Most directly related to Cornbread’s contributions to the street art movement in Philadelphia is street artist Kid Hazo. Most known for his humorous and imitative signs, Hazo crafts pieces that parody the heart of Philly culture. For the exhibition, Hazo will present brand new and never-before-seen works that continue his brandalism and ad spoofing series.
The exhibition takes a look at signs that are consciously created by skilled artists, both traditional and contemporary while focusing on how young sign artists have kept the formal tradition alive by taking inspiration from sign painters that came before them. Working within the traditional sign painting trade, artist Marissa Cianciulli is joining Signs for her first show at Paradigm. Owner of one of the first women-owned sign shops in Philadelphia, Cianciulli is a master in the artistry of hand-painted signs and vintage lettering. Inspired by typography and calligraphy, Cianciulli works by hand on meticulously detailed signs commissioned by local and national businesses. Cianciulli will be presenting a series of oil-based enamel on signboard, which captures the historical importance of this traditional art form and craftsmanship in daily life.
No neighborhood captures the importance of signs in Philadelphia like South Street whose competing signs fight for unobstructed curbside views. Artist Drew Leshko looks at fluctuating neighborhoods and streets, like the infamous South Street, and uses miniature sculptures to replicate and document buildings and signs that he believes are worthy of preserving in their current states. In some of his building works, Leshko often includes the graffiti and tags that have become essential to a building’s personality and history. For this exhibition, Leshko will be exhibiting works from his continuing series that archives hanging signs from specific Philly locations. In his piece, Tattooed Mom, Leshko used a 1:12 dollhouse scale to recreate each detail of the South Street-located sign.
Signs expresses themes of community, conversation, rebellion and the seen and unseen through a series of signage art and graffiti that draws on its proximity to the subculture of Philadelphia street art. With bold graphic elements and intricate detailing, the hand-painted signs, bold word choices, and installations portray a playful and larger-than-life approach to art-making and craft. Signs invites the viewer to contemplate their everyday surroundings and pay closer attention to the seemingly mundane stroll down the street.