Travelers, Liars, Thieves at Garrison

Photo Story
A group of white bears statues

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David Packer, Bears that Dance, ceramic with glaze, each 12” high approx, 2024

The three-person show Travelers, Liars, Thieves at Garrison presents the work of artists Margaret Lanzetta, David Packer, and Niki Lederer, who also curated the exhibition. Margaret Lanzetta’s paintings, crafted with acrylic on satin, cotton bedsheets, and sari fabric, explore the fusion of decorative traditions from various cultures, reflecting interconnectedness between cultural and political narratives. Niki Lederer’s artwork, made from repurposed discarded materials such as umbrella canopies and nylon threads, highlights environmental concerns. David Packer’s bear sculptures serve as a metaphor for personal, economic, and political upheavals. Collectively, the three artists re-imagine the world with united boundaries, new environmentalism, and migrating identities.

A black and white striped fabric

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Margaret Lanzetta, Dazzle, 1919, detail, 44″ x 34”, acrylic on satin, cotton bedsheet, and sari fabric, 2022

Margaret Lanzetta presents a series of forty-inch square textile-based paintings in a bold, graphic palette of predominantly black, white, blue, and red.  Globally sourced, patterned textiles from India, China, Thailand, and other countries are cut up and collaged to create new compositions of layered surfaces. Lanzetta repeatedly silkscreens digitally manipulated stripes, florals, and zigzags on these surfaces to initiate a dialogue between the pre-printed textiles and her patterns. The paintings hang from clear plexi bars and gently float off the wall, reacting to ambient air currents. Others are mounted on solid square wooden panels.  The resulting works, formed by accumulation, also reference modern painting traditions such as the grid, op art, and the Pattern and Decoration movement.

A room with art on the wall

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Installation view

Niki Lederer creates vibrant flags and banners from the fabric of discarded umbrella canopies found curbside, giving new life to these materials. Lederer deconstructs the umbrella gores and reassembles them using a sewing machine into various patterns and color combinations. The repurposed fabric, often torn or stained, carries the marks of its previous life on the streets, adding a layer of authenticity to her work. These imperfections lend a humorous touch to the artwork, as seen in the tattered and torn Bloomies Kintsugi flag displayed in the gallery’s front window. Through her playful art, Lederer urges us to scrutinize our consumption habits.

Niki Lederer, Pas de Deux in Pink, umbrella canopies, umbrella canopy puffs, nylon thread, nylon webbing, grommets, 38 x 21 inches, 2020

David Packer’s installation comprises fourteen small ceramic bears, all monochromatically glazed in white, dispersed throughout the gallery. These figures are part of a more extensive series of 25, influenced by Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian and his use of the phrase “Bears that Dance.” The gallery floor is painted in varying shades of grey to highlight the grouping of the bears, suggesting a collective movement or direction. The bears, while animalistic, display human-like traits; some are depicted walking with items such as a rucksack, a box, a bedroll, a flag, or even on their hands like acrobats. With their strong yet vulnerable presence, the bears embody themes of migration, resilience, and the delicate balance between humanity and nature.

A white bear statue on top of a bear

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David Packer, RoughRider, 2024, ceramic with glaze, 13” x 11” x 8″

All photos are courtesy of the artists.

Margaret Lanzetta, Niki Lederer, & David Packer: Travelers, Liars, Thieves at Garrison Art Center. Exhibition runs through June 23, 2024 Artist Talk: Saturday, June 8, 3 – 4 pm