Assembling mementos in “Time Capsules”


Art Review by Roza Maille

In America it seems like everyone collects something.  Browsing flea markets, garage sales, and thrift stores can be like a journey to another era as you interact with people’s discarded or forgotten possessions.

gwen-waightVisiting “Time Capsules,” the current exhibition at the Summit Artspace, can take your weekend tour of second-hand sales to a whole other level.  These artists hunt down objects and create extraordinary sculptures with others’ rejected goods. The three local artists included in this show, Bret Hines, Gwen Waight, and Terry Klausman have mastered the method of assemblage sculpture.  Klausman, the curator who is relatively new to the local art scene, said he wanted to curate “Time Capsules” to give some recognition to the people who inspired him to make this type of art in the first place.  It has also given them a chance to collaborate and challenge one another in their art making.

As I walked through the gallery, I tried to imagine where these objects originally came from and how they ended up where they are now.  Objects used in this exhibition include discarded products such as car parts, pieces of furniture, bottles, silver ware, carnival game pieces, ice picks, a payphone and even mummified animals (there will be more on that later).

Waight-5366Recent exhibitions at the Akron Art Museum came to mind when I visited the gallery, namely last year’s exhibitions that featured artists Tony Feher and La Wilson.  Both of these American artists repurpose found objects, often focusing on repetition of shapes and colors.  The art included in “Time Capsules” is less about repetition than the work from the aforementioned artists and more about making connections between objects that potentially don’t have anything in common at first glance.

Klausman’s most notable artwork in the gallery is “Did Anyone Remember To Unpack Fluffy?”  Although I’m not crazy about the choice of title, this assemblage begs the viewer to interact with it.  At first sight it looks like a pile of luggage carefully placed on a cart, but upon closer inspection, an optical viewer has been attached to the top.  When you peer through the viewfinder, a mummified cat and mouse lay illuminated on the inside.   This surprisingly eerie sight is something that will stay with you for a while.

HKW_3There were a few sculptures of Waight’s that caught my eye, including one entitled “look, me.” which is labeled appropriately as an assemblage collection.  Filled jars of various shapes and sizes sit on a constructed shelf.  There is something quite satisfying about looking at all the jars together, each containing a specific item, such as rocks, shells, corks, finger puppets, and concert tickets to name a few, meticulously sorted and segregated from one another.

A sculpture by Hines that I found rather aesthetically pleasing was”Smoke.”  I enjoyed the warm colors and vertical lines throughout the piece.  This assemblage is constructed from a photocopy of an image of a factory, along with bobbin furniture parts and spark plugs.  Hines’s use of photographs sets him apart stylistically from the other artists since he is constructing the image he desires for his work.

As a way to draw in visitor participation, Klausman has also collaborated with the Akron-Summit Public Library’s Special Collections Department by starting an actual time capsule.  The public is invited to donate art-related items to the box, which will be kept in a climate-controlled area at the library and opened in 50 years.  The purpose of the time capsule is to gather a sampling of the art community in the Akron area from 2014-2015.  Artists, art collectors, teachers, students, and volunteers are invited to submit a package with objects and documents that represent their connection to art.

Using found objects in art making is something that I find rather intriguing.  I don’t know where I’ll be in 2065.  I’m not sure if I’ll be in the front row to see that time capsule opened or what I will leave behind if I’m gone, but I can only hope someone finds my old trinket collection at a futuristic flea market and makes something really spectacular with it.

Roza Maille works as the Inside|Out Project Coordinator at the Akron Art Museum.  She is also a curator of contemporary art with past shows at the Box Gallery and Nightlight Cinema.  She earned her MA in Arts Administration from The University of Akron and BFA from Kent State University with a concentration in Jewelry/Metals/Enameling. You can reach Roza Maille at