Artists at Detritus Feature Salvaged Materials

Detritus exhibit in New York displays artwork from historic events.

| January/February 2003

  • “Work Glove Dreaming” by Fred Gutzeit, 1983, (beeswax, pigment egg/oil glaze) is ­surrounded by ­discarded and reconstructed work gloves.
    Photo by Fred Gutzeit
  • “April, 1975” by Garry Noland, 2001, (oil paint, National Geographic)
    Photo by Garry Noland

Artwork fashioned from cast-off objects is emerging as an important trend in today’s art world, and visitors to the annual Art from Detritus exhibit, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, often don’t know what to expect. The exhibit features Fred Gutzeit’s collages made from deteriorating gloves, which he treats like treasures and enhances with jewel-like applications of paint. In “Work Glove Dreaming” we read the story of a life—indeed the life of humanity—encapsulated in the palm of an ancient work glove.

Old magazines are better than canvas for Garry Noland. At first glance, Noland’s “September 10, 2001” is romantic—a lone figure cloaked in darkness gazing at the World Trade Center towers. A second look reveals a darker subtext: The figure is from a Life magazine photograph of the terrorist attack at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Some of the artists pair up well. Vernita N’Cognita’s “What Is Lost” uses old envelopes with tea-stained edges to suggest fragility and loss after the attacks. While N’Cognita’s work implies floating movement, Mary Frances Judge’s work is firmly entrenched. “Recovery Red, White, and Blue” depicts two shoes buried under dust and ash—a grim reminder of September 11. These two ethereal works easily serve as shrines, bearing witness to that unforgettable day.

For more information, contact Vernita Nemec, aka Vernita N’Cognita, Box 1149, New York, NY, 10013, (212) 925-4419,

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