I love those unanticipated hours, where you aren't committed to being somewhere or doing something. Last week, I happened to have one of those little schedule gaps while I was downtown. Putting the time to good use, I swung by 709 Penn Gallery, and I'm so glad that I did.
I very much admire Tom Norulak's work, and his solo, Detritus, provides an overview of his etchings over the last several years. The images are predominantly of industrial and consumer waste, abandoned and overtaken by nature. Not just the softly decayed and greyed flotsam of paper wrappers, though. This series concentrates on larger pieces of waste, like old tires and abandoned oil rigs, and sawblades.
Without exception, the images are in black and white. While the works are grounded in objective imagery, the prints have abstract qualities that show a sense of exploration beyond the immediate. The lighter textures seem gritty and grainy, but on closer examination have an almost crystalline structure. The very deep blacks seem to come away from the surface, or in some instances appear calligraphic. The prints bear up to close examination, providing a complex experience of subject and aesthetics.
I think you can bring your own thoughts to this exhibit; Mr. Norulak has provided the viewer with the information to draw their own conclusions without the condescension of an arts-based "teaching moment" and without brazenly dictating an agenda.
Detritus Etchings by Tom Norulak November 25, 2011 - January 8, 2012 709 Penn Gallery The Trust’s Education & Community Engagement department 412-456-6666