Two talented artists recently unveiled their collective works, "Wasted", at the Gallery at the Tamaqua Art Center
Both artists, Lori Remmel and Gabby Smarr, feature otherwise useless objects or discarded scraps in their works, but each of them has a unique perspective about the "junk" that they incorporate into their art.
"I find these scraps very beautiful and spontaneous," said Remmel, referring to light exposed, chemical splatter scraps of photo paper that have been left in the photo lab by her students.
Remmel is the photography and design teacher at the Tamaqua Area High School. Her awareness of the amount of garbage that is generated by mankind has moved her to bring it to the front and center of her current work, "Call for Action."
"It focuses on the current state of our planet and the need for our throw-away society to make some major changes," she said.
Remmel has done her own bit of "throwing away" the traditional rules that she learned when she first took up photography. "When I first graduated, I did a lot of really traditional photography. I've learned that you don't have to be so proper," she said.
Remmel now experiments with a variety of different approaches in her artwork, including how she presents each piece. "That one there is just mounted on a an abandoned box lid, instead of being matted and framed," she said.
Smarr's approach to her work, which is primarily photography, is "to turn the useless into something that is useful or attractive to someone."
Smarr, who credits her artistic and creative family with inspiring her to pursue her own artwork, was also Remmel's student.
"My photography class is where I found that I wanted to seriously pursue art as a career," she said.
Since then, she has turned her artistic eye onto the world around her.
"Driving or riding my bike through the city, I find so many places that people would consider a waste. So many little things that go unnoticed every day, but when they're noticed, they're actually very intriguing," she said.
Smarr is a student at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia.
Smarr's collection features a series of photographs of abandoned toys, automobiles, and other objects that have been exposed to the elements.
"What I find most interesting is this concept that each piece has a history that comes way before me. It comes long before I got my hands on it and decided to create something from it," she explained.
Both artists are experimenting with collage. Smarr takes old photos, or slides and blends them with a variety of different media. One piece of work that is particularly meaningful to her is one that features an old slide of her father going down a sliding board. "I've taken slides of my parents from when they were younger, to me it's neat to see them when they were my age," she said.
One of Remmel's favorite pieces is an old book that she has altered with various scraps. "It's really about taking something and giving it a new life," she said.
Both artists will be featured at the Gallery until Oct. 16. The Gallery is open from 9 a.m-5p.m., Monday through Friday and is sponsored by the Tamaqua Area Community Partnership.