Pennsylvania native Brian James Spies will debut his latest exhibition, “Ill Communication”, at the Factory Works Gallery in the Pajama Factory, Studio 10 at 1307 Park Ave, Williamsport, on Thursday, March 9, from 6pm–9pm. He will give an Artist’s Talk at 7:30pm. Light refreshments will be served, and this event is free and open to the public.
Spies’ work is provocative and searching. “This exhibition is an examination and critique of the function and consequence of the language and signs and symbols of the restrictive and oppressive social constructs of authenticity and originality,” says Spies. In his work, he merges text, symbols, self portraiture, and scientific observation to transform the individual and mundane forms into a system of critique, using primarily photography and printmaking. His commentary is a metaphor for the inherent failures of our reliance upon these typical constructs of what it means to be authentic.
Spies takes a special interest in the stories that we tell collectively, and as a direct consequence, the stories that are excluded from conversation. “I believe that sharing one’s story is a radical, revolutionary act,” says Spies, who has personally struggled with severe mental illness and battled the stigma that comes with people’s misconceptions of his illness, and himself as an individual. Spies’ work comes from a deep-seated personal feeling of being “othered,” giving him a unique view into “how we talk about things that we don’t talk about.”
A prolific artist, Spies earned his Bachelor of Arts from Lycoming College in 2002, and Master of Fine Arts from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2012. Just this year, Spies’ work has been featured at Susquehanna University, Duke University, and the Heavy Bubble HQ in Philadelphia. Ill Communication will exhibit in The Factory Works Gallery through April 15, 2017.