Lance Pawling, William Way LGBTQ Community Center

Lance Pawling, William Way LGBTQ Community Center

“Frolicking with found objects offers me the type of climate that fosters widely unpredictable outcomes with regard to each creative thought about or encounter with a material entity. The freedom to make an art object from nothing — perhaps something broken or thrown away — and to work without preconceived parameters enhances my artistic expressions. I apply this perspective when making lamps, sculpture, tissue box heads and anything that shows a different aspect of material being that the viewer may not otherwise have seen or expected.” – Lance Pawling

Lance Pawling, William Way LGBTQ Community Center

Lance PawlingWilliam Way LGBTQ Community Center

The three person show at William Way LGBTQ Community Center is a sweet reward for winning the 2013 Community Art Show. Each of the artists who won, Gina Giles, Thom Duffy and Lance Pawling were given a year to create art to be shown in the lobby of the historic social center. Lance Pawling is a multi-media artist drawn to needlepoint and fiber art, performance art and experience design. The environment he created in his corner of the lobby is like a visual hip-hop nursery rhyme. The space is activated with simple materials that the artist up-cycles into contemporary mixed media sculpture, collage and needlepoint portraits with a sharp wit and bold social statements.

“Pawling is a performance and installation artist known for his work with the improvisational theater group Dumpsta Players. Pawling’s found-object sculptures “provide the viewer with a magnetic vounce through wonder. Evocative, often disturbing and equally alluring, his work redefines our ideas of refuse.” – William Way LGBTQ Community Center

Lance Pawling, William Way LGBTQ Community Center

Lance PawlingWilliam Way LGBTQ Community Center

The collage that spoofs The Last Supper really draws attention to itself with a brash reinterpretation of the meeting of the Lord and his Apostles. I asked Lance why he thinks the piece has such a strong attraction for viewers?

“It’s such an iconic piece. Everyone knows The Last Supper, we’ve all seen it. Even if you’re not raised Catholic, you know it. So, it’s a version of that with Jesus as a woman, the wine is knocked over, and the money. It really shows some of the hypocrisy that religion is, it unmasks the pig.”

Why is he or she wearing a red dress?

“They’re in a dress because that’s what they wanted to be, it’s the right decision for them. You can’t choose it, you’ve just got to go with it.”

Lance Pawling, William Way LGBTQ Community Center

Lance PawlingWilliam Way LGBTQ Community Center

You had a whole year to put this show together. What was your favorite part of the experience?

“It’s really just building it. When you’re actually here installing the show and hanging the strips of fabric on the walls and putting it all together, anticipating this day, and then when you get here it’s like, ‘Ah! It’s all done!.’ It feels good, everyone’s loving it. All of the lampshades are named after women in my family. That one’s Violet with all the colors for my grandmother. There’s Lurelia, Agnes, Amelia, I’m forgetting one, oops, and it’s my family.”

Did your grandmother teach you how to sew?

“Yeah, and all of my great aunts. I spent my Summers as a child with my grandparents in Cape May. They all moved down there from Philadelphia as a family unit and lived within blocks of each other. I would spend afternoons with my great aunts and they would teach me how to sew, embroider, cross stitch, needlepoint, everything, and I’m still using those skills today. And how to make tissue box heads. They taught me how to have an eye for it and how to make product. Because you have to have the end product in mind when you’re making something. It may change as you go but you have to have that detail, that quality that looks good on the inside and the outside. The back has to look as good as the front.”

My favorite part of Lance Pawling‘s installation was overhearing a dad say to his young son, regarding the piece titled Saint Vicious, an exquisite embroidered found tee shirt, “You know who Sid Vicious is, right?’

The show will be on view in the gallery from September 12 – October 31, 2014William Way LGBTQ Community Center 1315 Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA 19107, 1 (215)732-2220Monday through Friday 11:00am – 10:00pm, Saturday and Sunday, 12:00pm – 5:00pm.

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted.

Read about Gina Giles, one of the three winning exhibiters at William Way LGBTQ Community Center on DoNArTNeWs.

Read about Thom Duffy, one of the three winning artists exhibiting at William Way LGBTQ Community Center on DoNArTNeWs.

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