The best time to find trash, Kim Alsbrooks says, is right after New Year’s.
She goes to the drag known as “Two Street” (aka Second Street) in South Philly, the site of the Mummers’ after-party. Along with booze-soaked feathers and crushed sequins, the streets are lined with her preferred garbage: smashed aluminum cans.
Alsbrooks paints tiny, delicate portraits of aristocratic men and women onto Colt 45, Olde English and Arizona Iced Tea cans, crushed flat as coins by a penny press. Displayed in the group show “Recovered Delights,” her oil works poke fun at — and holes in — the “finer” things in life.
“It’s a joke,” she says. “It makes fun of all the things that are held up in society.”
That includes politicians, rich folks, revered families and classical art. The juxtaposition of a traditional portrait of an 18th-century gentleman and a cruddy beer can raises all sorts of questions about class, art and beauty. The pieces can also give you a good dose of cognitive dissonance.
“With the juxtaposition of the portraits from museums, once painted on ivory, now on flattened trash of beer cans and fast food, the artist sets out to even the playing field, challenging the perception of the social elite in today’s society,” explains Alsbrooks in a statement.
Alsbrooks, a Philly-based, West-Prize-winning artist, is joined by other found-object virtuosos like Randall Cleaver, Judith Hoyt and Bill Reid. The works include playful porcelain masks, colorful sculptures made of coffee filters and serious examinations of childhood.
Through Aug. 15, opening Fri., July 6, 5:30 p.m., 303 Cherry St., 215-238-9576, snyderman-works.com.