The Northampton Arts Council works to support and nurture the arts in the city of Northampton. The Council awards grants twice each year to artists and arts groups from both state and locally-raised funds, and seeks to improve public awareness of the arts. Its' goals include maintaining and preserving the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Northampton, programming such annual events of interest to the community as First Night Northampton and Transperformance.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

CHANCE ENCOUNTERS Sculptures by Mutsu Crispin


Sculptures by Mutsu Crispin

March 8 - April 2, 2017

Artist Reception: Friday, March 10, 5-8pm

A.P.E. Gallery

126 Main Street, Northampton, MA

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12-5, Friday 12-8

413-586-5553 /

One’s first discovery of the bouncy ball (or ‘superball’) usually involves a surprise, and extreme delight, as an unassuming little orb of compressed rubber explodes off the ground or wall. In a series of sculptures by Vermont-based artist Mutsu Crispin, balls of different sizes, colors and visceral qualities are coaxed, danced, bullied or ouijaed into place to create a range of immersive visions. Each gaggle of balls is gently squeezed and suspended and — as if a spell were cast over them — time is suddenly frozen, gravity resisted or dispelled. Then begins a deepening play of associations as the balls float within their designs or wanderings, rhyming with their cast shadows, ghostly glows, nearby hardware and reflections. These dear objects from our childhood are animated and transmogrified, speaking in a chorus at once lighthearted, humorous, mysterious and ecstatic.

“Chance Encounters” explores the delicate play of accident, mistake, and meaningful coincidence as part of the process of making work and in the experience of interacting with it. Many of the sculptures feature organic dispersions of balls that suggest essential forms viewed through a microscope or telescope — universes of particles, organisms, energy fields, thoughts or spiritual impulses. These contrast with pieces in which 100’s of bouncy balls are arranged into perfect grids, conjuring a pixellated reality reminiscent of 8-bit computer graphics from the 80’s and 90’s (particularly early video games like Asteroids, Space Invaders, Super Mario Bros., etc.), used here to evoke a range of abstract topographies. Lastly, quarter vending machines normally used to dispense gumballs and stickers are repurposed into participatory art pieces.

Mutsu Crispin is the art alias of John DiGeorge, who spent his childhood outside of Atlanta playing in streams, collecting Legos, watching cartoons, drawing monsters and triumphing at video games. He studied visual art and filmmaking at Harvard, and was an assistant instructor for classes in oneiric cinema (films dealing with dreams and other altered states of consciousness). After working on a variety of film and art-projects in Boston and NYC, he moved to southern Vermont and began producing his first independent feature film, Redbelly, now in the last stages of postproduction. He has exhibited paintings and sculpture, created art installations, worked as a welder, performed as a dancer and clown, and run a small design company. He is represented by Mitchell Giddings Gallery and was recently commissioned to create a series of large sculptures for the newly constructed headquarters of Exelon Corp. in Baltimore, MD.

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