Exhibits Fancy and Staple Gallery

The Geometry of Yearning

Josef Zimmerman
Josef Zimmerman painting designs in his workshop.

The devil is in the details and in Josef Zimmerman’s case, it’s a Flame Elemental.Forgotten Transmissions” at Fancy and Staple Gallery. In each of Zimmerman’s exhibits, there is a hearkening back to childhood. Sometimes it is a collection of his father’s beer cans, a series of converse Hi-Tops stretching back to his baby carriage or a recreation of his desk at parochial school. The Flame Elemental is a toy from that time, it is a wad of poorly painted, injection-molded vinyl. No moving parts, unblinking eyes, crummy paint job, made in Hong Kong. Zimmerman has selected this artifact to represent his latest body of work for the “Forgotten Transmissions” show at Fancy and Staple Gallery in downtown Fort Wayne. Other pieces include meticulous geometric patterns, hand painted onto raw wood, machine-like and perfect. They offer a calm counterpoint to the messiness of the shadowboxed objects in museum quality cases.

The dialog between the disparate pieces goes beyond simple coincidence. There is a subtext that speaks to the desire for agency in a messy life and the need to create totems against a complicated early life that can’t or won’t be rewritten to provide meaning.

Flame Element
3 toys from the past.

The geometry of yearning for control. What part of this conversation does the single, enshrined bone represent? Is it the finality of death? Do the painted wood pieces operate in the now, suspended, like ourselves, between unwitting birth and inevitable death? Are they an effort to erect some order in the chaos?

Like all satisfying stories, there is a beginning, middle and end to the works displayed, a timeline that presents itself upon further scrutiny. The painted geometrics offer a cool shadow to rest in, away from the relentless glare of windows to the past and future. Linger and enjoy the peace for a moment.

Opening Saturday, May 11, 6-9 PM. 1111 Broadway, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802

(260) 422-2710

Facebook Event for Opening

Curation Fancy and Staple Gallery

Fort Wayne Legend Makes it Happen

Please make your way down to Fancy and Staple and check out this solo show before it is too late.


Fancy and Staple Gallery

Known Particles: the Photography of Josef Zimmerman

Opening: December 10th

Fancy and Staple Gallery

Ruins get all the glory, the bigger, the better. Everyone shakes their collective head at the spectacle of the gilded-age theater fallen in on itself, the sanitariums full of weeds, nature reasserting itself through every crack and crevice.

Josef Zimmerman’s show of recent photographs, “Known Particles” at the Fancy and Staple Gallery is having none of that showy dilapidation. To his eye the most evocative examples of entropy are the small ones. A plate, homey and common, sits on a table blackened by time. The point of view is from the person who left the table, deserting the meal, the kitchen and possibly the planet. You have returned to find the only change is the passive passage of days, the rays of the sun striking the evidence of humankind with its invisible, tiny particles and with each infinitesimal blow, knocking off an atom’s worth of memory.

dailydisIt is the intimate quality of Zimmerman’s work that draws you in and glimpses the daily disentegrations of the past, present and future, in equal parts arresting and mundane.

Known Particles
Nov. 21st through January 27th
1111 Broadway, Fort Wayne, IN 46802
(260) 422-2710

Facebook Event for Opening

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Brett Amory At FWMoA


In his new body of work Brett Amory illustrates his ideas and musings about Fort Wayne. Indiana has been dubbed “the crossroads of America,” and Fort Wayne is one of the main reasons for this namesake.

The city was founded for its close proximity to three major rivers: the Saint Joseph, the Saint Mary’s, and the Maumee. These rivers served as the catalyst for trade, and Fort Wayne became known as a major city. Further development resulted from the Erie Canal, train infrastructure, and the Lincoln highway. This traffic through Fort Wayne brought commerce and culture, helping it develop into the modern city it is today.

Amory’s new work is based on the people and places of Fort Wayne, and is accompanied by a large installation that challenges what it means to be an

“All-American City” and the concept of the American Dream. The installation will be constructed here during the month of November, allowing the public to watch Amory work.

Additionally, Amory will be placing pieces of work throughout the city, expanding his interaction with the Fort Wayne public.

Amory challenges the notion of the American Dream, the idea of resiliency, and the concepts of civic failure and success. A train station serves as a reminder of the robust Industrial Revolution, but the fact that it is abandoned reminds us of the de-industrialization of the 1980s. Abandoned buildings and foreclosures illustrate the housing bubble of the mid- to late 2000s that forced people to let go of their homes. However, the number of churches in Fort Wayne shows a town steeped in faith. Through all of the booms and busts, Fort Wayne serves as an illustration of a city, like many in the United States, determined to overcome and thrive.

Amory also continues to explore his ideas of past, present, and future, and how we relate to our surroundings; our internal dialogue and how it is presented to the world – a monologue. How is a monologue interpreted by those around us, in our house, library, theater, museum, or church? How do we relate to our own community, and how do others relate to us? Amory’s frequent use of flattened perspective serve in part to raise questions about societal perspective and perception. He challenges audiences to reevaluate change, redemption, opportunities, growth, the representation of people and places, the “good” and the “bad,” from churches to outlaws.

Further, Amory’s monologue about Fort Wayne serves as a contemplation about ‘All-American’ cities that have undergone similar struggles and victories. His sculptural use of colorful flowers growing beside a “For Sale By Owner” sign shines light on the determination to rise above negative circumstances and surmount improbable circumstances (be they natural disasters or man-made catastrophes).

Amory’s illustration American Dream, his largest to date, utilizes black, white, and gray to cast a shadow on the very notion of the American Dream. Many of us will remember how the American Dream and 1950s post-war optimism were characterized by television shows such as as Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver, both epitomizing the superficial nature of what we tell ourselves embodies the American Dream. The juxtaposition of Amory’s installation and paintings, combined with his use of symbolism, serves to ignite conversation about memories, community, and separation. Amory’s monologue exposes how past cultural decisions have shaped the present, and how present decisions will influence the future of our communities.


Prepositional Art: Crystal Wagner at the FWMoA

When I was in school I was taught the different parts of speech by a humorless (in retrospect, underpaid and exhausted) English teacher who reminded me over and over (I was not the pointiest crayon in the box) that prepositions show where something is located or in which direction it is moving. “The little dog is walking IN the doghouse, the little dog is walking UNDER the dog house, and the little dog is walking THROUGH the dog house.” A recent trip to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art brings the little dog to mind when I look at Crystal Wagner’s two story installation piece, “Spire”.

The work is a riot of color and shape that stretches from the wide base to the topmost tendrils. It invades your space, or maybe you are the invader. Installation Art has, almost by definition, always expected more of viewers than traditional 2 dimensional works and Crystal’s new site specific piece continues and amps up that truth. You need to engage in all the prepositions with this one; the little viewer is walking IN the installation art, the little viewer is walking UNDER the installation art, etc. This takes time, the art is durational and to truly experience it, you must immerse yourself in the experience. It takes moments of your time to walk around, through, under and into the room and its contents. If you are dead inside and only care to stare blankly at the spectacle, you will not be disappointed, but why not take a gamble and move your body in the many ways of the venerable preposition?

Wagner spent 2 weeks organizing and executing the sensory experience. She insists that it could not exist anywhere else in the world but in this room, (Gallery 3 in the Fort Wayne Museum of Art) at this time (until October 23rd, 2016). Paroxysm: A New Body of Work by Crystal Wagner, curated by Josef Zimmerman. Fort Wayne Museum of Art, 311 Main Street, Fort Wayne, IN

Curation Fancy and Staple Gallery

To The Letter: Justin Lim at Fancy & Staple

Justin Lim’s exhibition of recent works at the Fancy & Staple gallery is a testament to the steady hand and exacting eye of its creator. The line work is executed without the benefit of rulers, vinyl or tape, just Justin and the glass or the wood or the taxidermy fish. The lines are bold and sometimes retina searing. The subject matter references West Coast car culture and flash art found in mid-20th Century tattoo parlors. Yet, something is amiss. That snarling tiger chest-piece is a deformed, three-eyed monster. That panther rampant reveals a drooling Rat Fink head.

It is this dissonance that makes the work about more than just the process. There is a knowing subtext that is both surreal (in the “Looney Tunes” school of twisted reality), and commonplace (in the “This is the tattoo your seafaring grandpa had on his arm.” school of the everyday.)

The trio of taxidermy fish is the most subtle reminder of death, the absurdity of life and redneck cultural appropriation. The fish are the product of the bygone ritual of enshrining the vacation’s best catch for all to see. They are proxies for prowess, but these trophies have fallen out of fashion and now must endure the humiliation of being marked with fleeting, often snide, Internet slang. “IDGAF” brands  a salmon that’s seen better days. The letters “HOLA”, rendered in letters so perfect they seem like computer-aided hallucinations, levitate off the side of a largemouth bass. The preserved and mounted fish represent the wish of the fisherman to forever display dominion, hearkening back to the cult of the gentleman sportsman of Victorian England/Theodore Roosevelt era. By branding these symbols of trashed antiquity with transient, digital-age slang, Lim thumbs his nose at the self-aggrandizing tropes of each age.


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Tanner Wilson at the Fancy and Staple Gallery

Crowd at F&S

“Why the Hell not?” Tanner Wilson ponders the eternal question in his latest body of work on display at the boutique gallery, Fancy and Staple. Why indeed? Cartoon icons float on cotton candy colored backgrounds, utterly devoid of rendering or, if you believe Tanner’s own words, meaning. Inspired by random words, sentences and images, it is apparent that Mr. Wilson is not just in the midst of a post-graduate rejection of ART-SCHOOL gestalt, but rather, is actively tapping into a deep wellspring of pre-loaded, potent images.

This is Tanner’s Fort Wayne solo debut. He grew up in the Fort Wayne Area and attended St. Francis but has since relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. This show is a homecoming of sorts. Friends, family and even strangers filled the small reception. Many laid their money down to own a piece of /by Tanner Wilson. The night was a success.

Painting of a cut-off tiger head, floating to the bottom of the sea
“Younger Days” 12×12  Acrylic on panel $500

A painting called “Younger Days” shows a disembodied tiger’s head floating suspended in perfect azure. Tiny bubbles escape to the surface while a straight razor drifts down in tandem. The eyes are open and staring, uncomprehending as the blood flows in the red ribbons of a sunburst, wreathing the face. The tiger would like to look away, but there is nothing left to do but watch as the last bits of consciousness recede. He is carried inexorably to the bottom. Happy Mother’s Day.


This show runs April 25th to July 2nd, 2016. For more information about sales of Tanner’s work, please contact the Fancy and Staple Gallery at (260) 422-2710.

Curation Fancy and Staple Gallery

St. Monci Show at Fancy and Staple

Opening Event: March 12th 5-7

‘Unmanned Missions’–New work by St. Monci Fancy and Staple Gallery March 1st-April 24th Curated by Josef Zimmerman

The Fancy and Staple Gallery (1111 Broadway, Fort Wayne, IN) is set to open an exhibition of paintings from New York based artist, St. Monci.

Working from his studio in Rochester, he has carefully crafted a cohesive, abstract body of work that is based on pure geometrical elements in relationships that suggest floating mono- liths in space.

The order and precision of line references the craftsmanship of a blueprint and the choice of color reveals a refined and subtle command of the color wheel. Each work is displayed in a bespoke frame whose rounded corners contribute to the overall impression of old world atten- tion to detail. Monci’s use of non-representational imagery and geometrical forms in pictorial space create a Zen-like atmosphere that invites quiet contemplation.

It’s what the Russian Constructivists would have made had they been able to continue to create outside the sound and fury of revolution. If anything, St. Monci’s works are propaganda of another kind, promoting a life of appreciation for the chance intersections of shape and color ascending and descending in front of an infinity wall of subtle hues. The shapes are painted in the preferred medium of precision renderers everywhere, gouache.

St. Monci was raised in Puerto Rico where he lived up through his teenage years. He went on to study at SUNY Oswego where he received his BFA and MA. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in New York State, Oregon, New Jersey, California, Washington D.C. and Canada.IMG_4812


1835 Crew Exhibit at the FWMoA

An Artists’ Colony Grows on Calhoun Street

Sometimes the simple act of standing near another person who is deep in thought, hands moving quickly and with purpose over a blank canvas can spark creativity. Walking past 1835 S. Calhoun Street on any given evening and you are liable to see lights on and evidence of this communal spark of inspiration. The second floor of this building is slowly being renovated from raw space into finished rooms and as windows are replaced and electricity installed, local artists step in to fill a much needed space.

A group of the visual artists from this location have banded together to form a loose collective named the 1835 Crew. The moniker was chosen more as a nod to their combined interests in contemporary art movements than to any actual street cred. They have collected a sampling of their individual pieces into a show that is currently on display at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art named “The 1835 Crew is…” with the ellipsis standing in for the wide variation of subjects and styles. The spaces draw many of Fort Wayne’s motivated makers: there are musicians, web designers and even a record label, but it was the visual types that found themselves bonding over a shared loft.

Bob Storey, longtime Fort Wayne illustrator to the many local bands and clubs in town, brings his brightly colored, precision styled graphic works to a large scale, with bubblegum colors and perfect, pitch black outlines depicting icons of the American dream. He has been at the 1835 building the longest of the four and finds inspiration in the scenes of the skyline. “The view north towards downtown along with the city noise or silence is always a nice start and finish to each session.”

Josef Zimmerman’s meticulously framed photo installations find curious connections between the empty and decaying exteriors of buildings and the carefully crafted steel, plexiglass and wood constructions that support them. He finds his subjects locally as he hikes through the Fort Wayne area, often times he will “… trek around aimlessly trying to get lost in hopes of discovering that one composition.”

Daniel Denielt’s works delve deeply into the world of color, texture and shape. Outlines of a young man repeat endlessly, distorted by waves of saturated tones. His works are built from the panel up, many times sanded and restarted. He says that he is “…always sanding off work in progress and finish works. I enjoy watching new layers develop. That usually brings on new ideas and directions for me to move forward.“ He finds his inspiration in nature and “from the smallest details to the largest objects surrounding me.”

Kay Gregg’s colorful multimedia visions are populated with the machines of convenience for a bygone era. Fully threaded film projectors stand motionless and silent, both in person and in effigy. The real object is displayed on a pedestal next to the artist’s interpretation. On the wall hangs detailed, almost technical portrayals of the 2 track, reel-to-reel tape player, or the dark lensed 8mm film camera. Why bother with junk no one uses? “It used to take a great deal of effort to document the embarrassing, tragic or poignant moments of our lives. Sometimes the product was disappointing, but in way, more real.“

“1835 Crew is…” will be on display at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art from December 19th through February 28th. Meet the artists at the January 30th museum event, ArtScene, from 7-9pm with an artists’ panel discussion with snacks and a cash bar. 1835posterF3


‘Invisible College’ was a success

We have been busy over here and wish we could have posted more along the way but here is a nice wrap up. Thank you everyone who came out from Fort Wayne, Detroit, Chicago, and Nashville. Thank you everyone who travelled and for the support.

Co-curated by Andrew Hosner, Shawn Hosner & Josef Zimmerman
Dedicated to the energy and strength of its growing visibility and recognition, Invisible College explores the aesthetics of a movement that has devised its own course; one that has been largely defined outside of institutional contexts. Moving away from the standard art education model that demands graduate school, an excess of critical rhetoric and an art world careerism, these artists, many of whom are self-taught, have sought their own inspiration and voice instead, drawing on everything from popular culture and social media platforms, to street art, murals and graffiti. By creating a distinct community in support of the diversity of its visions and styles, the movement has mortared and upheld its own invisible school.

In part on a rejection of the arbitrary division of visual culture that tends to elevate “high art” above the social and popular realms, the movement invoked the countercultural and drew content from an immersion in social experience. The standard of excessive academicism and abstraction, against which it grew, was commonly held in higher regard than more figurative, graphic or representational forms of art. This marginalization inspired the New Contemporary movement to set its own terms and create its own context for the reception of its work. With a renewed emphasis on technical skill, narrative and representation, it has encouraged a social return in art. The Invisible College captures the energetic irreverence and variety that has continued to shape the movement and its spirit of self-determinism. The works included in this exhibition range from the illustrative and graphic, to the surreal and figurative, embodying in one way or another the populist sensibility that makes the movement so exciting, current and relatable.

Invisible College offers a cross-section of some of the most exciting artists working in the New Contemporary genre. As it continues to evolve and expand, the movement embraces talent from all over the world and ushers in a new-guard that seeks to increase the social and popular relevance of contemporary art. Rather than limiting their work’s reception to art world initiates, these artists create pieces inspired by popular and street cultures, summoning the world back into art rather than championing its exclusion and remove.

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