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  • 3S Artspace Presents: Factory Made, in the Gallery at 3S Artspace featuring works by Michael Hambouz and LeapTwistTurn in the Lobby Gallery & Performance Space Featuring works by Adria Arch Press Release

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    May 13, 2019

    PORTSMOUTH — 3S Artspace announces the upcoming exhibit in the Gallery at 3S Artspace: Factory Made, works by Michael Hambouz (Brooklyn, NY), as well as exhibit LeapTwistTurn in the Lobby Gallery and Performance Space with works by Adria Arch (Arlington, MA).

    Both exhibits open Friday, June 7 with an Artists’ Opening Reception held the same day, from 5-8pm. Factory Made and LeapTwistTurn will be on exhibit through July 14. Exhibits at 3S Artspace are free and open to the public.

    For the Factory Made series, multidisciplinary artist Michael Hambouz hand-cut paper stock from independently-owned, family-run French Paper Company to create vibrant, abstracted scenes of the very factory where the paper is produced. The series provides a glimpse into the operations of the 140-year-old American paper mill by showcasing the production process and machinery—from pulp to the final paper product—in intricately layered collage format.

    “At the time of creating the Factory Made series, I had actually very little experience working with cut-paper and collage---for many years, my work was predominantly in painted and drawn realism, and often figurative in nature. This series was very significant in teaching me to let intuition guide and welcome experimentation—and when life throws you proverbial curveballs, that it is logical and organic for my work to unabashedly follow and adapt,” said Michael Hambouz.

    The subject matter is of particular resonance to the artist, growing up within a mile of the mill.

    “As a kid, I first became aware of the mill, in name, through friends’ parents and my little league baseball coach that were employed there. Its physical presence on the riverside was strong and undeniable as soon as I was old enough to venture off on my bike, and through my little kid imagination, I imagined it being run by beret-wearing exotic Parisians that somehow found themselves in the middle of Niles, MI…it hadn’t even crossed my mind that “French” was the namesake of the many generations of the family running the business,” said Hambouz.

    “And to be honest, I really had no idea of what exactly they produced until college when I started meeting printmakers that were obsessed with the paper. And due to the incredible branding of their packaging, emblazoned with “Niles, MI,” these new friends I was meeting from all over the country had all heard of my little hometown.” Hambouz explained, “It instilled an incredible sense of pride in a shy teen away from home for the first time. This stuck with me for a long time, and I would come to see and recognize this incredible paper over the years.”

    Years later, Hambouz began investigating the factory as a means to reconnect with his hometown following the unexpected passing of his mother in 2012. He found artistic inspiration in the factory and its paper—providing an adventurous new direction in his work and practice to come.

    “I ran into an old high school friend that was working at the mill, and as a positive means for distraction during a very tough time, my fascination with the mill and the paper escalated. And though it was not clear to me at the time, I think that my interest in working with the material and connecting with the company was a subconscious way of sustaining a connection to my hometown,” said Hambouz.

    “Finding myself without any family living there anymore, and most friends long gone or having long grown apart…the 3 years I had planned on living in New York had already become 12, and though a grown adult from a family with very little means, long having learned how to get by on my own, nothing felt more profoundly isolating and permanent than losing your second parent and a notion of ‘well, if all goes south…I could always go home and figure out what’s next.’”

    Resulting from this reconnection with the factory, Hambouz’s Factory Made series celebrates small manufacturing and a geographical sense of home. With this series, Hambouz’s intention is for his work to be accessible to and enjoyed by a wide audience base.

    “Having come from a small town with very little access to art, and essentially being instilled with the notion that art could only be appreciated, understood, and owned by the academic and the affluent—accessibility to my work without intimidation has always been extremely important to me. And I greatly appreciate that this series can be enjoyed for its vibrant, colorful and dynamic compositions and intricate process and relatability of shapes and form, regardless of the viewers’ experience and knowledge of paper manufacturing—while also serving as beautiful example of how art making can serve a positive and healing outlet for an artist, a celebration of family-owned small-town manufacturing, and adapting to and embracing one’s sense of ‘home,’” said Hambouz.

    3S Artspace shares in Hambouz’s goal to make art widely accessible. Executive Director of 3S Artspace, Beth Falconer added, “We think Hambouz’s work in Factory Made will resonate with the community, particularly with Portsmouth's past as a manufacturing and mill town."

    Hambouz’s process of selecting scenes to depict in pieces for the series began when he sent his old high school friend and floor manager at the French Paper Company on an assignment to document his daily routine in photographs, capturing the environment from the distinct perspective of someone closely connected with the mill, its machinery, and the process of making paper.

    Hambouz said, “I went through the roughly 100 photographs, cropped, and edited them down to 21 images that not-only felt like strong and dynamic compositions, but also really drew me in as an outsider to wanting to know more: ‘What is this?! What is that?! How does that work?! Can I please come over?!’”

    When asked about Hambouz’s approach to color palettes for this series, he explained that it was very much dictated by his personal budget as well as the selection that French Paper produces.

    “To be honest, it all started with me spending every penny I had to purchase as much and as many colors of French Paper as I could—approximately 20 colors. And unlike paint, I couldn’t mix them to create other colors which was extremely liberating from my prior process of many years, sometimes mixing one color for 2 hours before my brush would even hit a surface. Since the works are all heavily layered, I would start by selecting a key color to signify the very furthest spatial dimension of the background and build forward from there, which was bananas…extremely challenging,” said Hambouz.

    Working with those parameters, the colors, lighter to darker tones, act as visual signifiers of depth perspective in each piece, resulting in ordinary scenes taking on otherworldly qualities.

    “For example, if one particular yellow had already been utilized to create a background component, it would feel spatially disorienting to use it again in the foreground, flattening the forms into one shared plane. Instead, I would use a light purple, for instance, which would create the depth that I was seeking, but also turning a yellow piece of machinery to purple.”

    “This practice completely turned my prior comfort, and very literal use of color completely inside out. In the end, it created these magical, abstracted, Technicolor environments that were distinctly far removed from the original reference photographs—creating something completely new, and in the end truly capturing the surreal experience of being in huge, vibrating, and unfamiliar space for the first time.”


    Open for the same duration as Factory Made is the exhibit LeapTwistTurn, featuring the hybrid paintings of artist Adria Arch. The paintings are done on lightweight plastic comprised of cut out abstract elements inhabiting space as installation art. LeapTwistTurn will be taking over the Lobby Gallery and Performance Space with the largest suspended piece that will be on display at 3S Artspace is 15 feet long.

    "Adria Arch's takeover of the Performance Space allows us to realize our goal of bringing more art into every space at 3S,” said Beth Falconer, Executive Director of 3S Artspace. “The flexibility of our Performance Space can be seen through the flexible seating, a flexible stage, and, with LeapTwistTurn, through an artistic transformation."

    Referencing decorative elements and colors typical of mid-20th century women’s clothing, comic books, and street art, pattern, shadows and bold colors are used with sharply defined edges that suggest self-assertion. The use of simple and often ephemeral materials, paper and lightweight plastic, unapologetically champions the handmade.

    “Sometimes I'll be inspired by photos or daily life, sometimes memories from childhood. Often I'll just start with a color that I want to see, and then let the other colors follow from there,” said Adria Arch.

    Points of entry physically engage viewers and invite new ways of seeing. Suspended from the ceiling and walls, this work combines the formal concerns of painting while extending into space like sculpture, thus their hybrid nature.

    “I purposely make my work sculptural because I want viewers to interact with them, to bend down or peer through holes, to see the work from all sides and perspectives,” said Adria. “My goal is to inspire curiosity, playfulness, humor, and buoyancy.”

    Building on these foundations found in her exhibit, Adria has invited the element of dance from Boston-based Luminarium Dance Company, featuring dancers Jess Chang and Jennifer Roberts, and live music by saxophonist Ken Field during the Artist Opening Reception on June 7 for an additional dimension of engagement with her work. The performance will take place in the Lobby Gallery around 7pm.

    “I love watching all kinds of dance, and I studied ballet growing up. As I was working on my first pieces in this series, I felt strongly that I wanted to see the human body interact with the work somehow,” said Adria.

    Adria says her work in hybrid painting began after many years as a painter and printmaker. More recently, she was craving something more 3-D, drawing the viewer in to participate.

    Adria said, “Part of what we try to do as artists is surprise ourselves. Where can I take this? What do I want from this experience?”

    Join us at 3S Artspace to explore and connect with Factory Made and LeapTwistTurn.


    ? Opening Artist Reception for Factory Made: Friday, June 7, from 5-8pm. Free and open to the public. (Reception coincides with Art 'Round Town monthly art walk in Portsmouth.)


    ? Exhibition Dates for Factory Made: June 7 - July 14

    ? More info on Factory Made: https://www.3sarts.org/gallery/factory-made



    ? Opening Artist Reception for LeapTwistTurn: Friday, June 7, from 5-8pm. Free and open to the public. (Reception coincides with Art 'Round Town monthly art walk in Portsmouth.)

    ? Exhibition Dates for LeapTwistTurn: June 7 - July 14

    ? More info on LeapTwistTurn: https://www.3sarts.org/gallery/leaptwistturn


    Visit 3SARTS.ORG for more information.

    3S Artspace
    319 Vaughan St. Portsmouth, NH 03801


    3S Artspace is a 501(c)(3) non-profit contemporary arts organization dedicated to presenting and supporting bold, emerging arts and entertainment and to cultivating an informal space that celebrates curiosity, creativity, and community.

    The Gallery at 3S Artspace is an incubator of ideas, facilitator of original content, and is committed to presenting a diverse representation of contemporary visual artists. Each year the gallery presents exhibitions that highlight unprecedented innovation across disciplines, celebrate artistic excellence, encourage lively discourse, and foster an unwavering appreciation for the vital role that art plays in our community.

    Beth Falconer, Executive Director
    (603) 766-3330