exhibition slideshow

Three Artists combine in an unlikely synergy of three media

by Jeff Kapfer, Jerry Miller, and Mark Florida

On View
January 22 - March 5, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011
7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

In an unlikely synergy of three media, Jeff Kapfer, Jerry Miller, and Mark Florida combine their talents in "Feather, Leather, Lipstick," PHD Gallery's first show of 2011. Jeff Kapfer paints a new flock of exotic birds, but instead of sparrows and ducks, the acrylic on canvas works focus on more flamboyant fowl like peacocks, cockatoos , and woodpeckers. Also on view are the hand formed, leather masks of Jerry Miller whose brightly decorated disguises range in style from Commedia dell'arte to Mardi Gras. The final element in the mix is the backstage drag photography of Mark Florida which captures in glorious black and white, the frenzy and transformation backstage as the "gurls" prepare to perform. "Feather, Leather, Lipstick" not only showcases these three artists, but celebrates fantasy, masquerade, and disguise. The exhibition is on view January 22 through March 5, 2011 with a free opening reception on Saturday, January 22 from 7-10PM. Costumes are encouraged!

Jeff Kapfer combines his graphic design influence with his childhood obsession with birds to create vibrant light-hearted paintings. His current body of new paintings depicts colorful exotic birds for which he does quick sketches, breaking down their complex form into simple shapes and lines. Kapfer develops the sketches into black and white paintings, and later he adds bold, bright colors. The paintings are based on design elements, focusing on color and composition. Each painting takes on it's own personality; some look cheerful, some serious, but ultimately positive and upbeat. Kapfer earned a BFA from Webster University with an emphasis in graphic design. He has held graphic design positions for companies such as "Build-A-Bear Workshop" and "RIDEMAKERZ" and is currently the senior designer/ art director for the Vital Voice Magazine.

Jerry Miller is a very creative guy. The native Missouri resident has an imaginative "day" job he loves and spends his evenings creating an array of traditional and non-traditional leather masks. He begins by designing a paper pattern and then traces it onto a leather hide. After carefully cutting the shape from the hide, he quickly immerses the leather into a boiling solution to soften it. He meticulously contours and creases the leather until he has fashioned the desired shape and then allows it to dry and harden. Miller hand paints the mask and uses feathers, sequins, and rhinestones to bring it to life. He was the official mask maker for the Mayor's Mardi Gras Ball and personally made Mayor Slay's mask. His work has also been showcased at the Koken Art Factory for both Naughti-Gras and the Alice in Wonderland event.

Mark Florida has been an artist and photographer in St. Louis for 25 years. The former engineering graduate is perhaps best known for his photographs of St. Louis landmarks and high profile events, including the statue of King Louis (under the Arch!), the Forest Park Balloon races, and the Botanical Gardens. His current body of work is an extension of his documentation of St. Louis culture. He creates a photo-journalistic record of the backstage brouhaha at St. Louis area Drag shows. At area venues like Novak's, Attitudes, Korners, and The Complex, the artist captures black and white images of gender illusionists as they prepare to perform and then as they actually perform. Florida has worked as both a professional photographer and portrait painter, but now concentrates on doing fine art which comments on the times in which we live.

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