Putting the art in artifact

“Artifact,” a new exhibit at Pine Street Art Works, opened Friday night to a sparse crowd. Directors of the exhibit, Liza Cowan and Christy Mitchell, have assembled a collection of items salvaged from various places around Burlington as well as pieces of art by local artists. The collection is varied and includes everyday items such as the glass beads made by local Madelyn Erb and vintage items like a 1917 poster from Spain advertising perfume. But some of the “artifacts” created by local artists had more practical, everyday uses. One of the more interesting parts of the exhibit was a collection of lamps made from old radios and cameras by Christy Mitchell, whose work has also appeared on Home and Garden Television. Similarly, Paige Russel’s pieces featured boldly-colored lamps-made from Tupperware-reminiscent of typical 1960s house d??cor. Russell also contributed her pottery to the exhibit, which included candle holders and, to keep the theme going, vessels for food and liquid storage. Local furniture makers like John B. Marius and Stew Design Workshop had items in the exhibit as well. One of Marius’ most interesting pieces (though maybe uncomfortable) is a chair created from the seat of an old farm tractor. The “Artifact” exhibit featured photography too. Keeping with the theme of human relics, Gary Hall’s stunning black and white photographs captured the unlikely beauty of objects like shafts in quarries and spools for winding electrical wire. Scattered amidst the artwork were time worn objects like old windowpanes, a door with chipped paint, a porthole from a yacht and a metal Chinese checkers board, to name a few. Even the gallery itself is an artifact. Pine Street Art Works’ space previously belonged to the A.L. Whiting factory, and a table remnant from the company’s production space was on display. The table, from the factory (which made bristles from natural fibers like animal hair), exemplifies how the seemingly mundane can become an artifact of Americana.”Artifact” runs through December. For more information visit Pine Street Art Works at 404 Pine St. or online at http://www.pinestreetartworks.com.