The dirty, sentimental, trashy side of things

Tom Pfannerstill at Trifecta Gallery

They’ve been kicked, driven over, torn, crumpled, oil stained and water damaged. They’ve rusted and wrinkled. And this is their story, told in the dirt-smudged marks of their journey.

Call it the never-ending ballad of ephemera—Tom Pfannerstill’s hyper-realistic, three-dimensional portraits of the detritus littering the streets and parking lots of America. In the Kentucky artist’s hands, a candy wrapper, a crushed and empty pack of cigarettes and a flattened cardboard box become sitting models for the lifelike wood-carved and painted portraits.

His From the Street series returns to Trifecta this month, baffling gallery visitors believing that actual garbage has been pinned to the wall. “He’s the master of patina,” says gallery owner Marty Walsh, eying “Paper Oil Funnel,” a 5–by-5.5-inch sculpture of a very dirty funnel, which, unlike the other works in the gallery, exists without the color-rich graphics of brand-name products. “This one’s the most decadent.”

Tom Pfannerstill at Trifecta

In archival fashion, each work contains on its back a small note stating when and where it was found. Whether it’s a leather work glove, rusting metal or notebook paper (a young student’s written love letter), Pfannerstill renders it in an impeccable, carved wooden painting, creating an artifact representing time and place, a more permanent creation of the impermanent.

More ‘From the Street’, through October 25; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Trifecta Gallery, 366-7001. Artist reception October 3, 6-8 p.m.

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Kristen Peterson

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