Lemon Grove artist Don Porcella featured at the Lemon Grove Parsonage Museum

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Every artist has a muse that inspires their art, but there has never been a pairing of inspiration and art that spans 15 years, and two artists. Moving from New York, Don Porcella landed in the studio of one of Lemon Grove’s avant-garde artist Harry Matthews. Leaving behind many of his curious collection of handmade objects, they have a common bond, creating art out of unanticipated mediums. This intertwining connection is a match like no other, and is visibly intriguing with the off the ridden pathway of looking at the world through art. 

Every artist has a muse that inspires their art, but there has never been a pairing of inspiration and art that spans 15 years, and two artists. Moving from New York, Don Porcella landed in the studio of one of Lemon Grove’s avant-garde artist Harry Matthews. Leaving behind many of his curious collection of handmade objects, they have a common bond, creating art out of unanticipated mediums. This intertwining connection is a match like no other, and is visibly intriguing with the off the ridden pathway of looking at the world through art. 

With the art and artist on hand at The Parsonage Museum reception on Jan. 28, The Art and Wit of Don Porcella exhibit is aptly titled. His humor in life is seen through the works of his art. Much of the designs that portray everyday concepts, is if as he is looking through the eyes of child. Porcella is the Peter Pan of art in many ways—the boy that refused to grow up. With this perception, this exhibit transcends traditional art and visually expands the reaction of an entirely new audience, demanding the appreciation of fine art.

Porcella’s art is not only out of the box, it’s way out there—in a great way. His pipe cleaner sculptures captures the demons we face inside and out. They tell a personal story, as each one is interpreted differently as they look at comical “Earth Monster,” or his eye bulging “Seeing is Believing.”

Behind the sculptures and their individual or social meanings though, is the art of weaving. Each piece is intricately intertwined in every way and fashion, creating a woven masterpiece. His patterns change to create whatever affect he desires, and the detail is flawless. Porcella called the process, “stitch and bitch.” His early versions of primal man and woman are nearly life size and makes relevant statements that we can relate to today, as if some aspects of humanity will never change. There is certainly something that many can relate to with his “Working for the Man” and “Carpe Diem” sculptures, just as an example of the insight of Porcella’s work.

Purely by accident, when playing with painting with melted crayons on wood, Porcella found out he was turning into an encaustic painter. Now using his own mixture of beeswax, pigment and a blowtorch, his wax-manipulated paintings are a wonder. The art is as much in the process as in the outcome. His control over blending, or sculpting and filling various parts of his artwork, give the same resonance as his sculptures. Each of them makes a declaration of society or personal insights into what is going on in today’s world. His pop-culture style embodies a different view on mainstream ideas, perspectives, in a witty and whimsical way.

In his encaustic art, “Bottom Feeders” utilizes an impressionistic style of a dark side of human behavior as well as “Last Judgment.” “Clear Cutting” makes a strong statement against the logging industry and our misuse of our natural resources.

With a B.A. in Psychology and a B.F.A, he blends his artistic abilities creates pieces of art that touch the mindset of today’s thinking, most of which is as distorted and manipulative as his art.

Porcella treads the fine line of what is socially acceptable by making fun of humanity’s blunders, bringing light to the problems that we face on a global level.

His work is widely exhibited throughout America’s galleries and his reach goes beyond our boundaries, moving both east and west, with his off the charts exhibits that are easily identifiable in most cultures throughout the world.

His move to Lemon Grove expanded his creativity in working with outside mediums and The Parsonage Museum is an excellent place for his exhibit, as his art not only hits the mark on today’s thinking in society, but how this same mindset can be found in the history of humanity.

Presented by the Lemon Grove Historical Society, The Art and Wit of Don Porcella is running through March 31, giving ample time to see his unconventional and intriguing art.

The Parsonage Museum is open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is available by appointment during the week for classes, tour groups, gallery personnel and groups of six or more people by contacting the Lemon Grove Historical Society at lghistorical@gmail.com or calling 619-460-4353.