Christine Buckton Tillman, Janell Olah, Christine Shields

It’s My Party (and I’ll Cry If I Want To), March 2017

It’s My Party (And I’ll Cry If I Want To) brings together the works of three women who explore themes related to childhood andmemory through painting, sculpture, and installation: Christine Buckton Tillman, Christine Shields, and Janell Olah. For the show at Grizzly Grizzly, they will be collaborating on a birthday party exhibition that is simultaneously celebratory andmelancholy. Each artist will contribute a different component of the party ­-- from the guest list to the decorations to the cake. Philadelphia musician, Jacopo De Nicola will provide a backdrop of sound on the kazoo.

Christine Buckton Tillman plays with notions of craft, celebration, and artifice in her sculptures and drawings. For “It’s My Party”, Buckton Tillman will be providing the decorations. Her ceramic paper chains transform the lighthearted whimsy of the traditional classroom party decoration into something heavy, cumbersome, and utterly fragile. Her series of balloon silhouette drawings, made by pooling and drying ink, evoke similar juxtapositions.

Christine Shields traverses the territory of childhood experience in her discomfiting portraits of children. For the show at Grizzly Grizzly, Shields uses the palette of children’s party dresses, cake decorations, and ice cream flavors to create what she calls “color epiphanies.” Combining sumptuous color combinations with awkward facial expressions, she transforms the pain, introversion, and awkwardness of childhood into something empathic and even beautiful.

In her brightly colored, kinetic, soft sculptures, Janell Olah hints at nostalgia for childhood. She complicates those memories with materials and motion that suggest both fragility and weightlessness, as well as gravity. Her piece ‘And yet another year my love’ is an inflatable tiered cake which playfully inflates and deflates. Although airy and light, the piece carries a solemn undertone enhanced by its steady deflating and tonal colors.

Artist Bios

Christine Buckton Tillman hails from the great Northern Chicago suburb of Libertyville, IL-home of the Wildcats. Buckton is her maiden name but she made it her middle name because she takes her grandmother's advice. She acquired the last name of Tillman when she married a nice boy from Maryland who she met in year four of her seven-year stint as an Iowan. After 11 years in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore, Christine just moved to the suburbs. She is conflicted.

Janell Olah grew up in spacious Lancaster County, PA and now lives on a tiny street in Philadelphia with her husband, Ryan, and her two lovely children, Camper (6) and Maybelle (2). She maintains an efficient studio in their tiny basement where she makes large inflatable sculptures and draws up complex installations. She received her MFA from the University of Delaware (2006), and her BFA from Millersville University (2001). She has participated in the Fabric Workshop and Museum’s Apprenticeship Program, the Cooper Union School of Art Summer Residency Program, and the 2014 Fleisher Wind Challenge Series. Janell has exhibited her work in many venues and cities including Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Miami. Her work can also currently be seen in Terminal A-West at the Philadelphia International Airport.

Christine Shields is an artist and musician from California. She grew up primarily in rural areas from the coast to the Sierras, spending a lot of time alone in nature in childhood, and as much time as possible at music shows and drawing with her friends in her teenage years. At the age of 17 she moved to San Francisco, joined a band, and started attending the Art Institute where she studied painting, drawing, animation and film. Many years spent steeped in the counter cultures of San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles resulted in a well rounded creative life built around necessity and imagination. 

Italian born, Philadelphia based, singer songwriter Jacopo De Nicola mixes Old and New World influences into a sophisticated sonic cocktail. Expanding the tradition of the Italian Cantautori, Jacopo enlivens the audience with infectious upbeat tunes as well as introspective ballads and protest songs. His eclectic repertoire is propelled by a rhythmic Gypsy/World pulse and punctuated by virtuosic kazoo melodies that have become a signature of his live performances. De Nicola performs internationally both as a solo artist and with his gypsy-rock band The Late Saints. Jacopo's initial fascination with the Kazoo has developed over the course of the years into a symbiotic relationship. Excited by the extreme versatility of the instrument and its lack of chromatic restraints that turn it into the perfect improvisational instrument (if you can hear it, you can kazoo it), De Nicola has experimented with different models and types and eventually built a rig to expand its voicings.March 3 - April 2, 2017.