The Cardboard Show – Beyond the Fold, presented by Monmouth University Center for the Arts (MCA) and Parlor Gallery, is on display at the DiMattio Gallery (February 9 – March 22).  The show is a follow-up to the first Cardboard Show held at the Parlor Gallery last year and again features the work of Porkchop, Bradley Hoffer and Jason Stumpf.

The collection of large-scale 3-D sculptures is the result of an immersive collaboration between the three artists who have been friends for years.  Artist Bradley Hoffer says “It’s difficult, but when it works it’s great.  I’ve been working with Porkchop for twenty years now. We already have an idea for our next project.”

The immersive nature of the show, including Hoffer’s larger-than-life robots and Porkchop’s ritualistic figures, attracted a crowd of gallery-goers who mingled with the cardboard robots and gods, taking selfies and talking with the artists.  One boy, Renn Shoemaker, even wore a robot costume to celebrate the opening.

Bradley Hoffer’s J03 3D Credit: Brenda Hamlet
Acrylic on canvas by Bradley Hoffer Credit: Brenda Hamlet

When asked if his robots were representational or a commentary on 21st century society, Hoffer said “I think it’s really about machines as human evolution. That’s where we are going as a society. And I like the idea of the robots standing guard, watching.”

Porkchop’s sculptures are playful replicas of Egyptian, Sumerian, Hindi and African icons. “I like the whole idea of the way religion is displayed,” he said. “These figures are my futuristic version of that, not really assigned to anything. I do murals and commissioned work, but this I do for my own reasons.”

Porkchop’s Devotees Credit: Brenda Hamlet
Porkchop models his hand sewn jacket made for the opening Credit: Brenda Hamlet

Porkchop’s murals can be seen on apartment buildings in and around North Asbury.  Bradley Hoffer’s paintings are on view in the upper gallery of the show and on the walls lining the boardwalk at North Beach Asbury.  

Jason Stumpf, a woodworker for 30 years recently joined the cardboard collaboration last year for the premier at Parlor Gallery. “I’ve known Bradley and Porkchop for a longtime,” he said. “I just started working with cardboard when they asked me to collaborate on the Parlor Gallery Cardboard Show.  Usually, I work in wood making sculpture, furniture, cabinetry, and wooden boats. Cardboard is much faster than working with wood. It’s also cheaper so you can experiment.”

Jason Stumpf poses with his letterpress prints and cabinet Credit: Brenda Hamlet
Jason Stumpf’s Letterpress prints Credit: Brenda Hamlet

Stumpf says that cardboard shows are really important to the artists being seen as professionals, making a living from their art. Most of the works shown are available for sale.

The gallery guide describes the Cardboard Shows as “experimental playgrounds that transcend the boundaries of traditional art and are fueled by friendship and a shared passion for artistic play.”

Bradley Hoffer with Renn Shoemaker in his robot costume Credit: Brenda Hamlet

Dave Shoemaker, friend and fellow artist, attended the event with his son Renn, who wore a cardboard robot costume made by his mother.  “We’ve all known each other for years,” says Shoemaker, “Twenty years ago, Asbury Park was like the Wild West. Bradley [Hoffer] had a gallery called Asbury Art.  He and Porkchop used to make art on billboards and fly posters all over town.  We had fun.”

Brenda Hamlet is a journalist covering trends in the media and arts. Brenda lives in Asbury Park and teaches writing at Kean University. Her contributions will focus on the state of the Arts in Asbury Park.

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