Angella d'Avignon uses a vintage camera bag as a purse. She opens it to reveal a name, phone number and address written in black marker on the inside flap of the bag.
"I'm connected to this person just by this object," says the artist and independent curator, eyeing the last name, "Couch," written in large print. "It's like a secret porthole, you know. This leads me to more information, but I kind of don't want to know. I like the space between the facts and the mystery; you can make things up. That's kind of what the show's about, too."
That show is Just a Little Bit Longer, an exhibition and ongoing project featuring works by d'Avignon, Farrah Emami, Jessica Sledge, Mindy Solis and Chantal Wnuk, on view from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 19, at the Spring Valley Swap Meet (6377 Quarry Road).
Yes, you read that right: the Spring Valley Swap Meet, a strange location for anything purporting to be art. But, d'Avignon explains, the thrifty locale is essential to her concept for the show, which sets out to explore the value of objects as things repeatedly change hands.
D'Avignon asked the participating artists to think of an emotionally charged object and then physically remake and reinterpret that object as a series of trinkets that'll be displayed and sold at the swap meet. Regular patrons might not even recognize the objects as art. Those who do might ask the artists how the objects have meaning. The dialogue that follows is what interests d'Avignon.
"It's about the way objects are being exchanged from hand-to-hand as not just commerce, but more about an exchange of value," explains d'Avignon, who once worked for an antique dealer and found the process of determining commercial value for family heirlooms to be interesting, emotional and awkward.
For her own contribution, d'Avignon chose a gold bracelet left to her by her grandfather. The bracelet is engraved with the name "Sea Horse," and no one in her family knows why.
"I love it because my grandpa's kind of this mythical person in our family," she says. "That's what I'm trying to bring to the show. I want people to see where the objects came from and... bring the story of the object to the swap meet."