Catch his Germantown exhibit by appointment in this last month of the summer

A chipped particle board from a piece of Ikea furniture sat on a Germantown heap of trash. Most folks would just walk by. But local multimedia artist Anthony Molden picked it up and saved it. Two years later, he created an artistic piece built out of the imperfections in the board. It’s just one of the pieces in an exhibit in his summer show in the neighborhood. 

Anthony Carlos Molden was born in Iowa, grew up in California, and has lived in New York and Atlanta. He’s created different forms of art since he was young. And now he’s made a home in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Molden moved to Philadelphia after meeting and being in a relationship with Ursula Rucker, a Philadelphia poet well-known in the music and literary scenes in the city. He loved the city immediately.

“I love Philly,” said Molden. “I’ve made the best friends here. I’ve gotten the most support here. I’ve made the most money I’ve ever made on art here. You can build from the ground up here.” 

However, there were many life and work experiences in all the other cities. Molden worked in food service as a chef, painted houses, did contracting work, and even learned to do scenic design work for music videos and theater. Many experiences involved tangible alchemy, transforming ingredients into platters, wood, and metal into full scenes. 

Through it all, Molden had a unique vision and a drive. One of his teachers in high school saw it and entered him into a scholarship program at the Pasadena College of Art and Design–and he won. That was one of the early steps into his combination of a self-taught and guided journey into the art world.

He carried that vision and drive through all his varied life experiences, ending up in Germantown, where his newest exhibit at iMPerFEct Gallery shows his prolific expanse of work. 

Renny Molenaar, one of the gallery’s co-owners, knew they wanted Molden to take over the entire physical space, giving him the room and opportunity to really propel the work. “He’s such an installation, environment-activating, creative person. I wanted to push that,” said Molenaar. “I love the trajectory of where he’s coming from and where he’s going.”

Molden has pieces in the show he’s worked on for over a decade and work he’s made just in the past month. They incorporate many different mediums and techniques, using found objects, lighting, and texture to create something completely different from where it started. 

Molenaar noted that even though he and Molden use found objects in their art, they have different ways of incorporating them. “We come to the garbage, to the objects, to these things with previous lives, and he (Molden) uses it almost like it was paint. If he finds a rug or weavings, or different fabrics, he uses these objects to create a texture, light, a bouncing element, to create this visual language.” 

“These are reconfigurations of stuff that everybody’s familiar with, stuff that’s laying around, trees, pieces of car reflectors, umbrellas…,” said Molden. 

The exhibit showcases the spectrum of his work – large sculptured masks, paintings of Grace Jones, explorations of light and texture, and layering. It includes a small sculptural piece he created for Rucker’s mother named “Palmina” after her passing. Another large piece was a tribute to his friend who died from cancer over the last few years. 

Throughout May, June, and July, the exhibit has had many visitors and multiple events to accompany Molden’s exhibit, including a writing workshop with Ursula Rucker. 

In August, Molden will still be in the studio, doing live painting and letting folks see the exhibit by appointment. The space will continue to be activated throughout the month and into September with music and other programming. You can check the most updated calendar on the gallery’s social media. You can book an appointment to see the show by sending Molden a direct message on Instagram or texting iMPerFEct Gallery co-owner Rocio Cabello at (215) 869-1001.