An evolving Pile

George Long and David Baerwalde bring their art to Ponce City Market's Pile

The focus on Ponce City Market, the new-ish multi-use development in the historic Sears building, has been primarily about upcoming culinary fare. But Ponce City Market has also attracted Atlanta's art side by hosting Flux Projects' collaboration with Nick Cave, Up Right Atlanta, last summer. PCM has worked with Atlanta Celebrates Photography and photography group #weloveatl.

In continuing those efforts to include more artists in the building, Ponce City Market commissioned a new pop-up gallery, Pile, in the space next to Madewell. The new temporary exhibition space opened on Nov. 6 and comes from the minds of local artists George Long and David Baerwalde.

Ponce City Market approached Baerwalde to bring his ideas to the empty space. He then reached out and partnered up with Long because they utilize similar creative processes and reflect similar styles in their artwork.

"We've definitely been aware of each other's work and been friends for years," Long says. "When I started sending images to David of what I've been working on, there were a lot of things that were similar to what he's been working on. We both had this ongoing theme that we were working with — different collections of the same idea, that triangular shape."

The resulting exhibition and space share the same name: Pile. As you walk around the gallery space, you can see that Long and Baerwalde implemented the gallery's namesake everywhere, from piles of books to woodpiles.

"The dynamic of just exercising the work in multiples starts to intrinsically form piles of the work and some other objects. That's also the way we are presenting them," Long says. "We went through different terms that sort of exemplified what we're talking about. We could've used fifty other words that would've been similar. But we actually went with the word 'pile' because it's the simplest version of what we're working with."

While they didn't collaborate on the initial pieces of the space, there's still a sense of collaboration between the two artists.

"In a lot of ways, the space is the piece," Long says. "As we are working on the exhibition, I see it as one large installation. We are dipping into each other's palette in a way. I'm using the scraps of David's work sometimes, so in a way, we're kind of in each other's business.

One thing they have in common is their knack for building pieces that are not what they seem. There's an illusion behind it, whether it's due to the materials used or the way it was constructed. Both Long and Baerwalde utilize recycled materials in their works.

"Our original idea was to build a pile of things, similar to a mountain, with materials all around us," Long says. "There's a lot of cardboard that comes and goes at Ponce City Market, some of which we are using to build versions of real things. As far as other materials, we generated our own printed matter and we use organic products like wood, wax, and resin."

The gallery rotates every Friday with new works by Long and Baerwalde and additions from participating visual artists. Coming up in the curated roster are Jessica Caldas, Mike Stasny, Michi Meko, William Downs, and many others. Along with rotating art, the gallery is hosting performances by musicians Danny Bailey and Rafael Villanueva, or, as Long likes to call them, "our living and breathing Pile house music installation," from 7-10 p.m. on Fridays as well.

"We are exhibiting some finished work, but it's not a static show," Long says. "Things are being continually rotated. We are currently curating other people's work that fits with what we're doing. We are not going to wipe the space clean and start over. It's just evolving."

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