On Thursday, Feb. 2, Williamsport will be rocked (in more ways than one) by the art of New York’s Paul Kostabi. Paul is the featured artist at the Grey Art Gallery’s month long exhibition titled “From Paul Kostabi with Love.”

The opening reception will run from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Following the reception, Paul’s band “Damn Kids” will play with the Antique Babies at the Bullfrog Brewery starting at 10 p.m.

Paul Kostabi has built his world around art and music. Born in 1962, Paul grew up in Whittier, California and later moved to New York City. After college, he traveled across America and has circulated his work in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Canada, and France.

Some of his pieces remain in the permanent collections of the Paterson Museum in New Jersey, the Guggenheim in New York, the New England Museum of Art in Brooklyn, Connecticut, the Millennium Museum, the Whitney Museum of Art, and the Museion in Bolzano, Italy.

Paul’s work deals with all types of subject matter. He is a visual explorer that is intimately connected to the environment around him. Many of his paintings have the worked-over look of pictures meant to be worlds in themselves. They grab the eye like a stranger grabbing your lapels. They are paintings that love paint: its infinite variability, its stubbornness, its musicality, the energy it emits in contact with itself, the emotions it unlocks, even when it looks as random as spit and drool, as the record of the passing hand.

Some of Kostabi's most complicated works contain hard notes and calculated echoes of other art, in the way an aquarium holds drifting particles of sand and exotic fish, looking less like quotations than fragments seen through thick glass or distorting filters. He has an arresting knack for giving the deliberate and circumscribed the spontaneous look of happy accident and vice-versa.

Paul is determined to be seen but does not worry about people liking or disliking his work. "I get excited about people getting a chance to view my art...". Paul made his Grey Art Gallery debut last month with five mixed-media canvases as part of the Here Be Monsters exhibition.

Also musically inclined, Paul has developed an equally impressive resume comparable to his art accomplishments. Paul was the founding guitarist of White Zombie. He also helped found Youth Gone Mad, which went through several line-up changes as they moved to the East Coast. Former members include Madeline Folin, Dee Dee Ramone, and Joey Ramone. He was also a founding member of the industrial band Psychotica. More recently, he has been involved in his alternative rock band Damn Kids. Damn Kids will be playing at the Bullfrog Brewery following the opening reception.

Other artists with new work on display for this opening include Mike Cockrill, Joshua R. Troxler, Misako Oba, Chad Andrews, Luke Yocum, Matthew Ryan Sharp, Tyler Cooey, Yosiell Lorenzo, Tina Yesenofski, Janelle Whisenant, Danielle Charette, Dean Landry, Matthew Parrish, H.C. Nash, and Aaron Meyers.

Mike Cockrill is recognized as “one of the most interesting representatives of the contemporary American pictorial wave” (Savorelli, Contemporary Magazine, Issue 55). Mike, a Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts graduate and Brooklyn native, will be debuting two of his painting studies. Cockrill’s paintings closely detail the rich transition from the world of childhood fantasy to adult awareness in a manner that is both playfully innocent and sexually charged. Characterized by an interest in nostalgic figuration, Cockrill’s paintings balance the sacred and profane as well as issues of sex, politics, and the suburban family. His recent paintings were inspired by American children’s illustrated stories from the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Joshua R. Troxler is a Williamsport native that loves to explore lines. Joshua takes a lot of inspiration from what modern architects are doing and how they are doing it. He loves seeing completed building designs knowing that they started on the drawing board. Joshua looks at all of his final pieces as if they were drawn to be a building or a room inside of one. Joshua’s goal is to create worlds on sheets of delicate newsprint that show movement, contrast, depth, and visual weight.

Misako Oba was born and raised in Japan is currently based in New York City. Her work has been exhibited internationally in France, Belgium, Germany, Japan, and the U.S., including AIPAD photography shows (prestigious fine art dealer show) in New York, Salon d’Automne,Paris in France and many more. Misako's work explores human life as a journey and is a metaphor for our lives. In her work you will often find the contrast of darkness and light. It is both a deep examination of her soul and an exploration of universal experiences.

Chad Andrews, owner of the community printmaking studio “Paper+” at the Pajama Factory, will have two new graphite pieces on display. These self-portraits are the studies for his “American Worker” series. The focus for this new series is capturing the soul of the United States of America that resides within the individual American worker. This direction moves towards more figurative imagery and drawing directly from life.

Luke Yocum, a former Lewistown native and Chelsea, New York, neo-expressionist painter, will have several new paper pieces on display. Luke has shown internationally and will be making strides out in Australia for his Champagne Hipster show later this year.

Matthew Ryan Sharp, a self-proclaimed gypsy-carnival drifter from Morris, Illinois, will be returning to the gallery with even more colorfully dark pieces. Along with the traditional clown motifs, Matthew will be debuting some of his traditional sign paintings. Within the past six months he has been busy using One-Shot lettering enamel, lettering quills, One-Stroke liners and pin-striping brushes in order to create works resembling signage/advertising of days gone by.

Tyler Coey is a Kansas City born and raised artist. After studying at Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio, Tyler returned to Kansas City and settled in the Crossroads District. Attention was quickly directed to the local gallery scene, which in turn lead to national and international exhibitions. Coey's pieces combine the brushwork and technique of traditional painting with contemporary subjects and icons.

Yosiell Lorenzo is an Oakland, California, artist and graphic designer. Yosiell’s work fits into the saying: “never judge a book by its cover.” At first glance, his artwork is all cuteness, cupcakes, cherries and candy but beneath the facade of frosting and the rainbow sprinkles camouflage, a sadness is stirring.

Returning favorite, Tina Yesenofski from Allentown, Pennsylvania, will have new paintings on display. Tina’s work is about discovering insecurities in individuals, but presenting their bodies with such solidity that it glorifies them despite their weathered, awkward, androgynous or sickly characteristics. She presents them in poses that are powerful rather than submissive because the individuals chosen tend to have an intense lust for life despite their physical awkwardness.

Another favorite, Janelle Whisenant will have more drawings on display. During her gallery debut in November, she developed a number of collectors interested in her studies. Her work is a reflection of stream-of-consciousness – she creates a combination of both real and invented biologically inspired forms. Some are solely playful; while others become what they will in a process described as artistically empirical.

Danielle Charette will be unveiling new work that differs tremendously from what has been shown in the past. For the past few months, she has been slowly unveiling her talents of mixed media, wood cut prints and now she will be showing off her painting skills. Her work is a highly symbolic form of modern story telling. Her Charette original oil paintings and art have been shown and hang in many galleries throughout the US and continue to sell both nationally and internationally. Notably, her series “2752 It’s Always the Same” and “Broke in Brooklyn” have been accepted for inclusion by The National September 11th Memorial Museum.

Dean “Chooch” Landry is an artist who hails from Harlem, New York. Last month he unveiled a series of photographs depicting Harlem in various scenes. This month, we will be showcasing his painting talents. His vibrant paintings have been exhibited in the US and internationally. In February 2008, his painting and engraving works were displayed in a three-month solo show at Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Matthew Parrish graduated with a bachelor's degree in literature from Lycoming College in 2006 and with a master's degree in painting from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2008. He is now the Arts and Entertainment editor at the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and maintainsan art studio at the Pajama Factory.

H.C. Nash is a Virginia native and graduate of Villanova University. Nash began painting in 2002 as a way to escape the demands of teaching and writing. He uses acrylics to experiment in an expressionistic manner. Nash is influenced by the works of Miro, Klee, Kandinsky, Ernst, Beckmann, Rouault, Tobey, Kline, Diebenkorn, and Marcel Duchamp.

Installation pieces will be provided by Aaron Meyers. Aaron Meyers will be showing two works, a video titled, “Something Is Taking Its Course”, and a performance titled, “It Must be Nearly Finished.” These works are inspired by two Samuel Beckett plays - Endgame and Waiting for Godot. The actions captured in the video and performed in the gallery examine basic philosophical inquiries in relation to the repetitious nature of daily life. The video captures, from an aerial view, a series of actions performed on a modernist set. “It Must Be Nearly Finished” examines the paradox of the heap; the piece shows how surprisingly small actions can eventually create a large effect.

Musical entertainment for the evening will be provided by Michiko “Michi” Egger. Eighteen-year-old Michiko has been a professional guitarist since the age of twelve and has worked with many seasoned musicians in the area. As a songwriter, her music reflects her many influences in rock, folk, jazz, blues and country. Her third CD, “Where Your Heart Is”, is a blend of many genres and offers something for everyone but, always, with her distinctive voice and guitar tone. You can check out her music at www.reverbnation.com/michiegger.

The opening reception starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday, February 2, 2012. The Grey Art Gallery is located at 140 West Fourth Street, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, next to the esteemed Plankenhorn Stationery shop. If you are unable to attend the opening, the gallery will continue to display the work for the month of February with regular hours being offered Wednesday – Friday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. extended hours will be available during First Friday. Additional hours by appointment can be set up by calling 570-435-7080. For more information on the gallery, and to see the gallery’s entire art inventory, check out www.greyartgallery.com.

Also slated for February, the gallery will be hosting another night of spoken word. The first two times were such a success that this has become a monthly occurrence. Rappers, poets, lyricists, and more are welcome. Event details are still in the works, but stay tuned to the gallery’s Facebook page and website for more details.