Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Structure at ModernFormations

Structure at ModernFormations
Structure at ModernFormations

Where have the last two weeks gone? I had said I would continue with posts about April's Unblurred and here it is, days before Structures closes! It's such a terrific show, too.

I spoke to Ron Copeland at the opening, and he told me that this particular group of artists have shown together several times. Maybe that's why the show is so tight. In this edition, all of the members seem to be working with habitats in some form or other. So, with a diverse base of mediums, the artists have brought their own concepts to the exploration of abodes.

Megan Herwig | Uninhabited Lands
Megan Herwig | Uninhabited Lands

I really liked these assemblages from Megan Herwig (pictures above). Very clean, but with a nice amount of detail. They're sort of a DIY plan for some theoretical space. Also, Megan Shalonis has a piece in this exhibit too, along with her show at Mr. Roboto, just up the street.

It is short notice, but ModernFormations has regular gallery hours on Thursday. The gallery opens at 7pm, and this will be your last chance to see the exhibit.


Irina Koukhanova: Panoptic Landscape

Irina Koukhanova | The Lookout
Irina Koukhanova | The Lookout

Irina Kouhanova's Panoptic Landscape presents as a boldly graphic exhibit at first blush. The prints are stark in black, red and grey, the cast tiles are starkly simple, and the sculptures are strong punctuations.

The imagery pays tribute to solitary, wild hybrid man-bird figures. In some, the indication of man-made structures dominates. But there is a dystopian theme that runs through the landscapes and figures that populate it.

I like this singular approach to the discipline of printing. Ms. Kouhanova produced prints that were a combination of a couple of blocks, with variations in color and sequence.

Several sculptural works are included in the exhibit, many of which are fully integrated and free-standing. These incorporated multiple materials, with painted wood supporting smal cast bronzes. The imagery was consistent with the graphic themes in the prints.

Irina Kouhanova | Pomegranate I
Irina Kouhanova | Pomegranate I

There is one piece in the exhibit that really resonated with me. Pomegranate I is small, at about 16" in height (with the base, it's 22"). It has delicate patinas in green and red with bronze softly shimmering through. The light play along its twined and curved surfaces is restless and liquid, catching in the seeds of the pomegranate halves. It got in behind my eyes and pulled my stomach though my throat. It brought to mind all those things that I had conquered and the rest that remain.

Panoptic Landscape is a very strong show, and I would highly recommend taking a trip to BoxHeart to see it. The exhibit is open through May 16.

2014 Artist of the Year: Irina Kouhanova
Panoptic Landscape (Exhibit images)
On exhibit from March 18th through May 16th, 2014
BoxHeart Gallery

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tony Feher @ The Akron Art Museum

I'm excited to see this show in Akron after missing his talked about retrospective at The Bronx Museum.

Tony was represented by the same gallery as me for a while.

An artist who stacks milk crates, hangs plastic bottles or places pennies on the floor creates a lot of eye rolls.
But spending time with the work often makes me see poetry and potential meaning in the most overlooked things.

My guess is this one is worth the trip.

Tony Feher

April 12, 2014 - August 17, 2014

Akron Art Museum

One South High, Akron, Ohio 44308
Gallery Hours
Wednesday - Sunday: 11 am - 5 pm
Thursday: 11 am - 9 pm
Closed Monday & Tuesday
Closed on most major holidays

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Spring Unblurred

OMG! What a great night on Penn Ave
OMG! What a great night on Penn Ave (Brian Kane installation on the MWFA facade)

I knew it was going to be great night when I got off the bus on Friendship and spotted that double rainbow. Sure, it was spattering a little, but it wasn't even bad enough to put up an umbrella.

My first stop was Garfield Artworks and the Pittsburgh Artists Against Fracking fundraiser. The gallery looked great, as did ALL of the donated art work. The final count was 78 donating artists, many of whom contributed multiple pieces. Kudos and roses for Bob Ziller, who coordinated the event, making sure that the gallery was in top shape for the opening. There are several pieces from the show included in the gallery at the end of this post. If you weren't able to make it to the opening, there will be a CLOSING PARTY on Monday, April 28th from 6 to 9 pm.

Matt Gatto | VIII
Matt Gatto VIII
 Meanwhile, next door at ImageBox, there was a wonderful little show of Matt Gatto's work: Diametric Forces. I was really struck by the wall pieces in this show. They were compact bursts of light and metal, very interesting to the eye. The exhibit is open through the month by appointment.

If you're planning on going to the Mr. Roboto Project over the next month, you'll have a chance to see Megan Shalonis' Mansion Apartment Shack House. These brightly painted assemblages are sweetly charming. Now, I am seriously old; I had never heard of the game that is referred to in the show title. I did look it up, though. It seems pretty popular, you should see the umpteen number of returns I got on search.

Anonymous Street Art
Anonymous Street Art
One of the the many things I like about traveling along Penn are the random acts of art, like the piece at the right. It was just such a bright bit of color in that grey night.

I stopped in at Edge Studio, but I must have missed the Pyrotopia promo. The doors were up, and the two artists that were there had a nice collection. Louis Boston the "Pi Guy" who does art from mathematical equations and anomalies, had a table of prints based on pi. The robot sculptures of Donald Jones were simply fun.

Stay tuned for part 2 of the first Springtime Unblurred. In the meantime, get ye to the Waterfront for the opening of Most Wanted Fine Art's new digs! The grand opening is this Saturday. More images from Unblurred are available in the slideshow. Image credit: Jason Sauer (for the OMG! image)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Laura McLaughlin + Kevin Snipes | Flow: Recent Iterations in Clay

Laura McLaughlin + Kevin Snipes | Flow: Recent Iterations in Clay

Laura Jean McLauglin is a prolific artist, consistently producing quality ceramic works. Her works, while giving a passing nod to the humble platter and bowl, express a personal narrative through her graphic imagery and sense of color.

In Flow, there is a fair sampling of the colorful works that I have always appreciated. There is a bowl, Polka Vase, whose inside glowed with orange-y warmth. But I was really struck by her sculptures at Borelli Edwards. There were a few that I particularly liked, and they are included in the images at the end of this post.

I was particularly struck by Guerney for a Forest. The expression is enigmatic; the eyes aren't the same and you feel an intent regard. One eyebrow is raised, with an exaggerated arch that goes beyond mere doubt. The mouth is soft and belies the age of that wrinkled brow with its innocent youthfulness. It's an uneasy piece, with complex subtexts.

Included in the exhibit are a few collaborative works between McLaughlin and Bob Qualters. I've included an image below (titled Knowledge), and want to mention the there is a retrospective of Mr. Qualters' work at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (closing April 20).

Flow continues through April 12 at Borelli Edwards Gallery in Lawrenceville.

Friday, March 21, 2014

5th YEAR FOR GA/GI FESTIVAL: Art, Fashion, Firemen--Fun for All!

On Friday, April 4, 2014 GA/GI’s grand 5th Anniversary theme is: "Earth, Wind & Fire." It's a tribute to three of nature's greatest elements. Just weeks before the 43rd international Earth Day it's also to thank Pittsburgh's fire-fighting forces for their tireless, brave work within the community.

     GA/GI 5 (99% free to the public) will be held on April 4 with some events extending into Saturday and Sunday in the Garfield/Friendship business district, primarily between 4800 and 5500 Penn Avenue and it's part of the monthly "Unblurred" First Fridays art crawl. One of primary elements of  focus is “fire.” The festival will host a "Fire Safety/Family Circle" sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield which features a fire truck, fire dancers and a raku pottery firing in association with the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Another venue will host a fashion show celebrating local firefighters titled: Hotter Than Hell.
City of Pittsburgh now recruiting!

Mary Brennan,  Mrs. PA 2013
     The fashion showcase, held at the Pittsburgh Glass Center, will include designs styled by Crazy Hot Clothes, Katy Dement, J. Chernovet, Jazmeen, Elaine Healy, Sew Addicted, Sweetheart and Casa de Bolas and looks created by CAPA High School Students. One of the top models walking the runway will be former Mrs. Pennsylvania, Mary Brennan.
Brian Kane's iconic balloon sculpture
     The "wind" element will be represented at the Most Wanted Fine Art gallery with internationally known balloon sculptor Brian Kane. For "earth" there will be an educational art/farming experience at Assemble's art and technology space. Other key partners are Kelly Strayhorn presenting "The Secret History of Love," a trailblazing LBGT performance by Sean Dorsey (buy tickets for this one) as well as Artist's Against Fracking (free) exhibiting at Garfield Artworks. And you'll see: amazing posters by Louis Boston the "Pi guy;" Don Jones' robot art ; Gyreworks laser cuts (GBBN/Edge Studio), a fire piano, Pittsburgh firefighters, Jody Choder, an expert on raising chickens in the city, and enjoy a multitude of other artistic and scientific experiences. Also on hand to thrill and amaze: Three fire performances: Sirkus Dayz, Steel Town Fire, and Pyrotopia.
From the mouth of Pyrotopia /GBBN/Edge Studio

      The mission of the Geek Art/Green Innovator's Festival (GA/GI) hasn't changed since its inception as one of the key events of World Environment Day held in 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: To present unique, emerging, and existing technology and environmental projects to the general public in an open, artistic venue. Since that time, no other neighborhood arts event has hosted a more diverse range of scientists, environmentalists, green vendors, fashion designers, video designers, architects, art galleries and artists, local businesses, DIY'ers, universities or students in all levels of education in the city of Pittsburgh.

     The festival's dedication of purpose was recognized and rewarded by the Pittsburgh Technology Council in 2012 with a DATA award. The festival is produced by Passports: The Art Diversity Project in collaboration with The Penn Avenue Arts Initiative, a partnership of Bloomfield Garfield Corporation and Friendship Development. Over 50 businesses and galleries will participate in the GA/GI event! Visit the website for regular updates. Click here.

     Contact: Christine Bethea / gagifest@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Unblurred March

Fun a Day at Mr Roboto
Fun a Day at Mr Roboto

Warmer weather brought a few more people out for the first Friday Unblurred event. Including me, and my erstwhile companion. I have really missed going to these events, but this winter has had some really rough weather, not to mention a sprained ankle.

The Fun A Day Project was a fun show. (See what I did there?) Lots of artists took part in this, and it looks like it might be an annual event. The premise is to make and artwork a day during the month of January. It lends itself to small works, but the installation can make them seem like a larger work. This ws particularly true of Laura Vincent's small ceramic pieces. If you missed the opening of Fun A Day at Mr. Roboto Project, you can always swing by for the closing this Friday.

Sherry Rusinack at the Clay Penn
Sherry Rusinack at the Clay Penn

Across the street is Laura McLauglin's Clay Penn. Laura's work is interspersed with pieces from other artists. In March, she is featuring the work of Sherry Rusinack. It's a very inviting venue, full of color and cats. Even on a busy Unblurred night, the Clay Penn is restful.

Sophia McGuire
Sophia McGuire

I got to ModernFormations just before the gallery closed for the night. Note to self: Plan on starting at ModernFormations instead of ending there! I had just enough time to look at the work and get a couple of pictures. The March exhibit, AMALGAMATIONS: Paintings by Brad Heiple and Sophia McGuire, is lovely.The works are textured, color fields. The fields, blended from a disparate palette, remain dynamic.

Although we are nearing the end of the month, there is still time to view the exhibit for yourself. There's a gallery of images for March's Unblurred below, including some from the Amalgamation exhibit.

Head's up to all my fellow First Friday travelers: April brings the return of the GA/GI festival, so extra everything this coming Unblurred. The schedule is full, and spills over throughout the weekend.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Carnegie International 2013 (Part 2)

Phyllida Barlow -TIP
Phyllida Barlow TIP
Last week, I finally posted about the Carnegie International, which is within days of its closing on March 15. I have made two trips to see the exhibit over the last month; I waited until after the second to try to put my thoughts in order. So, continuing with where I had left off --

Zoe Strauss
Zoe Strauss

Special care was taken to involve community groups in and around Pittsburgh with the curators and artists involved in the current exhibit. An apartment was rented in Lawrenceville, where curators and CI!# artists met with selected members of the Pittsburgh arts community. Zoe Strauss (above) set up a portrait studio in Homestead. Transformazium has instigated an Art Lending Collection in Braddock.

Survey shows really are meant to expose trends and not necessarily an individual vision. This survey exhibit covered a lot of ground, showcasing work in several mediums. The artists are from as close as Philadelphia and as far away as China. Some are steeped in the nuances of current art trends while others can easily be categorized as outsider artists. Figurative, abstract, time-based; whatever your preferred form, has their own trends within the larger sphere. A few years go, the term pluralism was used to try to tame the tangle of directions. But it seems now like that term was just a way to make it seem like a fractitious‎ period of art-making had a unifying purpose.

Over the last week, reviews began to roll out for the Whitney Biennial. I was very interested to read what Jerry Saltz had to say. The Whitney Biennial, like CI13, was curated by a team, but included a producing artist along with the professional curators. It made me wonder if CI13 would have been better served if the curatorial team had included somebody whose career wasn't dependent on curating.

CI13 was self-referential, with art and artists chosen that furthered the dialog of the art sphere rather than the expressive value of the art itself. It would have been a pleasure beyond belief to discover a masterwork among the works in the exhibit; something that compelled to action or contemplation. But I think that the art sphere isn't really meant to support that level of work.