Saturday, November 11, 2006

Gestures @ The Mattress Factory

Here are Merge's thoughts about the Gestures Show @ The Mattress Factory.

The Mattress Factory on Monterrey was a mob scene Friday night. They were offering a sneak peek of the latest installment in their Gestures series. This yearly exhibit presents a variety of smaller-scale, mixed media, site specific work by a selection of regional artists. In the past the shows have featured pieces by people not tradionally thought of as artists. It's an excellent way for this internationally-known institution to connect with the community of Pittsburgh. From the looks of the crowd, the majority ofthe local arts audience was in attendance. They exhausted the requisite supply of wine and hors-d'oeuvres within a half hour.

The combination of the mass of people, and the unseasonable weather made the atmosphere cramped and sweaty. These circumstances were not ideal for forming a considered opinion about the quality of the work. The charm of the building on Monterrey is its residential flavor. The brownstone-flavored intimacy of the environment distinguishes it as a memorable destination. But its three floors of small rooms don't adequately accommodate the hordes likely to show up for this sort of exhibition.

Despite my discomfort I enjoyed area favorites like Laura Jean McClaughlin, Shawn and Alexandra Watrous, Brian Lang, Thad Kellstadt, Adam Grossi, Carolyn Wenning, and David Conrad... as well as the photography work of newcomer Anne Angyal. Additionally, it was nice to see the inclusion of Brooklyn-based artist Kate Temple, whose work I recently saw at the Digging Pitt. I'd like to return later and have another look when it's less crowded. Gestures will by up until January 7th.

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