Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wearable art @Luke and Eloy

Last week, I took a trip up Butler Street to Luke and Eloy Gallery. The exhibit that is currently installed was well worth the trip. But the reasons for this galley to be on your must see list doesn't stop with this exhibit. The gallery houses an incredible selection of wearable art.

Michelle Pajak Reynolds

The above work by Michelle Pajak Reynolds is fom her Drawing series of wearable art. Each work is meant to be worn as an adornment; all of them can also be viewed as an artwork on either a platform as a a wall piece. The works are extraordinary as drawings.

Tod Pardon

The pins that Tod Padon have created are ensconced on small pedestals. The pins are masterfully created and ae more of art than the more pedestrian fare that is usual. The pins are generous in size and would hold a space well, either viewed as a sculpture or worn as an adornment.

Arthur Hash

There are several artists creating more whimsical works, like the above beard pins by Arthur Hash.

Emanuela Aureli

These delicate coils by Emanuela Aureli came as both rings and pins.

Brigitte Martin

The above pins are from Brigitte Martin's Prunella Pins series. Ms. Martin, coincidentally, is the owner of Luke and Eloy Gallery. There weren't a lot of examples of her work on display, but what there was were exceptional. Actually, I could have done with seeing a few more of her works; they were stunning. Ms. Martin studied under a master goldsmith in Germany and has been creating her own wearble art ever since. You can definitely see this long and lustrous expeience in her works. One of the pieces that she had on display was knit from fine silver wire. It was absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, I did not get an image of it, so you will have to go to the gallery and see it yourself.

All of these beautiful works were appropriately displayed in this gallery. Nothing was crowded, the cases and walls were installed with a respect for the space that individual works need in order to be properly considered. Ms. Martin has an excellent eye for exceptional and well-finished work.Luke and Eloy is a great addition to the Pittsburgh gallery scene. Definitely stop in.

5169 Butler Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Opening Hours:
Tue - Fri 11-2
Sat 11-5

Friday, January 23, 2009

Benedict Oddi @ Luke & Eloy

You know, I thought that I could get all of my thoughts about visiting Luke & Eloy into one post. I'm not even going to attempt it. It was a very rich experience. So, I think I'll start with Theater of the Mind, the exhibit currently in place at the gallery.


Puppeteer Dreams

The work is by artist Benedict Oddi. The works a really quite stunning. From the artists statement --
My theater-like arrangements of figures in landscape are placed in situations of anxiety and peril, intervened by trace elements of otherworldliness. During the course of these works I have examined human natures, social and institutional conventions. While my reflection was approached through escapism related to utopian and dystopian philosophy, I have tried not to align with one thought or the other, but choose to respond to both concerning the nature of free will.

Besides the really stunning paintings, Luke & Eloy's Brigitte Martin had the forethought to include drawings and constructs by Oddi in the exhibit. These supplemental works provide clear documentation of the Oddi's process in developing the works. Following is an arrangement of some of the constructs that the artist used in developing his paintings.


By itself, or even in combination as presented here, the constructs are only mildly interesting. It is only in the context of the paintings that these sketches begin to take on any significance.

While most of the panels are dark, Oddi's use of color is paramount. The panels glow with jewel-like colors, magnified by surfaces that appear to be wet. The works are small in scale, making them feel precious and even more jewel-like.


Not My Pony

There is a nice balance of formal aesthetics and contemporary images in the works, like the image above, Not My Pony. There is a touch of fantasy, a touch of computer games. Is anyone else a fan of flash games? I play them a lot, probably too much. If there is a pop reference in these works it is in these games, with their blend of reality and fantasy.



Obviously, Oddi is referencing the later-day Surrealists, like Magritte and Dali in his works. The interposing of toys and figurines with constucted landscapes and the use of hyper-realism techniques are drawn from these particular surrealists. He has managed to bing his own contemporary viewpoint to the work, though. I was told by Ms. Martin that the following work is one of the artist's earlier works. I am including it because I felt that this piece was particularly beautiful.


The Horde

The exhibit runs though February 21. It seems like a long time, but it is easy to put things off during cold weather. Keep this one at the top of your must-see list. You won't be disappointed. Next up - Luke & Eloy's fine wearable art.

Theater of the Mind
Benedict Oddi
January 17 - February 21, 2009
5169 Butler Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Opening Hours:
Tue - Fri 11-2
Sat 11-5

Friday, January 16, 2009

Is This How We Treat Our Poets? Is This How We Treat Our Vets?

Richard Leck (1933-2008)

Words Like Kudzu Press poet, Richard Leck died in New York on December 19, and the Pittsburgh-based small press has been working non-stop to try to get him buried. He was a vet, a poet, a storyteller, an artist, an actor, a Greenwich Village cafe habitue, and a sanguine soul, but he died with no next of kin; his body is still in the New York morgue; WLK has been appalled at the amount of red tape involved and at the callousness of Veterans Affairs.

The Village Voice ran a great story yesterday and it got some attention from the NYC Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs. If all goes well, the city may pay for a proper military burial after all. But they are waiting to hear whether the VA cares to approve this burial, which may put the process back to square one.

Richard was drafted and served in the US Army during peacetime between Korea and Vietnam. He saw young men die in combat training at Fort Dix, and served at the first Nike anti-aircraft missile base in New York. He wanted and deserves a dignified military burial in a national cemetery. The VA has been a stone wall: "This person is out of luck," is what one VA official told Richard's friend, Ms. Winn, when asking for the VA's help.

Digging Pitt implores our Pennsylvania readers to write a short note to Senator Arlen Specter, who sits on the Veterans Affairs Committee in the senate. We implore our New York readers to write to the Mayor's Office for Veterans Affairs. The politicians need to know that the bad press is indeed getting out: The Veterans Administration lets its vets fall through the cracks in life and in death.

Links for both Pennsylvania and NYC and suggested message are as below:

Pennsylvanians: For Arlen Specter's contact form click here.

New York City voters: For the Mayor's Office for Veterans Affairs contact form, click here.

A suggested message you can cut and paste is here:
[Issue: Veterans; or Subject: US Vet languishes in city morgue]

I read an article in this week's Village Voice online about recently
deceased US Army Veteran, Richard Leck. It's shameful to hear about
any of our vets enduring homelessness, and I hated to hear that Mr.
Leck may go to Potter's Field, or that his burial may be delayed any
further. Is this how we treat our vets? I hope you will see to it that
the VA gives him a proper burial.

Words Like Kudzu Press thanks you.

Three Rivers Arts Festival to return

Not bigger than ever, but maybe better. Could be.

This year's festival has been shortened from its seventeen day run to ten days. The festival will have all of the same components that previous festivals have had. Including the rain! Yep, TRAF is scheduled to begin on June 5. Historically, this area experiences quite a bit of rainfall at that time of year. With the weather that we're experiencing now, I'm wondering if we'll see snow...

The Artists Market, performances and children's area are all on the docket. The visual arts will return too, although there are no details available on the website that explain what form it will take. Last year's container exhibits had some problems. Actually, there have been several problems facing this component over the last several years, foremost being where to install the exhibit.

This seems like an elegant solution to the problems that have plagued TRAF in recent years. I think it might actually be for the best.

TRAF anticipates the return of gallery row and the emerging artists program to the Artists Market. I am not too sure about gallry row. The participation and interest of local galleries in this program has waned. However, the emerging artists program seems like a keeper. This program is not limited toyong artists but rather to artists new to TRAF that have never exhibited with the festival. I think that this program is a great way of introducing newcomers to the festival scene as well as bringing individual artists to the festival who otherwise might not have considered showing in this format.

More details about the festival are available on their website and the application for both the Artists Market and the Emerging Artists program is already up.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Secretary of the Arts

The following short email plea came through my email this week. If you haven't had a chance, I would urge you to go and sign the petition.
Quincy Jones has started a petition to ask President-Elect Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts. While many other countries have had Ministers of Art or Culture for centuries, The United States has never created such a position. We in the arts need this and the country needs the arts--now more than ever. Please take a moment to sign this important petition and then pass it on to your friends and colleagues.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


The 2008 Drink Tax was reportedly such a success for the Allegheny County coffers, that County officials were eager to migrate some of the funds earmarked for the Port Authority over to other transportation-related uses—like bridge and highway repairs. By now you’ve probably heard this story, and its follow-up: the courts ruled the fund migration a no-go, and the money will remain to be used by Port Authority only. What I want to know is, Why is $12 million considered a "surplus" for a bus and light rail system that recently laid off drivers, axed routes, reduced service on existing routes, charges prices disproportionately high for the city’s wages, and didn’t have impressive volumes of busses running before the latest cut-backs.

I’ve been deeply underimpressed, in fact, by three trips I’ve taken out of my usual routine in the last four days: Saturday I ran an errand on a bus route whose Saturday schedule is EVERY TWO HOURS. Sunday my beau and I were invited to an early supper at a friend’s in Lawrenceville—we left her house at 6pm but just missed a 54C to Oakland. We decided to walk rather than wait 50 minutes in the cold, and arrived in Oakland one hour later. Monday I waited for a bus in Shadyside at 6pm, thinking, “It’s weekday rush hour, it’ll be here any minute…” After 40 minutes of not spotting the 64A in either direction, I decided to walk home, which took about 50 minutes. Pittsburgh, you’re lucky I come from a family of Irish walkers.

Brain-drain no-brainer: Where do young graduates go when they leave Pittsburgh? To cities with viable public transportation systems, so they can work and play without having to buy a car on entry-level salaries or coffee shop wages. Good public transit makes a city feel lively, mobile, safe, and well-provided for; in other words, attractive. I'll gladly admit that so far, I’m satisfied with the bus choices I have to get me from home to work. But Pittsburgh has so much play to offer, too—so many great art shows, theatre events, readings, music, and other creative happenings—let’s get the public transit up to speed so their potential audience can attend those events. Dan Onorato, spend that so-called surplus on your busses!