Saturday, February 04, 2012

The word made flesh

StephenTuomala at Modern Formations

Seeing the foot traffic on Penn Avenue, it was hard to believe that it's February. It was a great night for a brisk stroll among the galleries and artspaces open for first Friday. The last three winters have seen heavy February snowfalls, which is a huge deterrent for all but the most stalwart of art patrons. Last night was a happy intersection of lovely weather and a fantastic exhibit.

I have been looking forward to the Stephen Tuomala exhibit at Modern Formations, and it did not disappoint. The show is beautifully installed, and the work is really engaging. Mr. Tuolmala's loose interpretation of the body is raw with tension.

The works are ink on bible pages, taken from a couple different volumes. The larger works were crated by joining multiple pages together. An installation of dozens of skull drawings cover an entire wall, exhibiting a remarkable and subtle variation in form. The work emulates the Otranto Cathedral, with its wall of martyr's skulls. The presence of the work is intense. Across the room are three unflinching nudes that are disorienting. The life-sized figures float in a field of inky darkness, seemingly placid in the state in which they are depicted.

Modern Formations has regular gallery hours, so if you missed the opening, it's not too late to see the exhibit.

Modern Formations
Stephen Tuomala
The Word Made Flesh
4919 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15224
Thursdays 7pm - 9pm
Saturdays 1pm - 4pm or by appointment

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