Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Studio visit - great way to spend a Sunday afternoon

I had the pleasure of visiting the shared studio space of two dear friends. I met Jean McClung when she was president of Group A, one of the artist support guilds here in Pittsburgh. We've shown together several times over the years, and through that long time we have become friends. John Morris was the director Digging Pitt Gallery, where I worked for a couple years. Since the gallery closed, we have maintained contact. They are both extraordinary artists.

I am sorry that it has taken me so long to post about this. The visit to my friends' studio actually took place on February 3, but with one thing and another, this post has just gotten away from me. And it was a lovely visit. It's always great to see friends, but it's an added bonus when you can see the germination of new work. This was a great time to see their shared space, too, since everything was arranged for a group studio visit.

It was my first visit, not only to their new studio but to the Mine Factory. Located on Braddock in Homewood, the building houses artists and other creatives as well as designers and other creative businesses.

Jean is continuing to produce both her illuminated works and her mixed works on paper. I was really taken with this piece.

Jean McClung
Jean McClung

Do you remember hologram cards? I know that they've been produced for Pokemon cards, and the printing technique is used for security on credit cards and even PA driver's licenses. This piece had that affect on my vision, with the surface emerging and receding depending on the angle of the light. It was startling.

Jean's work is a dance of elements. Each piece is intricate, layered in a variety of medias. Diffuse clouds host a frenetic mark making, with extreme values ripping down the page. These are compact, breathless works.

John Morris had installed a wall for the open studio tour. I had seen a similar installation last April. but this one was larger and denser.

John Morris
John Morris
Although he assured me that the penciled lines were a part of the last installation, they seemed more prominent in this one. The lines, although subtle, unified the work and reinforced a musical theme. These are small pieces, incorporated with real objects. Created from found bits of industrial detritus, the work sings a rough song.

John had a few containers of pieces that are new, and were larger and more opaque then the ones that are in this installation. I am looking forward to seeing how he will evolve his installation to include these new pieces.

It was a wonderful visit. And as this winter breaks it's grip on our city, I hope to get out more to the galleries, events and studios around town. I have been house bound for entirely too long this season. So, here's to warmer weather, and the fair art of our artists.

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