Saturday, March 30, 2013

Unblurred + GA/GI = Supersized First Friday

unblurred in April

There's always a host of venues open and fun activities on First Fridays along Penn Ave for the monthly Unblurred series. April brings with it the GA/GI (Geek Art/Green Innovator) festival. In addition to the usual venues participating in Unblurred, Penn Ave will be amping it up with more presenters, activities and showcases.

GA/GI sets the tone for Unblurred with its central theme of green and renewable technologies. Some of the Galleries along the Penn Ave arts district feature artists that work with found materials and new technologies. For instance, Studio 5013 is featuring OZMA instruments: Guitars made of found and reclaimed materials by Jeffrey Schreckengost. At the other end of the spectrum, Edge Studios will present Robotics Artist, Donald Jones from CMU's High Point Project.

There's more than art happening during the festival. Optimus Technologies will be talking about how the next generation bio fuel systems actually works. Plumb Media is having a meet-and greet of some of the co-authors from Baker Leadership's latest book. Empowered in Pittsburgh encourages young adults to extend their handprint and get involved in their communities. Stop by to find out more!

April Unblurred also sees the return of The Clay Penn. Awesome Books, as you might know, is transforming to Amazing Books on April 3. The original location of Awesome Books on Penn Ave is already closed and is making its transformation to The Clay Penn. Stop in and reacquaint yourself with Laura McLaughlin's great ceramic works.

Four Suites

Of special note, I want to mention that I, along with Jean McClung, John Morris and Laurie Trok, will be exhibiting at ModernFormations. An extra special note: the opening reception is on Friday, April 5 from 7-10PM.

This is far, far from a comprehensive list of what is happening on April's first Friday, nor is it meant to be a Best of... preview. A list of events for Unblurred is available on their page and GA/GI's two-day calendar is posted here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Meghan Olson at Box Heart Gallery

Meghan Olson at Box Heart Gallery
Meghan Olson at Box Heart Gallery

Meghan Olson's Platonic Folds and How To Make Sense of a Canyon exhibit at Box Heart is so peaceful. Mounted as vertical landscapes, the works have the feel of plains of grain, drifts of snow and gentle seas.

I imagine them in different rooms, with warm lamplight providing subtle tones of yellow and gold. Or in a room filled with winter light, and the folds almost disappear, marked only by the soft blue smudges of shadow. I could get lost in these, I think, my mind resting in these sweet and subtle shades.

But also, Ms. Olson displays a respect for her materials, with a careful choice of papers and presentation. The smaller prints, shown alongside the large paper hangings, are beautifully expressive, sparkling with confetti color.

From Box Heart's show description:
In this body of work, Olson uses common, often bland, materials to probe for movement and anomalistic meaning in a place, material, or form. The topographies depicted are not real or representative of a specific location or point in time. They exist like metaphors of lost thoughts and inconclusive ruminations. Rather than trying to find a particular magic model that will answer questions or explain things we universally may not know. Olson is interested in the data of the in-between, the reality that occurs when what we think we know and experience collide and exist; regardless of making perfect sense.

You can see more of Ms. Olson's work on Box Heart's onsite portfolio and in the collected images from the exhibit.

Platonic Folds and How To Make Sense of a Canyon
Printmaking and Mixed Media Works on Paper by Meghan Olson
March 5th - March 30th, 2013
Box Heart Gallery

Monday, March 25, 2013

Opportunities for artists

The Americans for the Arts conference will be in Pittsburgh this coming June. I'm sure that there are other opportunities happening around this event, so if you know of any let me know! You can email me at susanconstanse [at] and I'll get it up, time permitting. Here's two that came through my email that sound pretty fun...

GPACFrom the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

Pittsburghers at Large - Enter now for a chance to win one free registration to the main convention or one of three preconferences, AND $50 towards a GPAC membership. How do you enter? Simply illustrate what Pittsburgh is to you via a photo.

You can download our “Pittsburgh is..” thought bubble for your clever photo creation, or invent your own wheel. Submit your photos through our online form by April 5, 5 pm EST. All submissions will be added to a “Pittsburgh is... photo contest” photo album on our Facebook page for voting (one like = one vote) April 6 through April 12, 5 pm EST. The winner/owner of the most popular photo will be notified on the 12th.

I received an email from a good friend, outlining the following upcoming festival:

"Arts In Motion"
Call for Artist

Please respond to the email address provided on the flyer (if you click on the flyer, you'll get a bigger image) by April 15th and pass the word on to any other friends and artists you think would be interested.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fit to Print @ Most Wanted Fine Art

Paul Roden and Valerie Lueth Garden
Paul Roden and Valerie Lueth Garden (Color Woodcut)

Now, this was a show that left me wanting more! It is a really fine selection of makers and techniques, with local and national representation. Printmakers exhibited works created with techniques in wood block, lithography, screen printing and more.

For all of you new collectors out there that want a new piece, prints are a great way to expand your collection without breaking the bank. Seriously good work and excellent technique for extremely reasonable prices from artists that really know what they're doing. Not just in technique, although there is plenty of that.

I am leaving a couple images up; these are indicative of what appealed to me. There are additional works that were bolder and more graphic that are just as good.

Paul Roden and Valerie Lueth (Tugboat Printshop) make some beautiful woodcuts, don't they? The color and detail are amazing, as are the intricate backgrounds and detailed figures. There is something very whimsical without being sappy about their works.

There are a couple of small lithographs from Scott Frish that tugged at me, too. I get a sense of powerful control and deliberation from this very small sampling of his work.

Valerie Lueth, Scott Frish
Valerie Lueth Livingroom (Color Woodcut), Scott Frish Untitled (Lithograph)
From MWFA's description: Large Prints presented by world famous rock poster printers Strawberry Luna, Woodblock super stars Tugboat Print Shop, Lithographs from Texas based Vermillion Press, and More

Most Wanted Fine Art
Fit to Print: a group show of Master Printers
March 1 - 23, 2013
5015 PENN AVE, PGH PA 15224
#MOSTWANTED5015, 412-328-3747

Thursday, March 07, 2013


"Never perfect...Just Beautiful" is the caption for GA/GI Fest. Each year, a mixture of the quirkiest, emerging and off-beat art, eco and tech ideas get a chance to be seen and heard during April's edition of First Fridays on Penn Avenue, an art crawl known as "Unblurred." This year it's on April 5th and 6th so mark those calendars! For more info from the blog, click here.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

March Unblurred

Last night's Unblurred was just amazing! Tons of people out, and some small touches here and there to prove that Pittsburgh is coming out of its winter slumber.

Heaven Didn’t Want Them: New Works by Christian Breitkreutz and Mike Egan

“Heaven Didn’t Want Them: New Works by Christian Breitkreutz and Mike Egan”

Well, the title of the show is a little misleading, depending on your definition of recent. I had already seen a few of Christian Breitkreutz's works that are included in this exhibit, and his site indicates that some of the works were created in 2011. I'm being too picky, right? To counterbalance that, I will also say that I enjoyed seeing the work; the ones that were new to me as well as the ones that were in the previous exhibit.

It is a well executed exhibit; Breitkreutz's and Egan's work compliment each other without being redundant. The works were well chosen, with an eye for color as well as being mindful of theme. Breitkreutz's works have an overt macabre quality, with lots of tongue in cheek gore. Egan's work tends to boldness of shape and flat shapes.

Christian Breitkreutz
Mike Egan

Abby Diamond at Image Box

Abby Diamond at Image Box
Abby Diamond at Image Box
This is a very pretty show, with an emphasis on nice- sized watercolors of mostly birds. My favorite subject! I love birds, and have two avian companions that share my home.

My apologies for the quality of the above image: I took it with my cellphone. Although the other works in the exhibit were as beautiful, I really was very attracted to this one. The work was pieced together on the bottom third, which gave the work an interesting texture and dimension. Overall, Ms. Diamond handles watercolor very well, a media that I find difficult at best.

Abby Diamond

There is as much happening on Penn Avenue itself as there is in the many and varied venues that open their doors on First Fridays. Sorry for the poor quality of this shot, but it's nice to get a picture of this solar- and wind-powered street screen at night -

Solar illuminated street screen, Penn Avenue
Solar illuminated street screen, Penn Avenue
There are several of these street screens along Penn Ave. There's something really appealing about them.

Another small detail from last night was this little snippet, taped to what remains of a parking meter. This one was outside of ImageBox. I spotted another one near Spak Bros, but I had a difficult choice to make. Take the time to find someone to help me take the picture or miss the bus. I am imaging these posted up and down Penn Ave. At least, I hope they are!

Street Lit
Faster than the stars blink on
Of Note:

Put aside some time to really explore the Center for PostNatural History. Because RATS!

Atomic Age Rodents at the Center for PostNatural History
Atomic Age Rodents at the Center for PostNatural History

Shameless plug! Coming in April to ModernFormations, Four Suites with
Susan Constanse
Jean McClung
John Morris
Laurie Trok