Friday, June 28, 2013

Somebody, Anybody… Everybody: the last hurrah

I went to the closing reception for Somebody, Anybody… Everybody last Friday at ModernFormations. Both of the artists, David Grim and Mark Panza, were there. What a lovely evening! I'm so glad I had a chance to go, since I wasn't able to attend the opening reception.

The atmosphere was very relaxed, with a manageable group sitting around talking about the things artists talk about: art they've seen, art they're making, art business, and technique. There was room to really see the work. Everybody took advantage of the artists to ask for detailed answers about specific works, something that can be difficult during opening receptions.

Thanks, ModernFormations, for hosting these awesome events.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Joshua Hogan at BoxHeart

Joshua Hogan: Innocence and Arrogance
Joshua Hogan Innocence and Arrogance
Do you think that verbalizing about visual arts is applicable in every instance and for every artist? I don't, and I think Joshua Hogan's work is a good example of when speculating on philosophical content falls short.

These are paintings about life, in an experiential interaction that inserts itself sideways into your mind. Do you know what I mean? His paintings reflect the fullness of life, without a narrative and with a diversity of points of view. Mr. Hogan's work leaves narrative in favor of a fullness of exploration.

With all of that said, I reacted strongly to Innocence and Arrogance (above). It's quite striking, for all that the palette has been limited. At first sight, from a distance where your vision encompasses the entire work, there is a sense of pattern and rhythm. Close inspection brings a different reward, with a rich surface texture. While the saturated dashes of color play across the canvases rhythms in a sweet counterpoint from a distance, they become a main player at closer scrutiny with subtle marks and detailed line.

I know I've focused a lot on this one work. The entire show is of the same quality,and is well worth giving yourself some time to really see the exhibit in its entirety. You can view installation images, or Mr. Hogan's portfolio, for a full scope of the exhibit.

The Way and The Wayfarers: Paintings by: Joshua Hogan
June 25th - July 20th, 2013
Public Reception: Saturday, June 29th: 5 - 8pm
4523 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Larchmere PorchFest in Cleveland this Saturday Transforms Porches into Stages

The best events in Cleveland share the same kind of unpretentious neighborhood feel of many of Pittsburgh's best.

Larchmont is a neighborhood in Cleveland, close to Shaker Heights and University Circle. For five years they have invited people to turn their porches and front yards into into low key music venues. Walk around, breath the summer air and move from concert to concert. Even if all the bands suck, chances are this is gonna be fun. Did I mention that many of Cleveland's awesome food trucks will be out there too?

More Info on Larchmere

Event website: Larchmere PorchFest, with schedule, map and all other details

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Somebody, Anybody… Everybody

Grim and Panza at Modernformations
Grim and Panza at Modernformations
I am so glad that Modernformations has a closing reception for Somebody, Anybody… Everybody. I was unable to attend the opening, and have been pretty occupied this month. The work is documented on Modernformation's site, so I am anticipating a really smashing exhibit.

David Grim
David Grim
Both of the artists in the exhibit attend drop-in model sessions in the Pittsburgh area. David Grim is continuing with his work on telephone book pages, but has moved into full color, a real change from his previous works of black marker in his Book of Life series.

Mark Panza
Mark Panza
Mark Panza's work for the exhibit is manipulated digital prints and light sculptures. The examples on Modernformation's site look pretty fantastic. Mr. Panza's work is also figure based. Presented together, the exhibit explores the contemporary paths that are pursued by artists that continue the formal aesthetics of figure based work.

So, with much anticipation, I am looking forward to attending the closing reception.

Closing reception
Friday June 21: 6-8PM

Somebody, Anybody… Everybody
New work by David Grim and Mark Panza
Modern Formations
Runs to June 26th
Thursdays 7pm - 9pm
Saturdays 1pm - 4pm
Private appointments are available by request
4919 Penn Avenue. Pittsburgh PA 15224. 412.362.0274

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

George Nama: Fleeting Images: A Survey @ Shepherd W&K Galleries in NY

I know, this is a Pittsburgh art blog mostly but as usual on my last NY trip I came across several shows of local artists or people with strong ties to the city.

George Nama was my favorite teacher at Pratt Institute; I knew he was from Pittsburgh and attended Carnegie Tech. As great as he was as a teacher, the truth is he rarely showed us much of his own personal work, preferring that we find our own paths.

I had to pop in when I saw his name on an uptown, NY gallery not far from The Met. The show turned out to be a mini retrospective tilted towards very early works from his Homestead youth in the 1950's. Even the smallest and earliest works shown seen to have a quiet poetic power and often strangeness. He is very sensitive to nuance, texture and line.

Check out the catalog and if you are in NYC, check out the show which includes several large drawings and watercolors picturing Homestead in the late 1950's.

George Nama: Fleeting Images: A Survey
June 4th
through July 26th, 2013

Shepherd  W &  Galleries
58 East 79th Street
New York, New York 10075 USA
Tel: (212) 861-4050

Tuesday through Saturday 10 am until 6 pm or by appointment.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Knit the Bridge: just keep on stitching

Knit the Bridge

Yarn bombing began to surface several years ago, as a form of urban grafitti. The examples that I have seen on the internet range in scale from intimate coverings on park benches and trees up to large-scale works that cover the steps of a cathedral.

Locally, there haven't been too many in-the-wild yarn bombings. You'll see the occasional bike rack or street pole with a touch of colorful yarn, but nothing more ambitious. I could be wrong; if you know about larger projects I'd love to hear about them! Purely as an appreciator; I love looking sometimes, it's the voyeur in me.

However, Pittsburgh has an extremely large and exceptionally ambitious project that will completely cover the Andy Warhol Bridge. If memory serves, the project was launched the better part of a year ago by the Fiber Arts Guild of Pittsburgh. I made a point of stopping by the Knit the Bridge booth at Three Rivers Arts Festival this week. Kitty Spangler, who has been working with the group from the start, was at the booth with a couple volunteers. She tells me that most of the blanket sections are complete but that they are still looking to make the black framing sections that will serve as a unifying element in this crazy quilt of a project.

The project is very complex, with multiple neighborhood coordinators enlisting the help of residents in making the panels and representatives from the project on hand at most community gatherings and street fairs. The project's statement about knitting a bridge between Pittsburgh communities is very apt.

There are several ways that you can help support this project. Knit the Bridge recently launched an IndiGoGo campaign to support the project. The funds raised will go to support installation costs, which is no small feat. If you want to get involved in making the panels, there are several drop-in sessions every week where you can go. They'll even show you how to knit or crochet and the company is wonderful. Or you can make a panel while you watch The Newsroom, and drop them off.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

TRAF - Juried Visual Art Exhibit

The three Rivers Arts Festival certainly warrants more time this year than I have been able to give it. I spent Friday afternoon at the Artists Market, and Tuesday I stopped in at the Cultural Trust's Education Center to see the Juried Visual Art Exhibit.

This is, by far, the best edition of this series that I've seen. Comprised of only fifty works in a generous space gives each piece breathing room, allowing contemplation without distraction. The installation really did justice to the work. There are more than several good works in the exhibit. For personal reasons, a handful really stood out for me.

Matty Davis
Matty Davis

I would be very interested in seeing the above work by Matty Davis in strong and changing light. Not a rapidly changing light, but the natural light over the course of the day and the season. The potential for depth and the interplay of shadow is intriguing; I could see myself living with this piece, shifting it throughout my home and contemplating the changes of light that are possible from a deceptively static work. The layers of fingerprints are complex, with the vagaries of coverage from opaque to slightly faded, couple with expanses of completely clear glass. In the diffuse light of the gallery, the main interest of the work was in its subtle shifts of depth.

Seth Clark
Seth Clark creates his collages from found papers, as well as other media. The works are rich in surface texture and intricate in their observation of decay. The contrast between the floating constructions of dilapidated structures and the very clean expanse of the ground creates a dreamlike floating quality. The effect is disorienting, with uncertainty underpinning the perspective because there is no sure horizon or point of physical orientation.

Stephanie Armbruster

From the artist's site:

Stephanie Armbruster works primarily as an encaustic painter, creating luminous, translucent surfaces by suspending pigment, drawings and ephemera between layers of molten wax.

Ms. Armbruster's work is simply beautiful. The layers hold light just below the surface and color blooms across the substrate in gentle shadings, contrasting with stronger concentrations of pigment that provide a map across the surface. Definitely a work that would grow and transcend through multiple viewings.

Thomas Bigatel
Thomas Bigatel
There is a lot of controlled energy in Thomas Bigatel's work. Three of Mr. Bigatel's works are included in the exhibit on canvases that run from medium to large. The expansive gestures of the artist absolutely require the space. I got the feeling that the gestures extended way beyond the confines of the substrate, and that what I was viewing was a fraction of the full spectrum of the piece. The work is a balance blend of impulse and consideration.

The exhibit will be gone in a flash, in place only for the duration of the festival. Fortunately, the venue is open until 8PM for the festival. Please note that the above images are courtesy of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

EDIT: Replaced a couple images. 

Juried Visual Art Exhibit
Through June 16, 2013
Trust Arts Education Center
805 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Opening day – TRAF 2013

Three Rivers Arts FestivalA friend of mine was in town over the last week and wanted to go to the Three Rivers Arts Festival during her stay. So on Friday, we met Downtown and spent the afternoon leisurely strolling through the Artists Market.

As any Pittsburgher knows, the festival not only brings art in its various forms to downtown, it also heralds a week of rain. It didn't matter one little bit to me that the weather forecast said the chance of rain was a paltry 30%. I have experience with this festival and it always rains. So, with a sense of smugness, I packed up my umbrella, made sure my camera was sufficiently protected, and off I went.

It didn't rain, at all. And my companion and I thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Now, I just went the first day, so the artists that I saw may not be in their booths when you elect to roam the Artists Market since the booths rotate among a couple artists over the course of the festival. It's one of the nice features of the festival, and a very good reason to plan for several visits. You can preview the exhibitors for any session and plan your visit that way.

Seth Clark at Three Rivers Arts Festival
Seth Clark
There were so many great booths in the Artists Market this very first day of the festival. All of it was first rate, and spanned the spectrum from personal adornment to fine art and craft. Some were truly fun and appealing, and some were presenting works that spoke to personal vision. Seth Clark is a standout for me. I find his mixed media to be an interesting take on urban landscapes, surprisingly accurate in spirit to many of the less popular Pittsburgh neighborhoods and small municipalities in this region. Mr. Clark's work is also included in the Juried Visual Arts exhibit, a must-see show.

Daniel Baxter's Kreepy Doll Factory
Daniel Baxter's Kreepy Doll Factory
   Highly recommended for FUN! Daniel Baxter's Kreepy Doll Factory is anything but creepy, with it's display of colorful dolls. Each doll is individually named, it's written right on the tag. No two dolls are alike, at all. Really, just tons of variety.

Sherry Rusinack
Sherry Rusinack

Sherry Rusinack
is one of the festival's emerging artists. This is a "Scholarship program helping regional artists produce their first booth in an outdoor show" bringing artists into the market that might never have considered participating. Ms. Rusinack's work is deceptive, with its bright colors giving it a playful appeal. There is a definite feeling of walking into a world in motion, intensely personal and visionary.

Santiago "Chago" Gutierrez, Nicaraguan ceramic artist
Santiago "Chago" Gutierrez
 I believe I have the correct artist from the Nica Ceramic Art collective in crediting the above work. It was absolutely stunning, and I was intrigued by the process the artist used to create the effects.

Aimee Manion
Aimee Manion
Look at that sweet piece, isn't it lovely? There were several painters representing in the Art Market, but I found these to be very fresh-looking works. Aimee Manion's work has this dreamlike quality about it. I love her use of color, really bold but still clear and pure. Kind of like the sound of glass ringing, except on your eyes.

Hugh Hayden, American Hero #4
Hugh Hayden, American Hero #4

This piece by Hugh Hayden was installed next to the Wyndham Grand Hotel. My first take on this piece was that it was illustrating the demise of Detroit and the car industry. Sort of. This was the first conclusion that I reached since from a distance, the black stripes seemed to be the torn treads of tires. Closer examination, however, revealed that they were braided synthetic hair. The following explanation was provided at the site:

Hugh Hayden, American Hero 4t
Hugh Hayden, American Hero 4
To be clear, I didn't find the piece compelling even when I was operating under my own interpretation. The explanation just left me cold. It is not just an apparent lack of connection between the presented work and the intention, but the entire dialog that is missing from this work makes it deliberately obtuse. There just isn't a way to map the intention from the presented work. (There are additional images in the gallery.) By contrast I found Chang-Jin Lee's Floating Echo appealing and quite beautiful.
Chang-Jin Lee, Floating Echo
Chang-Jin Lee, Floating Echo

Right? Isn't that just so peaceful? The work is located in Point State Park, beside the pedestrian walkway. I was soothed visually by this work. It was well placed, working well within its site. So, a theme of harmony, but maybe a new harmony implying a path of balance between nature and man-made intrusion.

The installation works remain in place for the duration of the festival. There are several, scattered throughout the downtown area, most of which I didn't get to see. It's a shame, really, that the festival isn't longer, or that some of it couldn't remain in place longer than the Artists Market.

Please, take a look through the gallery for additional pictures, especially of the folks that I haven't mentioned.