oranje - recent posts from my current home

Sunday, October 08, 2006

October Unblurred

First Fridays on Penn Avenue are starting to be an energising art event. New venues have opened since last year and some businesses are offering their space to artists for display. One of the dual use businesses is Carolyn Wenning's (c)space. The building is her studio, so during the month the space used for presentation during Unblurred reverts to a workspace. Light and open, it is ideal for both purposes.


(c)space had a strong show: DIAGRAMS, MOCK-UPS AND MAPPINGS. I have been trying something different with my camera: shooting the labels for the pieces to record the name of the artist and the title of the work. Unfortunately, things did not work out for the image on top; all I can make out is Nicholas and Untitled Series for the title. The series were figures drawn on graph paper and framed with distressed metal. At bottom was a mixed medium piece by Adam Walsh.
Modern Formations
Modern Formations had Introspections: The Artwork of Taya Hanauer. Modern Formations is a smallish space, with two rooms connected by a narrow hallway. I don't often think about the space that a show is in unless it has some bearing on the work. In this case, it is pertinent. The two rooms and the hall were hung with work. The front room had about a dozen framed drawings. The work was intuitive, but figure-based. Along the top of the wall leading into the hall were roughly drawn, illustrative figures, reminiscent of some comic book art. The figures were repeated in the hall but as digital prints and drawings on wood. The back room of the gallery is painted a dark eggplant. Here, the comic book character came out and really played in several mediums. Large-scale stencils, drawings on paper and wood and some evocative digital images. I had hoped to find more of the artist's work online, but she doesn't seem to have a website.

Imagebox is another venue that doubles as a full time business and presenter. This month, the work on exhibit was Charles Smith III's Autumn Abstract. The colors were rich and vibrant, much like the palette he prefers in the works presented on his website. It could be that this exhibit is a new direction for Mr. Smith since they are a radical departure from the figurative work for which he is known. The above image is one of the smallest in the exhibit and seemed to me to be the most interesting.

Garfield Artworks
The mob scene at Garfield Artworks was overwhelming. Tons of people dropped in for the show. Or maybe they were all there at the same time as me!

Garfield Artworks presented the work of five artists in the City of Monsters. The works were as crowded on the walls as the patrons were on the floor. Not a lot of breathing room for such active work.comic art seemed to be a theme here as well as at Modern Formations. There was an illustrative quality to the work. Pictured at top is one of Ben Kehoe's paintings. At bottom, one of Joe Bruce's works on paper. Bruce's work, though still informed by the aesthetics of comic book artistry, seemed to reach beyond the rather limited visual appeal to something that was of greater complexity.

Most Wanted Fine Art

Most Wanted Fine Art is not quite ready to open its doors, so they had a sidewalk show featuring Jason Sauer, Gene Fenton and quite a few others. Walking up Penn Avenue from Garfielsd Artworks, I was pleased to see art set up on the sidewalk. And even more pleased to run itno Gene, that maker of dinosaurs.

From MWFA's mission statement...

Most Wanted Fine Art is dedicated to being a growing forum for the
advancement of underground fine art and music in Pittsburgh. In
conjunction with J&J Sauer Trailer Sales, Most Wanted makes its art mobile
and publicly available by displaying it at various local sites in a utility
trailer (also for sale via J&J Sauer). Most Wanted operates on a loose
philosophy of artistic socialism; while each artist promotes his own work, it is
for the goal of the group's success as well as the individual's. By
booking shows for our artists and musicians, Most Wanted is serious about
helping each member of our team achieve success while simultaneously enriching
the local (and eventually national) art and music scenes by giving
below-the-radar artists a platform and a voice.

I have to say that if you only have a limited time to get into Pittsburgh to view art, first Friday's Unblurred event in the Penn Avenue corridor is worth working your schedule around. It is the only time when some of the veneues are open to the public or are open at the same time. Really, it was difficult to get to everything, there are a lot of gaps in what I got to see on Friday. I never made it to 5151 or the Pittsburgh Galss Center, which from what I hear had good shows, too.

This was a far cry from the disappointment at the Downtown Gallery Crawl the week before. Penn Avenue really is reflecting the diversity of the Pittsburgh visual arts scene. If you want to find out more about the district, check out the PAAI site. I'll be going every month. How about you?

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