Sunday, May 31, 2009

Now I Am The Master

Now I Am the Master
937 Liberty Ave. 2nd Floor

June 3 preview 5:30-7:00 p.m.
June 5-14 (4:00-8:00 p.m.)

June 15-July 16 (by appointment)
July 17-Gallery Crawl

Daniel Baxter, Adalgisa Bosonetto, Kyle Ethan Fischer, John Flatz, Toby Fraley, Beth Gaertner, Dan Gaser, Alex Lobus, Aimee Manion, Olga Mihaylova, Maria Napoli, Emily Reason

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Preview Party on June 3

Below is a sneak peek at the exhibit that I curated for the Three Rivers Arts Festival called Now I am the Master. Join me for the preview and artists' reception on Wednesday, June 3, 5:30-7pm at 937 Liberty Avenue (2nd floor gallery). Light refreshments will be served.

Now I am the Master features the current work of twelve past recipients of the Three Rivers Arts Festival's Emerging Artist Scholarship. The scholarship grants selected local artists the opportunity to participate in the Three Rivers Arts Festival's outdoor Artists Market for the first time. You can read more about the exhibit here.

Artists include Daniel Baxter, Adalgisa Bosonetto, Kyle Ethan Fischer, John Flatz, Toby Fraley, Beth Gaertner, Dan Gaser, Alex Lobus, Aimee Manion, Olga Mihaylova, Maria Napoli, and Emily Reason.

Bear Disguised as Bird, by Toby Fraley (clay, wood, and acrylic finish)

Ghost Squid, 30-foot soft sculpture by Daniel Baxter
3 glass mosaics by Adalgisa Bosonetto
Abandoned Western Psych Series by John Flatz, last 6 of a series of 16 (full series on exhibit)

You have to see this squid in person. It is huge at 30 feet, and has a cyclopian black, glass eye that you can see yourself reflected in. You can also see Dan's careful hand-stitching in fine, black thread.

Also in this picture is just a small section of John Flatz's photo series of the abandoned Western Psychiatric Institute. All 16 are on display in the exhibit. His images of the empty rooms with pastel, deteriorating walls and the curling layers of pealing paint are eerily beautiful.

This is just a snippet of what's in the exhibit. Please stop by June 3 to see the rest.

"The circle is complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the Master!" - Darth Vader

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Pittsburgh Friendship Quilt

Today we went to see the Pittsburgh Friendship Quilt while it was on display in the lobby of the D. H. Lawrence Convention Center. It was a great sight to behold! Completed in 1988, it took devoted volunteers 600 hours over 14 months to stitch the quilt made up of 32,000 squares sorted into colors of the spectrum.

The squares were signed by school children, members of various cultural organizations, sports teams and dignitaries. It was fun to find the signatures of past presidents and first ladies, as well as squares signed by Mr. Rogers and Mr. McFeely among the many rows of colored squares.

Signatures of Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Betty Ford, Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, and school children (above)

"Speedy Delivery from Mr. McFeely" on the Pittsburgh Friendship Quilt (above)

"With love from your television neighbor Mr. Rogers" on the Pittsburgh Friendship Quilt (above)

The 80-foot wide quilt was displayed behind 21 plexiglass panels.

You can read more about the history of the Pittsburgh Friendship Quilt here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators has launched a new version of their web site with more bells and whistles. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Kunitz on a creative space

From Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected by Stanley Kunitz


In this image of my friend's studio,
where curiosity runs the shop, and you
can almost smell the nostalgic dust
settling on the junk of lost mythologies,
the artist himself stays out of view.
Yet anyone could guess
this is the magician's place
from his collection of connacle hats
and the sprawled puppets on a shelf,
the broken as well as the whole,
that have grown to resemble him,
or the other way round.
Butterflies, gameboards, and bells,
strewn jacks and alphabetic blocks,
spindles, old music scores--
the litter spreads from wall to wall.
If you could dig to the bottom,
you might expect to find
a child's plush heart,
a shining agate eye.
Here everything waits to be renewed.
That horse-age wagon wheel
propped in the corner
against an empty picture-frame,
even in its state of disrepair,
minus three spokes,
looks poised for flight.
Tomorrow, maybe, at the crack of a whip
a flock of glittering birds will perch
on its rim, a burnished stranger
wearing an enigmatic mask
will mount its hub
and the great battered wheel
will start to spin.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Barkley Hendricks

My attention was caught by Barkley Hendricks' portrait on April's cover of Art Forum:

This artist's portraits are very relevant to my own aims in portraiture. He is inspired by historical art, contemporary fashion and the everyday people in his life-- the very subjects that inspire me, too. I am thrilled that I just found out about him. He has been painting for 40 years, and he just had a retrospective at the Nasher Museum. Of all his portraits, it's Lawdy Mama, below, that resonates with me most:

Lawdy Mama by Barkley Hendricks

Below is one of my own portraits from recent years of my good friend, Toby. For the background, I used a metallic gold resembling gold leaf, in the style of classical iconography. (Apology: It is difficult to photograph because it is reflective. But the variations of reflective colors in different light are interesting and pose exciting challenges.)

in another light:

Johannes Vermeer

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

This painting is an excellent example of a focal point -- the high contrast of the bright white pearl against shadow, its punctuation mark.

I recently bought a wonderful book that is a collection of poems based on Vermeer's portraits, and has a reproduction of each painting beside its corresponding poem. Here is an excerpt from Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, from In Quiet Light, Poems on Vermeer's Women:

See how she turns to greet what comes,

surprised but untroubled, not quite

welcoming. She looks askance

at one who has, unasking, disturbed her
solitude. Her greeting concedes what it must,

but she remains turned to purposes of her own.

Ashberry / Darger

Illustration by Henry Darger

John Ashberry's poem, Girls on the Run, is based on the immense illustrated novel of the now famous outsider artist, Henry Darger. It describes the adventures of the Vivians, Darger's heroic little girls who battle storms and demons in a strange dream world.

Ashberry's poem begins:
A great plane flew across the sun, and the girls ran along the ground. The sun shone on Mr. McPlaster's face, it was green like an elephant's.