Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kinetic Art

Here is a piece I made in 2008 using random junk, some toy motors, and scrap wood.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Dancing for the Bees

Jason Lockyer, Obsessions at SPACE, Pittsburgh

Obsessions at SPACE Gallery will be wrapping up this weekend.  It’s been a great show.  Lots of people are drawn in by the buzzing sound of insects in the outdoor video piece by Jason Lockyer.  I encountered these children “dancing for the bees” on a cold January morning.

Here is a link to Lissa Brennan’s review of the show in the Pittsburgh CP: Artists explore their Obsessions at Space

And more by Mike May in Pittsburgh Magazine.  

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Puppets at Sewickley Library

A collection of my puppets and props used in puppet show over the past 15 years will be on display January and February of 2015 at the Sewickley Public Library, in Sewickley, PA.  Curated by Randi Morgan, the show is viewable during library hours.  Highlights of the display include puppets from a production the Aristophanes play Peace, and puppets from my Dada show Flight Out of Time.  All characters are handmade from wood, cardboard, papier-mâché, repurposed materials and paint.  On Saturday, February 28th, I’ll be performing shows with puppeteer Mike Cuccaro in the library community room.  The family shows will start at 2 PM and 3:30 PM.  Please watch the Sewickley Public Library Website for details.

Tom Sarver Puppets at Sewickley Library

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Steve Smith – Pittsburgh Visionary Artist

Pittsburgh visionary artist Steve Smith with one of his paintings.

Pittsburgh visionary artist Steve Smith with one of his paintings, December 2014.

I met Steve Smith around 2001 when I was working at the art supply store on S. Craig Street, near the Carnegie Museum of Art.  Steve stopped in regularly to get supplies and show off his latest creations.  He always had a sketchbook in the works.  He would fill ten or more pages a day with memories from his childhood, interpretations of stories in the news, or historical events.  He drew the compositions quickly, and then filled them in with pattern and color.  His earlier works in colored pencil and pastel are very meticulous.  His later works in acrylic are bold and spontaneous.  In his teenage years, Steve spend a lot of time studying tribal artwork from Africa, Ancient Egyptian Art and Pre-Columbian Art.  Although his career dreams were challenged by health issues, Steve pushed ahead and continued to make art.

Steve’s works have appeared in many of my projects.  In 2004, I featured his work in an exhibition at The Brew House titled, From the Inside.  In 2006, Steve had a solo exhibition at my Tom Museum project at the Mattress Factory.  Steve’s works have also been featured in exhibitions in Pittsburgh hospitals and shops.

Today Steve has a collection of paintings and drawings that document the events of his life.  He continues to make work at his home in the East End of Pittsburgh.  His work will be featured in my upcoming project, The Sideways Museum, opening in late January in the Cultural District of Downtown Pittsburgh.

An early self-portrait by Steve Smith.

An early self-portrait by Steve Smith.

Inner Man, by Steve Smith, acrylic on canvas.

Inner Man, by Steve Smith, acrylic on canvas.

Wedding Spider, by Steve Smith, Acrylic on canvas.

Wedding Spider, by Steve Smith, Acrylic on canvas.

Clown Walking a Heart Dog, an early pastel work by Steve Smith.

Clown Walking a Heart Dog, an early pastel work by Steve Smith.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

International Bowling

Tom Sarver, Carnegie International

2013 Carnegie International Artist Party at the William Pitt Union.

I just found this in a stack of sketches.  A couple of days before the opening of the 2013 Carnegie International, the museum threw a party at the basement bowling alley of the William Pitt Union.  Artists let loose, exhibiting some of the strangest bowling techniques I’ve ever seen.  Drawing includes Lara Favaretto, Wade Guyton, Daniel Baumann, Dan Byers, Tina Kukielski, Tobias Madison, Dinh Q. Lê, Pedro Reyes, Pierre Leguillon, Lynne & Paul Zelevansky.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Obsessions

Everything is Going to be Fine, by Jeremiah Johnson, acrylic, screen print and collage on mylar, 2014

Everything is Going to be Fine, Jeremiah Johnson, acrylic, screen print and collage on mylar, 2014

Installation Detail, Laurie Trok, 2014

Installation Detail, Laurie Trok, 2014

BLACK FRIDAY, 2014 – the opening of OBSESSIONS at SPACE Gallery Pittsburgh.  The work of six artists from across the country – artists who have never shown together – will be unveiled to the public.  With print and collage works titled Trouble Every Day, Debt, and Human Alienation, Williamsport artist Jeremiah Johnson holds nothing back.  Intimate moments are juxtaposed with pop culture references and hidden metaphors.  Johnson will be showing a mix of prints and richly layered 2-D mixed media works, filling the side walls of the gallery.  If you’re a printmaking enthusiast, be sure to check out the techniques Johnson uses in his works, including screen printing, mono print, lithography and relief printing.

PERFORMANCE ART – one gigantic wall of the gallery is dedicated to a performance piece by Becky Slemmons.  Starting at 6 PM on the opening night of the exhibition, Slemmons will begin making over 9000 marks with brush and paint, ascending ladders up the fifteen foot walls.  The piece is about obsessive love, and each mark will represent a day that she has been with her husband.  Work will continue one the piece throughout gallery hours throughout the run of the show.

PROCESS – Laurie Trok has been a busy in the Pittsburgh art scene over the past few years.  I’ve been wanting to include her work in a group show since seeing her 2013 solo show at FE Gallery.  Trok will be showing an installation in ink and cut paper, with multiple scrolls creating an immersive experience.  The organic nature of her work and the intricacy of detail create a subjective experience that can allude to the microscopic, or the distant cosmos.

STREET ART – Los Angeles artist Jason Lockyer has work both inside and outside the gallery.  On the facade, one of his animated video shorts will be playing.  Audio for the piece will play through speakers mounted to the exterior of the building, creating a surreal experience for Liberty Avenue pedestrians.  Along with an animated video inside the gallery, Lockyer will be showing a collection of twenty-one drawings that he created after viewing taxidermy animals in natural history museums.  In many of the works, the creatures appear to be alive again, staring back at the viewer.

GROTESQUE – Obsessed with bodily functions, or perhaps with using human ailments as metaphors for the problems society, Nathan Margoni’s works are amusingly grotesque.  His works for Obsessions include a fourteen by six-foot painting of a diseased foot and a 25 foot long sculpture of the imaginings of the digestive tract!

PLANTS & HUMANS – Brooklyn artist Mary Ivy Martin will be showing two video pieces that reveal intimate human-plant interactions. Face Faucet features the artist sustaining potted plants utilizing her own sweat.  In Tree Stand, the artist balances a tree strapped to her back.  Positioned in place of the ground, the artist tries to provide a solid foundation for a tree that appears to have lost all life.

OBSESSIONS at SPACE GALLERY, Pittsburgh

Guest Curated by Tom Sarver

Opening Reception, Friday, November 28th, 2014, 6 PM – 9 PM.

Live Music by Pittsburgh marching ensemble, Colonel Eagleburger’s High-Stepping Good-Time Band at 7 PM.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Curatorial Project – SPACE GALLERY, Pittsburgh

Face Facet by Mary Ivy Martin, video still, copyright 2014

Face Faucet, Mary Ivy Martin, Brooklyn, NY

Run For Your Life by Nathan Margoni, 14' x 6'

Run For Your Life, Nathan Margoni, Benton Harbor, MI

From a collection of drawings of taxidermy animals, Jason Locker, Los Angeles, CA

From a collection of drawings of taxidermy animals, Jason Lockyer, Los Angeles, CA

I’m excited to be curating a thematic show in Pittsburgh at SPACE Gallery.  The exhibition, titled Obsessions, is scheduled to open on Friday, November 28th.  A reception with drinks, music and performance is scheduled for 6 PM.  Stay tuned for details.

Six artists from across the US explore the nature of obsession. Works in painting, sculpture, site-specific installation, video and performance will draw inspiration from personal rituals, cultural trends and studio practices. Participants include Jeremiah Johnson (Williamsport, PA), Jason Lockyer (Los Angeles, CA), Nathan Margoni (Benton Harbor, MI), Mary Ivy Martin (Brooklyn, NY), Becky Slemmons (Pittsburgh, PA) and Laurie Trok (Pittsburgh, PA). Tom Sarver is a Pittsburgh artist know for community-based projects, puppetry and site-specific works.

Jeremiah Johnson creates work that interweaves personal experience, appropriated popular culture and mythological narrative. A prolific, painter and printmaker, his colorful works serve as a diary of the artist’s reactions and adaptations to an ever-changing world. Johnson lives and works in Williamsport, PA.

Jason Lockyer makes video animations that zoom the viewer into the miniature world of bugs. His hand-drawn depictions of insects, with accompanying sounds, express the beautiful and grotesque in parts of the natural world that often go unnoticed. Lockyer’s creatures explore collaged habitats of doodles and altered photographs, revealing adventures that range from mundane to fantastical. These journeys often become metaphors for loss, joy and discovery. Lockyer lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Nathan Margoni builds oversized sculptures based on an imaginative exploration of human anatomy. His works are constructed of everyday materials including paint, wood, found fabrics and trash, resulting in assemblages that describe the insecurity of corporeal existence. His whimsical creations, including representations of ugly toenails, bad breath, and poor digestion, give humor to the serious ailments, both physical and social, of our time. Margoni lives and works in Benton Harbor, MI.

Mary Ivy Martin’s practice is driven by her personal interactions with trees and plants. Intimacy is revealed as collected flora is personified and cared for. Her resulting videos, installations and photographs hint at the symbiotic relationships necessary in a healthy ecosystem. Martin lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Becky Slemmons works in the disciplines of drawing, painting, video, performance, fibers, glass and sound. In her work, she searches for truths that are common throughout multiple cultures. For Obsessions, she will be performing a piece titled, Obsessive love. one mark for each of the 9331 days we have been together… and counting. Her performance will begin at the opening reception and continue through the run of the show. Slemmons lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA.

Laurie Trok constructs large-scale installations using cut paper. Her work involves an intense exploration of the act of drawing in relation to the tactile manipulation of materials. Her resulting work transforms drawing into three-dimensional form, revealing a play of light as well as her tedious artistic process. Trok lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized