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.
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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.
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.
On June 7th, The Occasional Market was temporarily transformed into a performance venue for the Puppet Happening event, Puppet Slam, Bring Your Own Puppet! The free event featured performances by 4th Wall Puppets, Sarah Banach, Tom Sarver & Mike Cuccaro, Langston MacDiarmid & Joann Kielar, Professor English and Maggie Bogdanich.
Saturday, June 7, 6pm-8pm :: Puppet Slam at The Occasional Market
BYOP! Bring your own puppet!
Free. Donations Accepted. Open Seating. 707 Penn Gallery, 707 Penn Ave., Downtown, Pittsburgh.
Mike Cuccaro and Tom Sarver will reprise their Dada puppet show Flight Out of Time and also host a puppet slam. What is a puppet slam? A puppet slam is an informal cabaret of both planned and impromptu performances. You can go just to watch or you can bring a puppet to perform with. Puppet slams are a great opportunity to get your feet wet in front of a small and supportive audience and try out a new idea or just something new to us. You can plan and rehearse something out or wing it, solo or maybe with another puppeteer. Acts should be between three and ten minutes with set and strike times under five minutes. Acts should be self-contained as there will be minimal options for lighting, sound, etc. Donations with be split between performers. If possible, please send a brief description of your idea by June 1st so we know what to expect but that isn’t strictly necessary.
The Occasional Market is set to open this Friday. The gallery is very organized for now, but the show will change as I arrive for occasional performances and other activities. Forty-eight pieces are now on view, including three 4′ x 5′ collage paintings, several pencil drawings, some smaller collage pieces, a wooden cart, three puppets, and small sculptures in metal ceramic and assemblage.
The Occasional Market, my new show of paintings, objects and actions opens on Friday, April 25th at 707 Gallery Pittsburgh. The show blends the gallery experience with ideas about shopping. Years ago, my grandfather ran a small neighborhood grocery store in the East End of Pittsburgh. I grew up listening to stories about his shop. This sparked my interest in independent neighborhood shops as important as centers of public interaction. The show references some old-time stories, but I also address issues of consumer society today. I will make occasional appearances for performances, actions and alterations to the space. If you stop by, I may play shopkeeper and try to sell you something.
Like Nostradamus, my predictions have been slightly off. I predicted a giant Mallard, not a rubber duck floating in the Ohio River. I predicted a renewed interest in drilling for oil, not gas. I thought a Pittsburgh casino would be in Station Square rather than the North Side. I predicted that the Steelers would be hovering over water in a flying stadium. Flying over the Atlantic to play in London is a bit of a stretch. But then there are the drones!