Saturday, October 07, 2006

Art Browsing Leads to Art Buying.

Between last night and today I saw plenty of art. That makes up for the weak gallery crawl last weekend. Unblurred didn't disappoint. The foucus, as usual, was placed squarely on the work itself. The Penn Avenue corridor is really starting to live up to its potential as a focal point for the arts scene in Pittsburgh. Garfield Artworks was the highlight of the night for me. I purchased an impressive painting by Ben Kehoe. Despite some rather awkward circumstances surrounding the sale (not the fault of the artist), I ended up quite pleased with the new addition to my growing collection. Kehoe has a dark and exacting sense of humor, and a playful approach to color. The work is very clean and has a confident illustrative style. It's great to discover another talented young artist living in the city. You can view his work here.

The rest of the show (entitled "City of Monsters") was strong as well, with contributions from David Cooper, Mike Egan, Rob Larson and Jon Egenlauf. It should be up for a month, so if you get a chance... stop on by.

5151 Penn had an event excoriating Rick Santorum, and as one might expect, it was well attended. Keep up the good work Stefan! Galleries including the Clay Penn, Space, Modern Fomations and Image Box all displayed their monthly selections, and the street was thronged with folks taking in the sights. I was a bit too preoccupied by my purchase to give my full attention to everything I wanted to see, but I ran into a lot of friends and I couldn't have had a much better time. The only downside was my discovery that part of Laurie Mancuso's new gallery space ("ON") has been occupied by the property-owner, and exhibition space is now limited to the garage in back. Mancuso is looking for other alternatives.

Today was the Lawrenceville Artists' Studio Tour, and as I mentioned previously, there were a lot of places I wanted to check out. I didn't get very far. Digging Pitt Too (45th and Plummer Street in Lawrenceville) was hosting a gallery talk with artists Jean McCLung, Tom Sarver and David Gonzalez. There were a handful of people there... it's a shame more people don't show up to these things, because it is always fascinating to find out about the artistic approaches and philosophies of various creators. Today "process" seemed to be a running theme- with its prioritization over product. Gonzalez focuses exclusively on the making of his work, and produces vasts amount of it in an obsessive flurry of activity. He was reticent at first to expand upon an analysis of his art. But he seemed to warm to the subject of inspiration via process, rather than a strategy based upon some precedent or formal approach. McClung spoke about graffiti and its mutating forms. As expected, John (the gallery owner) had plenty to add, especially about its function in his old hometown of Brooklyn. Meanwhile, Sarver spoke about his residency in his new home, the Tom Museum (which I wrote about before).

By the time I got out of there, I was too hungry to continue the self-guided tour. After M. and I ate, we stopped in at Moxie Dada in Bloomfield. They are preparing to move to a new location on the North Side, near the Mattress Factory. Christine, the owner, is busy packing things.... but not too busy to hold an artists' flea market. M. spotted a Mark Traughber "Sock Monkey" drawing... and upon being told that the few left at the gallery were among the very last of the series available, she had to get one. She has been wanting one since she saw Traughber's work at the Three Rivers Arts Festival two summers ago.

It won't be long before all my walls are filled up, and I'm going to have to make some hard choices. I guess it's a good thing that most galleries only turnover their stock once a month.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm jealous that you have such a cornucopia of interesting galleries to visit. My town is full up with Horse and Hunt paintings.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Yeah Lee, but in your county you have one of the most compelling pieces of art of the last fifty years - Tom Cruise! (Sorry... couldn't resist)

Pittsburgh does seem to have a high ratio of artists. It's probably because the cost of living is so minimal here. And somehow, despite the fact that there is not a ton of money to support an arts market, a fair number of galleries seem to hang on, and show interesting work.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, that was a low blow my friend. "You mock my pain!"

1:45 PM  

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