June 14--There's a contagious energy in the Juried Visual Art Exhibition of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival emanating from 59 works by 52 artists who live within 150 miles of Pittsburgh. It is most evident in the works themselves but also in the show's even quality and the care given to the installation of the artworks, all of which contribute to the viewers' experience.
This annual exhibition is important because it affords regional artists a high-profile venue in which to present their works. It's also important to the festival because it expands the visitor experience by presenting a middle ground between the Artist Market wares and public art that is generally concept-driven.
Three distinguished jurors, who selected the art displayed from more than 400 submissions, wrote in their juror statement that they found an "enormous wealth and range of talent within the Pittsburgh catchment area" and regretted that due to constraints of exhibition scale they inevitably had to leave out some excellent work. The jurors are John Carson, professor and head of the School of Art, Carnegie Mellon University; Nicholas Chambers, curator, The Andy Warhol Museum; and Rachel Delphia, curator, Carnegie Museum of Art.
While the work is compatible, it is by no means similar, embracing a broad range of media and subject matter and ranging from traditional to experimental.
The Best in Show award, decided by all three jurors and including $2,500, was deservedly won by "Dadpranks," a smart, technically fine and humorous compilation of visual skits presented as video and on tablets by the all-woman collaborative comprised of Lauren Goshinski, Isla Hansen, Kate Hansen, Elina Malkin, Nina Sarnelle and Laura Warman.
Three ink jet prints from the "50 Geenspace Dumpsites" series by Christine Holtz and Lauren Zadikow are effective in presentation and concept, having quiet force as they reveal content to the viewer. The project documents illegal dumpsites near green spaces such as public parks and cemeteries. Images are accompanied by site information, including description of terrain, status of proposed cleanup and difficulty of achieving that goal.
Lindsey Peck Scherloum and Charlie Alessi contemporize face jugs made by potters in the 19th and 20th centuries with a gathering of individuated "Facemugs: People on the 61B Bus." They received an individual juror's award ($500), as did Emily Walley's mixed media wall-sculpture "Trim" and Fabrizio Gerbino's elegantly brushed, tensile oil on paper "Chain Reaction #3." Exhibition visitors may vote for a people's choice award.
Other highlights include Maria Mangano's engaging "Address Book Bestiary," Richard Claraval's confident fluid charcoal of "Untitled," and Florian Baron's playful interactive "Kaleidoclock." Several notable paintings have an unsettling emotional underlay, including Tom Aul's "Kindling" (of City Books store), Zachary Brown's triptych "3 Masked Men," Christopher Shellhammer's "Always Here," Rabecca Signoriello's "The Sisters," Mary Weidner's "Wedding Vows" and Rose Duggan's "Can Bears and Humans Coexist?"
The exhibition is at the Trust Arts Education Center, 805 Liberty Ave., Downtown, through Sunday. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Admission is free. The excellent "China Express" is in the same building. Information: www.3riversartsfest.org.
Post-Gazette art critic Mary Thomas: email@example.com or 412-263-1925.
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