Paint and Body Presents: Lost Pittsburgh Artists

WILKINSBURG, PA (date) – Paint and Body (www.paintandbody.org), a performance space in Wilkinsburg curated by Lauri Mancuso, presents Lost Pittsburgh Artists, during March 2006. The exhibit, a brainchild of guest curators Jennifer Lee (The Appalachian School) and Olivia Allison, premieres recent work by a disparate group of former Pittsburgh residents, who have never previously exhibited in their hometown. The participating artists employ a variety of media, and currently inhabit such diverse locales as Johannesburg, Seoul, and Punxatawny, PA. A review of this eclectic collection reveals subtle similarities between the artists, and suggests the undeniable influence of their origin, as well as the particularity of their expatriation.

Lee and Allison, who met in Pittsburgh, but now live and work in the New York area, have been constant collaborators throughout their acquaintance. “I feel that Pittsburgh leaves a particular mark on people, and on their sensibilities,” said Allison. “Many people I meet from here have a very complicated relationship with it, especially it seems, the ones who have left.” Lost Pittsburgh Artists has provided Lee and Allison with an investigation relevant to their own experiences as transplants from the Three Rivers area, and signifies a homecoming for them, as well as for the involved artists. “We were hoping to instigate an event that would come about somewhat serendipitously,” Lee explains. “We did not hand pick the artwork itself, we left that choice to the discretion of the artists. It was interesting to see what kind of themes would coalesce under our selection criteria of artists with a shared displacement from a mutual point of origin.”

In order to assemble the exhibition’s unconventional mix of participants, Lee and Allison mined loose connections, and several internet meeting forums. Featured artists include printmaker Alice Kim, who was raised in Fox Chapel, and now lives and works in Seoul, South Korea. Her work incorporates appropriated imagery and unexpected materials, wryly depicting the expression of Korean national identity through sports fanaticism (a phenomenon which similarly thrives in Pittsburgh). Harvey M. Banks was born in Homewood, and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. After a devastating accident confined him to a wheelchair, he began to forge new relationships with his surroundings through photography. Although he does not describe himself as an artist, his work keenly excavates profundity, from the mundane. Tanisha Richards, a former resident of Point Breeze, now teaches elementary English in Johannesburg, South Africa, and regularly exhibits her controversial work locally. She intricately renders compelling, racially charged, works on paper, which are inspired by her past and current environments.

Artists: Harvey M. Banks - Brooklyn, NY. Erik Eisenberg - Portland, Oregon. Courtney Flowers - Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Agnes Eleanor Frey - New York City. Ronald “Dark” Jablonski - Sarasota, Florida. Violet Panozzo Jablonski - Sarasota, Florida. Alice Kim - Seoul, South Korea. Debbe Magnetic - Mexico City. Tanisha Richards - Johannesburg, South Africa. Safiya Z. Radfar - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Peter Zimmer - Grand Island, NY.

Lost Pittsburgh Artists opens March 4th, at Paint & Body: 815 Penn Avenue Wilkinsburg, (Pittsburgh,) PA, and runs through March. For information, contact 412-951-0622 or laurimancuso@msn.com, or visit paintandbody.org. Lost Pittsburgh Artists is an event of The Appalachian School: theappalachianschool.com.

Text excerpted from Lauri Mancuso, Olivia Allison and Jennifer Lee.