Thursday, May 1, 2008
See How It Was, See How It Is
Fein Gallery, on East Ohio Street, is currently running an interesting contribution to the Pittsburgh250 celebration. “See How It Was, See How It Is” is a then and now juxtaposition of vintage photographs (curated by Bruce Klein) and contemporary pieces selected by Kathleen Zimbicki. The photographs hang in identical frames and are arranged in a grid giving a formality one might associate with the late Victorian era. On the opposite side of the gallery pairs of artists’ work are presented in a less formal exhibit complimenting the flexibility of styles and mediums.
The first works one encounters upon entering the gallery (other than Frank Flynn’s “jagger chair” reprised under a new name) are the acrylic paintings of Anna Marie Sninsky. “Pittsburgh on a Summer Night” is an achromatic view of the city from the vantage point of the Southside. The moody earth tones reflect the working class values of the Steel City and bring to mind the “glory days” of the mills. Fittingly, Ms Sninsky has worked with Steel Valley Arts Council and the Carnegie Library of Homestead so here work has a direct connection to the socio-environmental issues facing our region. These themes are also embodied in the work of Connie Merriman who has maintained a concern for disenfranchised people who are adversely affected by economic, environmental, and political issues beyond their control. “Mt. Washington, North Side” is an aerial view of the Point rendered as a bas relief of painted Styrofoam. The resultant piece resembles a topographical map and is more aesthetically driven and less political than the other works often done in collaboration with her husband, Tom.
Also included in the show, and deviating from her more conventional style, are the works by Gloria Goldsmith Hersch. Known for her Photorealist acrylics, Ms Hersch has given us a far less literal symbolic abstraction, “Carnegie Museum.” Constructed of cut paper and watercolor, the simple repeating shapes are arranged in a line suggesting the façade of a building or a salon of paintings.
Considering the range and talent on display, the curators could have filled the gallery several times over. Among the other almost two dozen artists exhibiting are Ron Donoughe (oil), Rick Byerly (photography), Alan Byrne (digital painting) and Sherrie Plonski (watercolor.) “See How It Was…” continues through June 6.