Attendees of Friday’s Gallery Crawl Downtown had to be prepared to be engulfed when they entered Wood Street Galleries’ second floor.
On display was Pêle-Mêle, a work by visual artist Olivier Ratsi, which aims to “simulate immaterial three-dimension space.” To do this, red light is projected in patterns onto structures strewn around the room. A low buzzing sound also filled the air. The end result is a trance like sensation as the room envelops the viewer.
Matthew Spangler, a Wilkinsburg resident, stood contemplative in the back of the room, taking in the whole experience.
“You just have to come with an open mind and see where it takes you,” Spangler said.
Such an open mind was key for the many participants in Friday’s crawl, organized by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Gallery goers could find painting, printing, video games, live music and improv comedy — along with food and beer — scattered along Penn and Liberty avenues at 27 different stops, and all for free.
The most popular exhibit, John Riegert, was located at SPACE Gallery. Curated by Brett Yasko, the exhibit gave 250 Pittsburgh artists an assignment — make a portrait, in whatever medium they chose, of the eponymous man.
The artists’ originality was on full display, as audio visual displays, an impressionistic bust, even a wooden chair all worked together in harmony presenting their image of Riegert — sometimes with one of his two dogs, Jack and Zoe.
Riegert, himself an artist, wandered the exhibit as a living docent, to create, in his words, a “mind boggling” experience.
The long-white-haired subject managed to escape many people’s attention — perhaps the lack of the equally long white beard that appeared in most of the portraits can be blamed. But Riegert wasn’t there for attention.
“I’m not a very big egomaniac,” he said. “All I need is a clipboard and a sharpie marker, and I’m happy.”