Textiles, AI, and antiques: Three exhibitions show the range of the Pittsburgh region's art scene | Pittsburgh City Paper

Textiles, AI, and more: Three exhibitions show the range of the Pittsburgh region's art scene

click to enlarge Textiles, AI, and more: Three exhibitions show the range of the Pittsburgh region's art scene
Photo: Chris Uhren
CCS + AAP: Fiber Art Exhibition
Pittsburgh could be described as a post-industrial city with a strong cultural infrastructure. Madeline Gent, executive director of Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, more specifically defines the city's artistic vein as a slight cosmopolitan departure from the "Appalachian" and "Rust Belt" styles native to the region. If you don't know what that means, three free art exhibitions now on view offer a tour of the current voices in the Southwestern Pennsylvania art scene.

Touted by Gent as the oldest continuously exhibiting visual arts organization in the country, the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh partners with local galleries to find exhibition space for its 550 member artists. "So the simplified statement of our very complicated mission is that we exhibit, promote, and support the work of Pittsburgh-based artists," Gent tells Pittsburgh City Paper.

AAP partnered with three galleries — Creative Citizen Studios, the Media Arts Gallery at Robert Morris University, and the Verostko Center for the Arts at St. Vincent College — to present exhibitions in and around Pittsburgh, all of which are slated to run through either February or March. The exhibitions showcase textile art, the artmaking process and AI, and a cross-century conversation between contemporary art and antiques.
click to enlarge Textiles, AI, and more: Three exhibitions show the range of the Pittsburgh region's art scene
Photo: Chris Uhren
Artists Jami Johnson and Tina Williams Brewer stand in front of work, created in Creative Citizen Studios workshops led by Michelle Browne, at the CCS + AAP: Fiber Art Exhibition

CCS + AAP: Fiber Art Exhibition
Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Exhibition Space. 100 43rd St. Unit 107, Lawrenceville. aapgh.org

AAP worked with Creative Citizen Studios, which offers classes and exhibition opportunities to neurodivergent artists, to present fiber art in all its forms, ranging from wall-hung textiles to a table of interactive pieces. The Fiber Art Exhibition is on view through Feb. 23. at the AAP exhibition space.

Artists with Creative Citizen Studios created their pieces across multiple $25 classes the studio offers. The classes teach an array of mediums but with a steady aim of giving new methods of communication and expression to the neurodivergent community.

Gianfranco Schiaretta is a citizen artist presenting a selection of dying techniques and embroidery at the exhibition. An artist since high school, Schiaretta tells City Paper he is drawn to it as a form of expression because "I have a heart. We all have hearts, and we love to express what we feel and the way we see the world today."

Visitors can view the exhibition Wed.–Fri. from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. and on select Saturdays. Creative Citizen Studios and AAP will, on Feb. 10, also host a free hands-on artmaking workshop inspired by the exhibition. The exhibition and workshop are free and open to the public.
click to enlarge Textiles, AI, and more: Three exhibitions show the range of the Pittsburgh region's art scene
Photo: Courtesy of Square Cafe
Works by Fabrizio Gerbino (left) and Renee Keil (right) at Art & Algorithms: Pittsburgh Artists Respond to AI 

Art & Algorithms: Pittsburgh Artists Respond to AI
Robert Morris University Media Arts Gallery. 6001 University Blvd, Wheatley Center. Moon Township. aapgh.org

Works by 13 AAP artists are currently part of a collection loosely centered around the advent of AI technology and its impact on the artmaking process. The exhibit will be up through March 7 at the Robert Morris University Media Arts Gallery in Moon Township.

Andrew Ames, a professor of media arts at RMU and co-curator of the Media Arts Gallery, says the exhibit presents works that chronicle the weaknesses, strengths, and philosophical underpinnings of using AI as a collaborator on original works.

"[AI's] a topic of conversation, and we have students that come in and say, ‘Is there going to be a job for me because AI exists now?’" Ames tells CP. "We don't necessarily need to be afraid of it because we know it's still being developed. It's going to be another tool just like when Photoshop came out."

One piece demonstrates the struggle of an AI tool to visually depict a migraine, and an artist's interpretation sits alongside a screen capture of the machine's attempts to describe the condition. Another piece created by a group of artists presents an interactive "AI organism" that spits viewers' words back in its own language.

An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Wed., Jan 31 from 5-7 p.m. The reception and exhibition are free and open to the public.
click to enlarge Textiles, AI, and more: Three exhibitions show the range of the Pittsburgh region's art scene
Photo: Courtesy of St. Vincent College
"Tree and Lake with Figures in Rowboat," part of Shared Concerns at the Verostko Center for the Arts at St. Vincent College.

Shared Concerns
Verostko Center for the Arts at St. Vincent College. 300 Fraser Purchase Rd., Latrobe. verostkocenter.org

The Verostko Center for the Arts at St. Vincent College in Latrobe presents pieces from the school's Art & Heritage Collections alongside works from 12 AAP artists.

On view through April 5, Shared Concerns includes medieval manuscripts, historic art donated by Pittsburgh business magnate Edgar J. Kaufmann, and other pieces from the university's collection. Andrew Julo, exhibition curator and director for the Verostko Center for the Arts, says pairing selections from St. Vincent's collections with contemporary art intends to show how historical foundations trickle up through the centuries in unexpected ways.

"My hope is that artists or visitors to the exhibition come away with a sense that art is being made as a part of a continuum," Julo tells CP. "And that creativity is something that we sort of tap into, and that what animated the past in some ways continues to animate today."

The Verostko Center for the Arts is free to view and open Tue.-Thu. from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Fri. from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

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