UnSmoke Systems Artspace highlights local emerging artists with Nowhere and Here  | Visual Art | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

UnSmoke Systems Artspace highlights local emerging artists with Nowhere and Here 

click to enlarge Annie Heisey, If I Think Only Beautiful Thoughts - PHOTO: ANNIE HEISEY
Photo: Annie Heisey
Annie Heisey, If I Think Only Beautiful Thoughts
UnSmoke Systems Artspace in Braddock will showcase two rising local artists with Nowhere and Here, an exhibition that examines states of transformation with paintings and sculptural works.

Opening Sat., Sept. 7, Nowhere and Here will feature painter Annie Heisey and multidisciplinary artist Kevin Mack. From Heisey, whose work will also appear in the upcoming Brew House Gallery show Group A Presents: What Deepest Remains, come paintings that tread the line between fantasy and reality with bright, bursting florals, expressive figures, and painterly brushstrokes. An UnSmoke press release describes Mack’s painted wood sculpture pieces as combining “crisp geometry with childish blobs.”

“Their work displays beautifully in our untraditional gallery space and we are always excited about being able to provide the space for artists to experiment in their exhibitions,” says UnSmoke founder, Jeb Feldman.

A Pittsburgh native, Heisey has shown at the Carnegie Museum of Art, as well as the Boston Center for the Arts and Site:Brooklyn Gallery. On her website, she says her paintings “hover on the edge of dissolution, questioning what is real and what is simply paint."

Over the years, Heisey, who also works as an arts educator, has made a name for herself in the local scene. A 2008 Pittsburgh City Paper review of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh 97th Annual Exhibition described her gouache on paper work, Silent Partner, as “arresting in the defiant, unblinking brown-eyed gaze of its subject, a nude woman whose reflection regards us.” During her time as an Emerging Artist candidate for the 2018 Three Rivers Arts Festival, CP called Heisey’s oil paintings “bright and colorful and in the figurative realm.”

In an artist’s statement, Mack says he is “influenced by the power of color and space” and that he strives to make art objects that can be seen with “vast depth or extreme flatness.”
click to enlarge Kevin Mack, "DVertigo" - PHOTO: KEVIN MACK
Photo: Kevin Mack
Kevin Mack, "DVertigo"
“I make work to understand the temperamental and tumultuous nature of life and living, and I grant the viewer broad powers of interpretation - they can interact, analyze, explore, nitpick, or simply enjoy the show,” says Mack, who is originally from the Philadelphia area. “I aim to make those who feel deeply think more and those who think deeply feel more, accepting and exploring our discomforts for greater personal growth."

Besides sculpture, Mack’s pursuits stretch to murals, photography, and fashion design. His work has previously shown at the Irma Freeman Center for Imagination and at the Point Five Gallery in Etna.

“I hope that people will come down to see Kevin and Annie’s work to appreciate the talent and drive that both of these artists bring to their craft,” says Feldman. “It will be a terrific show and the opening will certainly be a lot of fun.”

Nowhere and Here opening reception. 6-9 p.m. Sat., Sept. 7. Continues through Sat., September 28. 1137 Braddock Ave., Braddock. Free. unsmokeartspace.com

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