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Artist prefers small scale's intimacy

| Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, 9:00 p.m.
Upper Burrell artist Lauren Scavo in her studio.
Upper Burrell artist Lauren Scavo in her studio.
Upper Burrell artist Lauren Scavo in her studio.
Upper Burrell artist Lauren Scavo in her studio.
Laura Scavo's drawing of the Hoodlebug trail in Indiana, Pa., is entitled 'Forest.'  ​
Laura Scavo's drawing of the Hoodlebug trail in Indiana, Pa., is entitled 'Forest.' ​
Lauren Scavo's drawing from IUP campus is entitled 'Sidewalk and Guardrail.'
Lauren Scavo's drawing from IUP campus is entitled 'Sidewalk and Guardrail.'

Lauren Scavo's shyness as a young girl opened her eyes to the world of art.

“I gravitated toward art because it was a way that I could express myself and stand out a little bit without necessarily drawing attention to myself,” she explains.

Now the award-winning Upper Burrell native, 24, studying art at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is well on her way to making it her career. Her latest solo exhibition, “Place and Perception,” under way daily through March 2, is her debut at Penn State, New Kensington's gallery.

Her 24 charcoal drawings of scenes from throughout Western Pennsylvania, including New Kensington and Lower Burrell, invite the viewer to acknowledge the understated beauty that the state's landscapes offer.

She works on a small scale because she believes that it gives the pieces a kind of personal intimacy that would be lost in a larger work.

“I don't necessarily want people to look at my art and only see my perspective, but to look at it and become aware of their own, to experience something familiar in a new and unexpected way,” she says.

Tina Sluss, gallery coordinator, says she is fascinated by the photorealism Scavo captures in the details of each piece. “We have not had a complete show of charcoal drawings in the gallery for some time and I wanted to let the community explore this medium in more detail,” she says.

As Scavo spotlights the relationship between humanity and the environment, she loves drawing attention to areas of space that a person might ordinarily overlook, particularly places where human-made structures can be seen interacting with the natural environment, such as the bases of abandoned buildings and overgrown fences.

“The landscape is very personal to me and I have a strong emotional attachment to it that I think comes through in the work,” she adds. “I want my viewers to have a meaningful experience with the landscape as they view each work. I am seeking to create an atmosphere of contemplation and introspection.”

Rex Rutkoski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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