Innovators honored by Pittsburgh Filmmakers/ Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
Jo-Anne Bates found a purpose for junk mail.
She incorporates unwanted form letters, useless advertisements and uninviting fliers into her artwork.
"I don't really like to get junk mail," says Bates. "But when I do get some, I make sure it doesn't go to waste."
The Point Breeze artist crumpled up the pieces of mail and used them in her latest collection — "Exploration of Color," which features a series of mixed-media, abstract monotype prints. Her work is on display through Feb. 11 at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers/ Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside.
Bates was chosen Artist of the Year by the Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The award recognizes an individual, established in their field, who has displayed significant and enduring artistic contributions to the region, and provides support for them create a new body of work for exhibition.
"My work has often been referred to as philosophical road maps and these new prints continue in that direction," Bates says. "Creating these prints provides an outlet for creative freedom and continues to be an ongoing and necessary challenge for me."
She was inspired for these most recent works by the landscape of South Africa, the "Rainbow Country." The injustice young African-American men and women face also inform the work, as evidenced by pieces entitled, "Black Lives Matter 2" and "Black vs. Blue Don't Shoot." Her 16-year-old granddaughter Bria Bates inspired the piece entitled, "Unapologetically Black."
These prints feature bold color combinations and textured surfaces and have been folded, overlapped and glued to form two-dimensional sculptures. The show also includes an installation that incorporates shoes donated by the community.
Bates will donate a portion of sales to the Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts scholarship as well as to the Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Fund.
Bates is a member of Women of Visions, a Pittsburgh-based artist guild dedicated to exhibiting, mentoring and supporting art created by African American women which nominated Bates for the award.
"It is an honor to be selected," Bates says. "I was in shock, pure shock. It was overwhelming, because it's not something you expect to happen. It is such an honor to be part of so many talented Pittsburgh artists. "
You may never look at gelatin the same once you've seen Haylee Ebersole's artwork.
The Wilkinsburg resident used the substance in her latest exhibition at Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside. It is also on exhibit through Feb. 11.
"They are like giant Jell-O Jigglers," Ebersole says. "Each piece takes on a life of its own, so it's wonky and unpredictable, and I can't know what is always going to happen. I let go of any control I think I have. I have a vision in my head, but it may or may not come out like I envision it."
Ebersole's been awarded the Emerging Artist of the Year by the Pittsburgh Filmmakers/ Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The honor recognizes an individual forecasted to make a significant impact in the arts as their career progresses.
Ebersole is known for utilizing unorthodox materials such as gelatin as well as Kool-Aid, laundry detergent, and cement to create abstract sculptures inspired by the Anthropocene, a proposed epoch marked by humanity's impact on earth.
Her exhibition entitled "New Works," illustrates her imagined anthropocenic landscape, one that suggests new possibilities for everyday matter, and provokes contemplation of the traces our human existence may leave behind.
"When I first started working with gelatin as an art material, I was both fascinated and disgusted," Ebersole says. "The seductive swirling colors, saccharin smell and glazed, gummy surfaces provided an enticing aesthetic experience, but also proved superficial as I contemplated the origin of the material and its underlying morbidity. The surprising extent by which gelatin pervades our daily lives in addition to its potential for continuous transformation has become a primary focus of my recent work."
Ebersole was nominated by Amy Staggs, curatorial assistant at Wood Street Galleries in Pittsburgh. The creation of these works was supported by a creative development grant provided by the Investing in Professional Artist Grants Program, a partnership of The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments.
"I am really excited about the award," Ebersole says. "I was very excited when I found out I was selected. It has given me an opportunity to move into a different space, so that I could work this large. I hope by the end of the show that I'll have kept up this momentum."
The Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts is located at 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside.
Details: 412-361-0873 or center.pfpca.org
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-853-5062 or email@example.com or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.