Artists converge in You Are Here ‘Bat Country’ exhibit |
Art & Museums

Artists converge in You Are Here ‘Bat Country’ exhibit

Mary Pickels
Facebook | Johnny Dismal
An example of San Franscisco artist Johnny Dismal’s work. His art is included in an upcoming "Bat Country" exhibit at Jeannette’s You Are Here gallery.
Courtesy of Nora Thompson
"Carmen" is one of "The Rots" characters local artist Nora Thompson paints, and will be part of an upcoming exhibit at the You Are Here gallery in Jeannette.
Courtesy of Nora Thompson
"Swatter" is another "The Rots" character, painted on cabinet doors by local artist Nora Thompson for an upcoming exhibit at the You Are Here gallery in Jeannette.

Three regional artists, along with a West Coast artist, will exhibit some unusual and eye-popping creations in an upcoming show at You Are Here, 406 Clay Ave., Jeannette.

Participating in the joint and a “little off kilter” exhibit, “Bat Country,” are artists Nora Thompson, Brian McCall, Johnny Dismal and Dominic Lazzini.

The exhibit will open with a free 6-8 p.m. reception on Aug. 17, and run through Sept. 28.

Show curators are Mary Briggs, Jen Costello and Dan Overdorff.

Overdorff says Lazzini, 19, of Pittsburgh, will show his art in the space’s Galley Veronica, a hallway for small solo exhibits.

Dismal is a well-known San Francisco artist, Overdorff says.

“One of our main goals at the gallery … is to try to get somebody in from out of state,” he says.

Gallery founders Briggs and Costello introduced him to Dismal’s work.

“It feels like they mesh well. Since both (Thompson) and (McCall) are well-known in the area, we decided to feature all three,” Overdorff says.

While in some cultures’ mythology, bats are symbols of the underworld, where people live in shadows, other cultures view bats as symbols of good luck, according to the art center.

“Bat Country” uses the creatures of the night as a metaphor for the exhibit.

According to gallery coordinators, the artists’ individual bodies of work “share a worldview that is mysterious, humorous, askew, and just a bit outrageous.”

Thompson will present portraits of characters called “The Rots,” included in her book, “Twisted: Tales to Rot Your Brain Vol. 1.” McCall will exhibit drawings and sculpture, and Dismal will offer drawings and paintings from his world of “Dismal Things.”

The art work will be for sale, Overdorff says.

Also during opening night of the exhibit, a poetry installation will be launched on the rear of the You Are Here building, featuring the work of Don Wentworth and Bart Solarczyk.

Additionally, Teri Hayes and Alice Backer will play roots music for the event.

‘Rot’-ten things

Thompson says she has painted new images for the show, finding homes for her “The Rots” characters on cabinet doors.

“I found them at Construction Junction, and some at American Architectural Salvage,” says Thompson, a Whitney resident.

“If they came with hardware, the hardware is still on them. Some are worn, some are almost new,” she says. “I’ve painted inside the lines my whole life.”

On an overnight hiking trip in 2006, she carried a small sketchpad and inspiration struck.

“I was going to do something just for me, not something to sell or ‘inside the lines.’ I drew five different characters in half an hour,” she says.

“I like to think of ‘The Rots’ as G-rated monsters. They are cute. Some people buy (paintings) for their kids’ rooms. They are on greeting cards and in various galleries,” Thompson says. “People who don’t have a reference point always go ‘Tim Burton’ or ‘Edward Gorey.’”

Gallery operators in New Mexico and California have asked for more of this particular line.

“There might not be as many people who buy it that buy landscape paintings. Those who like this type of work really like it,” Thompson says.

Details: 724-578-3332 or

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: AandE | More A and E | Museums
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