The Pittsburgh Center of the Arts (PCA) rocked the Roots Cellar on Friday, February 12 for the opening reception of their 2016 Solo & Collaborative Exhibit.  The Center treated guests to the delicious down home cooking of Chloe Nicole’s Catering in the Roots Cellar, with a special performance by steel drummer and percussionist, Daniel Meunier.  The event was a “drumroll” for the PCA’S latest exhibit, featuring eleven artists from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia highlighting ten exhibits that explore place, memory and perception.  

“As we kick off the New Year, we are excited about turning up the volume on our music and arts venue at the Center,” says Joy Sato, Director of Special Events.  “The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts partners with the Calliope Folk Music Society whose mission is to be the premier presenter of traditional and roots-based music in Western Pennsylvania.  Calliope created a new name for this space and we think it sets the stage for what’s next – The Roots Cellar!”

The celebration was “music to the ears” of the artists chosen to present their talents in the 2016 PCA Solo & Collaborative Exhibit. They were selected from a PCA annual open call of artists living in the 150-mile radius of Pittsburgh.  The PCA showcase features a range of practices including sculpture, painting, digital and multimedia projections from the recent work of Anna Boyle, Nicole Crock, Sarika Goulatia, Robert Howsare, Scott Hunter, Katie Rearick & Rachel Saul, Dafna Rehavia, Patrick Schmidt, John Tronsor, and Elise Wells.

Laura Domencic, Curator of the Solo & Collaborative Exhibit, elaborated on how the themes of place, memory and perception is explored through art.  “The act of seeing is complex, and dependent on the individual’s ability to process and prioritize information.  Perception is distilled from this and becomes the way in which one thinks about and understands what is experienced.”

“The culmination of the selection process of these exhibits was only the beginning of the conversations with the artists. Each exhibition is a learning experience. During the creation and installation processes, a series of considerations and decisions are made to present the full development of the artist’s vision,” says Domencic.    Featured artists, Patrick Schmidt and Sarika Goulatia, can attest to this.  

“My initial thoughts of the space PCA gave me were overwhelming, “says Patrick Schmidt.  “I had to approach this exhibition from multiple viewpoints.  I set aside the 4 to 5 paintings I was working on and turned my attention to efforts on paper that I could work on everywhere I went.  I bought a variety of tester tapes to see what would work best on the walls at PCA.  “Once I began working in the space, I discovered one type of tape wouldn’t stick to the cold north-facing wall,” says Schmidt.  “I had to switch gears overnight. I spent 2 ½ weeks installing my drawing installation and I am thrilled with the results.”

Artist Sarika Goulatia agreed that the space transformed her work as well. “The ceilings in my studio are 12 feet high and I have white floors. The floor becomes a part of my install. I was aware of the wood floors at the PCA and wanted to carry the floor to the walls and the walls to the floor. So I intentionally left the wood exposed on some of the walls pieces. I painted on discs and tried to incorporate the drips on the floor – the pigment, the mirrors, the glass – everything reflected the objects around and the mylar ceiling reflected the floor. For me it was important to make the space one and be an overwhelming experience for the viewer.”

“The PCA was wonderful to work with,” said Schmidt.  “The staff was encouraging and supportive with every aspect of installing my show.  I want to thank all of the artists for their contributions and support of each other.  Pittsburgh is an amazing city that has a fantastic, healthy arts community.  I am honored to be a part of it.”

PCA’s Laura Domencic, feels the pride works both ways.  “We are honored to showcase these dynamic artists and continue this dialogue with the community.”  

The exhibition will run through April 17, 2016.  Join Blacktie-Pittsburgh and get in on the conversation – #Blacktiepgh: Pittsburgh Center of the Arts 2016 Solo & Collaborative Exhibit highlights amazing artists!