ENCLAVES: JENNIFER NAGLE MYERS HOME/STUDIO TOUR

Last week I had the opportunity to set foot into an artist live/work space that I’ve been looking forward to all summer! Welcomed immediately by Jennifer Nagle Myers and her two outrageously adorable dogs, it set the scene perfectly for a great afternoon.

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A real New Yorker, originally from the City, Jennifer now lives in Lawrenceville and shares a house with fellow artist Daniel Luchman. The space is open, airy and has a great energy - which their shared backyard with tree-high sunflowers definitely adds to. All the components for a successful work/live situation, which I can attest to personally!

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It was interesting to interact with Jennifer’s work after talking about it with her a few months prior. She is not rooted to one form or medium but a lot of her work grapples with equality and celebrating women. This concept has been tackled for generations but her work is not repetitive or stale, rather, in her words, “tributes, memories and paying homage a lot.”   

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Speaking to this point, in Spring Jennifer participated in the wildly clever C. Finley curated 2014 Whitney Houston Biennial. It included 75 international female artists. For those of you who are scrunching your faces at the title - understand this was a reaction to the Whitney Biennial which still draws controversy for it’s lack of including female artists after more than forty years in existence.

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Myers exhibited her Never-Ending Book of Women’s Rights. With five chapters thus far, she thinks it will be a lifetime project since it’s purpose is to celebrate women. Don’t take her book in too literal of a sense. It does include jottings of names but also emcompasses the use of slate, in all sizes. The pieces are both painted and stacked (Pages of Potential), piece by piece from the floor slowly up the wall.

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Staying on the edge of not knowing what the hell you are doing, fresh, moving into new fields.” We can all appreciate that attitude! And refreshing in a world of contemporary art that is sometimes over analyzed to the point of disinterest. Jennifer’s First Place Woman series is a great example of the quoted attitude. Her excitement over the work transitioning, not always with a direct result in mind, can be favored over the object itself.

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50 lucky CSA PGH members were the recipients of a photographic capture of such work, all at a different transformation point. This was the project’s second rendition that was spawned from her solo exhibition Women in Time at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

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An aspect of Jennifer that I found very cool, not just in her work but also her nature, is the collaboration she forged with Art Creation Foundation for Children in Jacmel, Haiti. This occurred during her residency at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh alongside Daniel Luchman. Both artists sought out the foundation in order to commission papier mache eyeballs that were eventually attached to the inflatable portion of their installation, Queen Simon and the Sommeloth. Artists helping artists is a fantastic trend and one that I’m happy to continually witness here in Pittsburgh. Although, taking it to Haiti brings a whole new perspective to the act!

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Her influences can be attributed to different people, many places and a life full of memories. When entering her studio an inspiration collaged wall grants your attention. Many treasures are hanging but the framed, pen-signed note from Roald Dahl, one of her biggest inspirations and a response to the letter she sent him in 3rd grade about her 400 page story “The Fence,” and a curious little painting Friends or Foes by Frederic Remington first struck me.

Jennifer’s family has also served as a great influence. Her parents were both journalists and her illustrations appear in her father’s book of adventuring short stories. Additionally, Jennifer spoke warmly about her Aunt Patti who was a huge force in her life. “A total, true artist….an outside artist driven by a bit of insanity that was managed really well.”

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If you’d like to catch the lady in action, save the date for December 12, 2014 as she translates her public performances for one night only as part of New Hazlett Theater’s CSA Performing Artists series.  

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Jennifer, thank you for inviting us into your treasured space and sharing your stories and inspirations. 

Adventure on, Treaders! ~C. Smith 

All masterful photographs taken by Tyler Banash. 

HATES CATS. LOVES ARTS.

Perhaps you are familiar with GPAC, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. If not, you should be! The array of opportunities GPAC offers is vast and benefits those embedded in the arts and those who are supporters.

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Upcoming, and noteworthy for its relatability and ingenuity, is their event Unleashed: Artist Party + Dog Fashion Show on Wednesday, September 3rd at the New Hazlett Theater from 5:30-9pm. The event intends to ruffle your feathers in anticipation for ArtDOG, Arts Days of Giving. And while we may be slightly biased at Treading Art (it’s possible we’ve been accused of being obsessive dog lovers) this happening has enough components to satisfy even the moodiest of critics.

Of course, the evening will commence with the Dog Fashion Show which GPAC member Artists and Arts Organizations are encouraged to enter! You will have the chance to show off your pup couture skills and receive wooflike prizes. Celebrity commentator Jim Cunningham of WQED’s Weekday Morning Show will emcee the fashion proceedings which will also introduce ArtDOG’s mascot (fortunately for us, adoptable from Animal Friends!).

If you are biting at the bone, get in touch with your canine informant Mr. Dave English at denglish@pittsburghartscouncil.org for the exclusive details.

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The fashion show will be further enlivened with an enticing award component. ATTENTION all ARTISTS - during the costume spectacular five of you artistically blessed will be chosen at random - in front of the lively audience - to enthrone the Unleashed Artists Fund and receive an endowment on Arts Day of Giving!!!

Following this excitement the second act of the event will be held inside the New Hazlett Theater and oriented around artful adventures for the upright walking (so please be sure to make arrangements for your furry friend). Have your portrait snapped with ArtDOG, the newly crowned celebrity, cheers to the festive participants with delicious food and drinks and enjoy a multimedia lineup of live performances including: Nate Da Phat Barber (DJ), Tami Dixon (acting), Leslie Mcilroy (poetry), Gena y Pena (music), Blaine Seigel (visual arts), Dave Bernabo (music) and Jill Stifel (dance).   

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GPAC also encourages its followers to participate in the ArtDOG Meme Competition!

If you’re an artist, aspiring designer or self-taught skill gloater you are challenged to create a meme that will make all of Pittsburgh roar, and is arts and culture related, of course. The deadline is September 3rd. Get your name out there, win prizes and have your work recognized at the main event. Check out these irresistible subjects for your meme use: 

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Post your finished product here and share it with your social media masses! If you collect the most votes, you could be heading to either Meat and Potatoes (have you tried their Bloody Mary brunch bar!?), Grit and Grace (need I mention their dim sum), receive tickets to Bricolage, or vouchers to Cultural Trust venues (oh, the places you’ll go!).

So won’t you join us to get in gear for ArtDOG and enjoy the best get down and jive end of summer gig. Make it an event with all of your best canine and arts loving friends and purchase your $10 tickets here!

                         

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Enclaves: Anne Stone Home Tour

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Earlier this summer I was welcomed into the story-filled home of Anne Stone. Just beyond the quaint sidewalks of Aspinwall her abode was both a retreat and a passage into worldly explorations

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Anne is from a small town in central PA where she described her family as being the “oddballs in town. Everyone ate at 5pm and we ate at 8pm.” Her passions include art and adventure, collecting vintage clothing and preserving the art of dressing the part, helping artists realize their vision, and supporting the community through charitable work. She also has a love of genealogy that has snowballed into a family tree with thousands of kin!

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To the community Anne is a muse; she is also full of glamour, immensely caring and a pioneer DIY’er. In her presence it is hard not to be swept away by her inimitable spirit and her home is a direct reflection of these qualities. 

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She is the poster gal for innovative design which is confirmed by the Chinese wedding skirts and kimono’s that make up her curtains. She expertly mixes a cross-culture of belongings and paves the way of enjoying your treasures, without excessive attachment. She aptly states, “you don’t have to own everything forever. There are always other fabulous things out there.” This vigor for life and enthusiasm for individuality is a clear influence from her adventures: boarding school in Scotland, life as a young family in Palm Desert, honeymooning in Thailand (before it was trendy), moving to Hong Kong, and descending from a long line of wanderlust seekers.

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These qualities also leave their mark when Anne gleefully throws herself into local projects. This includes the arthouse, La Hütte Royal, in Troy Hill by Hamburg-based artist Thorsten Brinkmann. She was an integral part in helping collector Evan Mirapaul bring the piece to life from start to finish. Since, the multi-level installation has been celebrated on a national and international level, rightfully so! If you have yet to immerse yourself in this one of a kind experience, have a peek here.  

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More recently Anne helped local artist Diane Samuels create Luminous Manuscript, a large scale mosaic that is installed at the Center for Jewish History in New York. Imagine hand cutting thousands of penny-sized pieces of paper!

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It was a pleasure to meander through Anne’s nostalgic treasures. And any lady that declares she always shows up to work in a dress, no matter how vigorous the project, has our loyalty! Thank you again Anne for opening the door to your brilliant home and sharing with Treading Art your charmed stories. ~CRS

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