SPACE Gallery

Through January 25
Various times

The universal concept of obsession is the latest subject to be explored at the Downtown-based contemporary art gallery, SPACE. Running at the Cultural District venue from Nov. 28 through Jan. 25th, Obsessions showcases work by six contemporary artists who are based in the Midwest and East Coast.

Featuring artists who cull inspiration from personal experience, popular culture and their own studio rituals, Obsessions spans a wide range of artistic media, including painting, sculpture, site-specific installation, video and performance. Mining the complex nature of obsession through the varied creative impulses of living artists, the group show also explores common elements that tie all of the practitioners together, such as craft and expression.

Don’t miss the free opening reception on Friday, November 28th from 6 to 9 p.m., which will feature a performance by collaborating artist Becky Slemmons. At the opening, Slemmons will perform her piece, Obsessive love. one mark for each of the 9331 days we have been together… and counting, which will begin during Friday’s event and continue throughout the duration of the show.

Featured artists in Obsessions are: Jeremiah Johnson (Williamsport, PA), Jason Lockyer (Los Angeles, CA), Nathan Margoni (Benton Harbor, MI), Mary Ivy Martin (Brooklyn, NY), Becky Slemmons (Pittsburgh, PA) and Laurie Trok (Pittsburgh, PA). Exhibition curator Tom Sarver, a Pittsburgh-based multimedia artist who has interacted with all of the participants at various stages of his own career, selected artists whose work harbors “a certain intensity.”

Visitors will be zoomed into the miniature world of bugs via Jason Lockyer’s fantastical animations, hand-drawn depictions and collaged habitats made from doodles, videos and altered photographs. Accompanied by sounds, Lockyer’s creations convey the often-overlooked “beautiful and grotesque” qualities of nature, while also exploring themes such as loss and discovery.

Giant sculptures made from paint, wood, found fabrics and trash, Nathan Margoni’s whimsical assemblages explore imagination, human anatomy and insecurity, while also serving as physical representations for physical human conditions and ailments such as ugly toenails, bad breath, poor digestion and social anxiety. Yes, all that.

The highly intricate large-scale cut paper installations constructed by Pittsburgh artist Laurie Trok underscore a rigorous artistic process, an intense exploration of the physical act of drawing and a highly tactile manipulation of materials. Transforming drawing into three-dimensional form, Trok’s works also explore light, texture and shape.

A prolific painter and printmaker, Jeremiah Johnson exhibits colorful works that examine personal experience, appropriated pop culture and mythological narrative, while also serving as a diary-like document of the artist’s reactions to a constantly evolving world.

Reflecting her personal interactions with trees and plants, Mary Ivy Martin creates videos, installations and photographs that portray the symbiotic relationships that exist with healthy ecosystems.

Bugs, still from video animation by Jason Lockyer.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.