For a juried exhibition only in its second year of existence, Great Waves II has garnered a striking trio of Pittsburgh-based artists in its 2015 show, on view through September 6th. Jurors Eric Shiner of the Andy Warhol Museum and Chad Alligood of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art chose voices that create a tripartite consideration of mind, body, and home, but by no means should the show be taken as something even remotely congruous. Rather, the perspectives on each wall jump unevenly between one another, unaligned thought processes that move the beholder in manners true to human form.
On the left and rear walls of the gallery, Jamie Earnest's works explore various colorscapes in distantly domestic settings. In Beach House 2004 ft. Rothko, deep greens and bright oranges coincide with more muted pastels in a zoomed-in bedroom view that plays with proportions and, ultimately, the sense of comfort generally associated with this area of the household. Despite the close-up nature of the painting, the scene itself feels removed; the bare bones of a space once lived in are now left to dejectedly pose for the canvas. While the colors may say otherwise, Beach House 2004 ft. Rothko strikingly reflects a different side of the home, stripped of gentrified niceties and left with the bare necessities: a fan, a bed, a window, and little else.
Meanwhile, another work, CA uses gradient blues and pallid pink call to mind the essences of its title: the colors of the Pacific in conversation with those of an LA condominium from the 70's. A hint of green tape in the center of the canvas balances out land and sea. Still, these features are framed by an asymmetric construction site of sorts, which introduces Earnest's recurring dexterity in combining industrial material with more traditional media. CA projects a singular kind of beauty, the lifeblood of a landscape contained by straight edges of reality and pragmatism. Tape, oil, tar, and cement used to capture a house, a room -- as raw as they are soft and domestic, Earnest's pieces uniquely represent that relationship of mixed emotions one shares with their own iterations of home.
An eight-part series concocted from gelatin, Kool-Aid, and __, Creep by Haylee Ebersole reaches towards an unsuspecting audience like frozen flesh, caught mid-recoil. The fragments' glittered sheen combats their gaunt nature to create something more fragile than rugged, like the innards of an unidentifiable creature carefully placed and cured for examination. This "flesh" in turn becomes more like bone, something theoretically tougher, but a form that ultimately plagues a once-pliable substance with brittleness.
The final canvas piece, however, practically writhes out of its two-dimensional form and ironically is the portion of Creep that feels most alive. It pulses sporadically across the canvas, a chaotic mountain range desperate to sprawl. One could easily imagine such a sight taking place beneath his or her own skin. In both its 2D and 3D forms, the Creep series forces the viewer to contemplate their own physical shells and calls the strength of inner structural components into question.
While Earnest and Ebersole reformat physical structures through their own lenses, Sarika Goulatia does rather the opposite, giving memory and subconscious ramblings new life through sculpture and sketching. Her works are nuanced, somewhat whimsical inventions, similar to those of an imaginative child. Still, despite the traces of youth running through each sketch, their cores remain poignantly melancholic, not only in theme but also in design. Goulatia draws with delicate lines, layered at times to create a denser effect, with overall subtlety in structure.
A certain sense of loss and past failure emanates from her sketches' subjects, all of which include their own peculiar baggage piled atop an unconventional foundation. The Launch and The Launch Examined may not directly hang in a set, but they inevitably converse with each other across the gallery wall, one contemplating the other's failed objective. Like the pike dream of a crazed inventor, the pieces depict the product of wishful thinking -- a junk-clad umbrella meant to fly from a tabletop -- being defeated by the hard punch of realistic constriction. The narrative resonates with the optimistic facets of the human condition, more commonly associated with younger years but decidedly perpetual in existence.
Reminiscences, Goulatia's darker meditations on wood panel, appear to be X-rayed memories given physicality, as semi-ambiguous figures fall out of focus into depths unknown. The pieces sit at a juncture between medical and psychological meaning, as jarring as the first radiologic glimpse of a broken bone but in a more idiosyncratic fashion. However valid the artist's ownership over these reminiscences may be, they up feeling all too familiar to those who view them, as though their own vague imaginings were also lost somewhere within the panels' blackness.
In a skillfully chosen swatch of Pittsburgh-based artistry, Great Waves II moves its audience to look within their own homes, bodies, and minds to examine where each artist's narrative intertwines with their own. The exhibition serves as a crucial platform for the region's thriving pool of cultural talent, however early it may be in its existence, and it is well worth attending for all who seek newly produced local art with renewed perspective.
Great Waves II is on view at Revision Space through September 6th.