Fe Gallery Exhibit Leaves Paper Trail

By Shaw, Kurt | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 24, 2008 | Go to article overview

Fe Gallery Exhibit Leaves Paper Trail


Shaw, Kurt, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


"Everything here is on paper, hence the title," gallery owner Jill Larson says about "Good on Paper," the latest exhibition at Fe Gallery in Lawrenceville.

More than a double entendre, the show's title is appropriate because the two dozen or so works by nine artists and one artist collective really are good.

As is always the case at Fe Gallery, the artists are a diverse mix of regional, national and international talent. Right up front, visitors are confronted with an installation by Pittsburgh artist Ruth E. Levine of Shadyside, three drawings by Ryan Roth of Long Island, N.Y., and a large-scale mixed-media drawing by Karin Bergdolt of Munich.

Levine's "Hundred Happiness" is a continuation of her investigation of multiples in mark making, combining a multitude of impressions of a calligraphic stamp of a Chinese character found in San Francisco on mulberry paper. Roth's drawings are portraits, both literal and psychological, of businessmen. And Bergdolt's "A topology of setting up everyday life" describes through visual language, and in different layers, a way of looking at everyday life that is personal yet profoundly universal.

Bergdolt's piece is particularly interesting because, coming to a foreign place, she writes in her statement, "very usual things look strange, special, more or less important, or at least 'new.'"

"They are daily sketches of her time spent in Pittsburgh," Larson says of Bergdolt's piece. "She's doing a residency here. It's just her observations of the Pittsburgh area. It's about everyday life and ordinary things."

Thus, sketches done on the streets of Lawrenceville, where she is currently staying with a host family, combined with written observations make for a compelling read, literally and visually.

The remaining works are all by Pittsburgh-based artists. In the center of the gallery, several handmade flip-books by Christopher Kardambikis show the artist in the act of writing on a chalkboard and a wall. Also on display by the artist is another combination of little flip-books with similar content -- here tightly packaged in a handmade, cloth-covered box -- that are, in effect, daily journals of the artist's life.

Around these works are hung a smattering of fake prescriptions for society's ills by Craig Kirby. Things like "Protective Ointment" and "Artificial Tears" are all set to ward off evil spirits. And two monoprints by Leslie Golomb, part of an ongoing series titled "Safeguard," portray children, a boy and a girl, each in the act of praying, are, in effect, trying to do the same. …

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