Out and About: Latrobe Art League Has Strong Showing

By Law, Dawn | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 2, 2009 | Go to article overview

Out and About: Latrobe Art League Has Strong Showing


Law, Dawn, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


And the winners are ...

Oh, what a night at the Latrobe Art Center Tuesday! The Latrobe Art League intraclub show received 54 draw-dropping entries, possibly some of the best ever, according to organizers. The show's judge, Rita Haldeman, had some tough decisions to make, deciding who took home the ribbons.

In the end, Diana Williams' oil painting called "Goin Home," was awarded Best of Show. Inspired by a photograph taken on a family vacation in 1983, the painting shows Williams' pouty 6-year-old standing alongside the Colorado River, disappointed that it was time to go home. The lifelike painting had the entire show buzzing about its beauty.

Jan Barone and her bronze sculpture called "Old Fisherman" took 1st prize. The husband of an artist friend posed for the piece, wearing a sea cap and layered shirts that were expertly re-created. Doreen Currie's acrylic called "St Vincent's" shows the stunning landscape of the Latrobe college, with a bright blue sky and grey mountains behind it. A photograph collage by Bill Paxton called "Milkweed Fireworks" took third place for its colorful montage of flowers and insects.

Honorable Mentions went to artists Catherine Rosensteel, Glenda Washburn, Elmer Knizer, Shari Davis and Don Wonderling.

The club's president, Bill Panasiti, said there was no theme to this year's show, so there was nothing inhibiting the entries. "There is a lot of talent here," Jackie Dixon, the center's director, said.

The show's committee included Marie Cestello, Shari Davis, Jo Dzombak, Toni Hajek, Susan Hrubes, Rosemary Kokonaski, Peg Panasiti, Bill Paxton, Teresa Palmer, Kathy Rafferty, Betty Reita, Catherine Rosensteel and Jan Sabatos.

-- Jennifer Miele, WTAE

'Popular Culture' on exhibit

If you're a magazine reader, whether you realize it or not, you're probably familiar with the work of post-pop artist and illustrator John Ritter. His illustrations have graced the covers and inside pages of publications such as The New Yorker, Time, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Harpers, GQ, Men's Health and the Harvard Business Review.

Currently, his work lines the walls of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley, where "Popular Culture: A Retrospective of Published Illustrations by John Ritter" is on display through Nov. 7. Ritter discussed his background and work during a well-attended Thursday session of Lunch a l'Art at the museum.

The Delmont native is something of a homegrown celebrity, now residing in the Ligonier Valley after stints in California and Pittsburgh. During his talk and slide show, he traced his creative impulses back to age 7 when, as a budding skateboarder, he told his parents that as soon as he could find a way, he was going to move to California.

Other major influences were punk rock and the magazines that catered to that culture and to the skater culture.

"There was a DYI quality to the late '70s and early '80s that said it doesn't matter if we're not musicians; it doesn't matter if we're not artists," he said. "We'll just make our own art and music."

Which Ritter proceeded to do, at least with the art end of things, through a series of graphic-design jobs, including T-shirt design and a stint as a "guinea pig" testing Adobe PhotoShop software before it went on the market.

Eventually, that led to his current career, which he described as "experimenting with photos and hand drawings and assembling them on the computer. My job as a magazine illustrator is to read the material I'm given, distill it down to its essence and create an image that tells a story."

He called today's digital technology "both scary and liberating. Everybody's kind of doing everything nowadays. Now, anyone can make art."

Not everyone's digital doodlings are going to make it to the cover of a national magazine. But Ritter did promise that "if you're around me long enough, you're going to show up in The New Yorker in some shape or form. …

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