Balancing Act; Wood, Glass, Metal and Plaster. These Materials Surround Us in Our Everyday Lives. but in the Hands of David Bernabo and Blaine Siegel, They Can Be Transformed into a Balancing Act That Speaks to the Structures Made of These Materials and How That Defines Our Lives. [Derived Headline]

By Shaw, Kurt | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 3, 2016 | Go to article overview

Balancing Act; Wood, Glass, Metal and Plaster. These Materials Surround Us in Our Everyday Lives. but in the Hands of David Bernabo and Blaine Siegel, They Can Be Transformed into a Balancing Act That Speaks to the Structures Made of These Materials and How That Defines Our Lives. [Derived Headline]


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


Wood, glass, metal and plaster. These materials surround us in our everyday lives. But in the hands of David Bernabo and Blaine Siegel, they can be transformed into a balancing act that speaks to the structures made of these materials and how that defines our lives.

Currently, both artists fill the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Space gallery, Downtown, with works in an exhibit titled "Causal Loop."

Bernabo lives in Bloomfield and works as a health-care consultant and a freelance filmmaker/videographer. Siegel lives in Allison Park, Hampton, and is the education and outreach director for Conflict Kitchen, as well as the studio director for the Susquehanna location of Radiant Hall.

Each of their works are separate, distinct pieces, but together they play off of each other incredibly well, creating a dialogue between them that makes for an enjoyable visual experience.

Many of Bernabo's pieces support themselves through balance and tension. "Judson" is the piece that kick-started his current phase of art-making, which involves creating sculpture with found materials through simple, but contemplative positioning.

Bernabo says this phase arose from two practical concerns: "Firstly, making paintings was becoming expensive, especially in a city with a limited art-buying public," he says. "The found and bought components in these pieces are cheap -- a few dollars for each piece of wood. Secondly, the pieces can be rearranged quickly in the studio, allowing for quick adjustments and decisions when moving the piece into a new environment, such as Space gallery."

"Woodsled" and "Luxury Block" offer more combinations that provide a similar visual tension. However, Bernabo says the piece "Comb, Pickax, and Comb" was a victim of the editing process, meaning that components from this piece were pulled apart and used in "Woodsled" and "Luxury Block."

"It is very possible that some of these pieces will exist in a third life after this show," he says, referencing the origins of the portable and practical form of artmaking he has stumbled onto.

Siegel's piece "The Great Escape" was the first of the wall- based assemblages he created for the show.

"It really set the tone for the rest of the wall pieces," he says.

Siegel says he used white a lot in these works to reference historical architecture and systems.

"I'm thinking about Doric columns, white-washed fences and old plantation-style homes," he says. "But using white isn't just a conceptual tool. I'm genuinely fascinated by the subtleties that can be found in all the different versions of the color white, how all these different variations can play off one another . …

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Balancing Act; Wood, Glass, Metal and Plaster. These Materials Surround Us in Our Everyday Lives. but in the Hands of David Bernabo and Blaine Siegel, They Can Be Transformed into a Balancing Act That Speaks to the Structures Made of These Materials and How That Defines Our Lives. [Derived Headline]
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