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Artwork We’re Digging This Month

· glass,favorite piece,wood,sculpture,mixed media

We recently had the opportunity to photograph pieces from Pittsburgh-based artists and couldn’t help but to play favorites. Art is largely subjective; what I may like, Nathan won’t, and vice versa. You can see the differences in style in our favorite pieces this month. That said, we love having a running dialog about what speaks to us, the feelings we get from these pieces, and the insight we receive from the artists and their process.

Our goal here is to introduce you to new exhibitions, artists, and ways of thinking about works of art of all varieties.

Sam’s Favorite Piece of the Month

I’m really excited about Sharif Bey’s work at Pittsburgh Glass Center this month. As I mentioned when we played favorites during the Art of Fire auction photography process, I love all kinds of glass artwork.

Bey is the current exhibiting artist at PGC with a show called “Dialogues in Clay + Glass.” Bey has been working in clay and ceramics for quite some time and he was invited to participate in the Idea Furnace residency program at PGC despite having no glass experience.

Bey says, “In my work, juxtaposing this history with the images and values reflected in bling-bling culture (contemporary urban adornment) brings forth generative questions regarding social responsibility versus social status, tradition versus trend, and wealth versus power.
The piece that I’m particularly drawn to is called Nestle. It uses a chemical process in casting the elements which results in glass that changes color under different spectrums of light. I love it because both the blue in fluorescent light and the magenta in full spectrum light are really magical colors.
The colors make this a unique piece and quite a challenge to photograph. What makes it beautiful also makes it a bit of a challenge - a metaphor for life, no? Anyway, color-shifting glass always presents a challenge to photograph in a single image. “Shift” implies movement and a photo has a limited capacity to capture movement.
Nathan’s expert-level Photoshop skills came in handy when editing to show off the full range of this piece in a single image. As I mention, the glass changes color under different spectrums of light, so Nathan first shot this under one light temperature, then the other, and then blended them together so the full range of colors is visible in one image.
Nathan is a lighting freak, I mean, master, so we try to light well and take quality photos as we’re shooting so there’s minimal post-processing; however, this is a perfect example of where a more advanced edit is necessary.

It’s also a great example of why you need a pro to photograph your work. The artist may understand how to make the colors visible to the human eye, but a photographer will know how to capture those colors just as vividly in the camera’s eye.

Nathan’s Favorite Piece of the Month

Fig and Ed Pinto are also artists in Pittsburgh. That’s about where their similarities to Sharif Bey end, though that doesn’t detract from the conversation at all.
I love nature and enjoy how Fig captures natural elements in his work as they would appear “in the wild.” The Laurel Highlands is one of my favorite areas to hike and I feel like I’m looking at part of the Laurel Highlands here.
This piece highlights Fig’s highly accurate attention to detail that always amazes me. This is a slice of time and space. It allows you to bring a lasting sample of a simple, natural area into your home. This is a minimal approach to nature and every element is intentionally included.
Have you discovered a new favorite work of art recently? We’d love to hear about it and learn what you enjoy about it!

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