Image from show, "Peddling Personalities"
L. Malcolm Parcell Tinker
R. Mike McSorley Possessions
I chose this Piece by Malcolm Parcel because of the interplay between the people.
We have the peddler and a woman coming out to greet him. There are two elderly figures on the left, who pretend to not notice, but are aware of the situation. Then there is the male leaning against the pole, a brother or suitor? The other figures are not paying much attention to the activity. I sensed tension in this piece.
My work is of objects that relate to things a peddler might have. The word 'tinker' is a person who in the past traveled to different places and made money by selling or repairing small items. (Merriam-Webster). These people were usually metal workers. I focused on these types of items, figuring that a peddler or tinker would also buy and sell objects from his customers.
I included some items that relate to the sense of tension. The locket, a watch, some items that a suitor may carry as an offering.
- Mike McSorley 2014
By Kurt Shaw
Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, 7:48 p.m.
Westmoreland exhibit pairs portraits with still lifes
While the Westmoreland Museum of American Art's temporary location, Westmoreland @rt 30 in the former Stickley Audi & Co. furniture store in Unity, may be just that, temporary, it hasn't stopped museum staff from coming up with some remarkable exhibitions.
Take for example, "Peddling Personalities: Portrait and Still Life Pairings," which opened recently. The brainchild of Joan McGarry, the museum's director of education, it pairs portraits from the museum's permanent collection with still-life works of art created by 14 regional artists: William DeBernardi, Bud Gibbons, Diane White, Kristen Kovak, David Stanger, Joyce Werwie Perry, Robert Bowden, Mike McSorley, Karen Kaighin, Barry Shields, Patrick Lee, Kurt Pfaff, Al Gotlieb and Duncan MacDiarmid.
"I sent them images of all the portraits that were out in the gallery, and I asked them if they would be wiling to either send me an existing portrait or create a portrait, in response to one of the images, and explain why," McGarry says.
As visitors will see, the responses were as varied as the portraits themselves.
Perhaps the best out-of-the-box thinking comes from Al Gotlieb who chose to submit a previously created portrait of his mother in response the "Portrait of Ceres" (1809) by Adolph Ulrich Wertmuller (1751-1811).
Gotlieb's portraits are unique in that they are not physical representations or mirror images of his subjects, but rather implied representations through the careful arrangement of found objects and other bric-a-brac on bookshelves. In some cases, he will include a framed photograph of the subject among it all, as he did here.
"The photograph of my mother is from the 1940s and the objects are things in the piece that she would have liked," Gotlieb says. "She enjoyed animals and trinkets of animals. The books are ones she would like to have read. The fruit represents her love for gardening and decoration."
"When I read about Ceres, I decided to add fruit and other things that symbolized Mother Earth," Gotlieb says.
Ceres was a Roman goddess of fertility, motherly love and relationships. Her most important role was that of the goddess of agriculture and grain crops, and she was viewed as a Mother Earth figure, Gotlieb says.
Three artists chose to respond to two photographic portraits by Mark Perrott (b. 1946) from the permanent collection - "Kim" (1997) and "Tony" (1997).
Joyce Werwie Perry's still-life compilation "Shoes" (2014), painted with painter's knives in thick oil paint with the impasto method, underscores the feminine qualities of the former, while Charles "Bud" Gibbons oil painting "Mummy" (1995) and Duncan MacDiarmid's rock-pile sculpture "Temple Rocks" (2004) create a dialogue between the masculine and cultural qualities of the latter.
William DeBernardi and David Stanger each chose to submit previously created oil paintings.
A painting of a simple paper bag, "Bag" (1999) by DeBernardi stands in stark contrast to the portrait of a young accomplished naval officer, "Portrait of Philip Moen Childs (1918) by Frank Weston Benson (1862-1951), as a means to make a point.
"We all aspire to and celebrate honor and accomplishment, and we are all subject to time, circumstance and the physical nature of the human condition," DeBernardi says. "By all accounts, Mr. Childs was a fine example of someone who adhered to the adage 'Carpe diem.' "
Also straddling the dichotomy between the working class and the upper classes, Stanger's oil painting "Robe" (2011) next to Robert Gwathmey's (1903-88) painting "The Chauffeur" comments on Gwathmey's satirical caricature as it alludes to the condemnation by the chauffeur to his employers.
"It is also a clever device to expose our assumptions about individuals caught in the theater of life," Stanger says. "The chauffeur is a person caught between allegiances to two social classes."
The remaining pairings are just as thought-provoking, making it necessary for even the most casual of visitor to allow enough time to take it all in.
Judith O'Toole, the museum's director and CEO, says of this contemplative exhibit, "It's a harbinger of what's to come in the new building."
Not the typical museum installation, O'Toole says, "We will be doing things like this, invite a contemporary artist to come in and make a comment on something in the permanent collection."
Expansion and renovation of the museum's original building in Greensburg are set to be
completed in the spring of next year.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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L: Jerome Myers (1867-1940), Self-Portrait In Feathered Hat, 1927, Oil on Canvas, 30 1/4 X 25 in., Gift Of Mr. And Mrs. Barry E. Downes, 2007.13
R: Kurt Pfaff, Red Shoes And Brass Clock, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 16 X 20 in.
Peddling Personalities Exhibition Opening on Saturday, October 25
GREENSBURG, PA, October 20, 2014 - The Westmoreland Museum of America Art celebrates the opening of the exhibition Peddling Personalities: Portrait and Still Life Pairings with a reception on Saturday, October 25 from 3 to 5 p.m. The exhibition pairs still life works of art created by regional artists with portraits from The Westmoreland's permanent collection. Contemporary regional artists were invited to select a portrait painting from the Museum's collection and submit an existing still life work or create a new work to pair with the portrait. The artists were asked to consider how the objects in their still life might reflect the person in the portrait and were invited to write an explanation about the pairing. The 14 artists participating in the exhibition are William DeBernardi, Bud Gibbons, Diane White, Kristen Kovak, David Stanger, Joyce Wewrie Perry, Robert Bowden, Mike McSorley, Karen Kaighin, Barry Shields, Patrick Lee, Kurt Pfaff, Al Gotlieb and Duncan MacDiarmid. The exhibition will remain on view at Westmoreland @rt 30, the Museum's temporary location, through the end of February 2015.
Peddling Personalities: Portrait and Still Life Pairings is part of The Westmoreland education department's Self-E project exploring "selfies," self-portraiture, self-exploration and self-expression. The project is designed for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Students from 30 art classes representing eight different schools within the Greensburg-Salem, Hempfield and Southmoreland school districts are participating. Peddling Personalities was borne out of a need to have the students explore the concept of how objects define a person as well as the desire to involve local artists in the Self-E project. As part of Self-E, students will visit the Museum for an immersive tour during which they will experience numerous activities examining how artists express themselves or their subjects through their art works. One of the activities will focus on considering how objects sometimes seem to define who we are. Students will view the Peddling Personalities exhibition to explore this phenomenon and will have an opportunity to create their own still life installations to reflect the subjects in the portrait paintings. An exhibition of student work resulting from the Self-E project, which also includes extensive in-classroom components, will be on display in the Museum from November 15 through the end of January.
Another element of the Self-E project is The Westmoreland's current Exploring Selfie call for creative "selfies" from the general public. One may submit their creative "selfie" by emailing the image to email@example.com or by dropping off a photograph at Westmoreland @rt 30. The "selfies" will be on display at the Museum through November 11 and will be posted on the Museum's Facebook page. In addition to submitting their "selfie," participants are asked to answer the following questions: What do "selfies" mean to you?, Why and how often you take them?, and How do you share them with others?
About the Westmoreland Museum of American Art
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art is currently operating out of a temporary location - Westmoreland @rt 30 - while the Museum undergoes a major renovation and expansion. Located at 4764 State Route 30, between Greensburg and Latrobe, Westmoreland @rt 30 features works from the permanent collection, monthly Pop-Up Exhibitions, Studio Workshops, hands-on art activities for children on Saturdays & Sundays, Art on Tap "happy hour" events on the second Friday of every month and more. Regular hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 11 AM - 5 PM. An American Marketplace, the Shop at Westmoreland @rt 30, is open seven days a week from 11 AM - 5 PM. As part of a multi-year business plan tied to the renovation and expansion project, the Museum has launched Imagine What's Possible: The Westmoreland Capital and Endowment Campaign. To date, over $21 million has been raised towards the $38 million campaign goal. More information is available at wmuseumaa.org.