PORTRAITS OF AIR to Open 6/6 at 709 Penn Gallery
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust presents the visual art exhibition Portraits of Air: Pittsburgh by Detroit-based artist Susan Goethel Campbell. Crowd-sourced during the 2013 Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, this installation is the culmination of the yearlong project, on view at the Trust's 709 Penn Gallery from June 6-July 13, 2014. The exhibition, made possible through the generous support of the Heinz Endowments in partnership with the Breathe Project, opens in conjunction with the 2014 Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.
The installation shows the results of nearly 100 8 × 10 in., framed spun-glass air filters placed throughout the Pittsburgh region in ordinary locations, such as the home or workspace. Incorporating photography, sound and the air filters-some of which have remained completely white while others have visible particulates-Campbell creates a visual document of the invisible element of air and invites people to think about the quality of the air they breathe.
"The main goal of this project is to bring awareness to the concept of air. It moves from the local to the global and is necessary to sustain life," says artist Susan Goethel Campbell. "My hope is that people will see themselves in this project and not necessarily that air is dirty or polluted. What I am most interested in are the [filters'] placements and how these individual sites helped to create a broad portrait of air."
The installation includes many air filters retuned to Campbell after several months of collecting particulates, photographs of filter locations and a sound work titled "Air Moves," which is a poetic, narrative documentation of the Pittsburgh filter locations as well as sites around the world where Campbell asked people place air filters. A series of woodblock prints based on aerial views of Pittsburgh and other cities in the United States is also on view.
Portraits of Air is an ongoing, unscientific project that focuses on the movement and quality of air around the world. Campbell began the project in 2009 with the distribution of 24 8 × 10 in., air filters to people in seven countries, including 14 locations within the U.S. Each participant in the project was asked to place the filter in a location of their choosing so it could pick up particulates in the atmosphere.
Susan Goethel Campbell is a Detroit-based artist who creates multidisciplinary work that explores the intersection of nature, culture, and engineered environments. She has exhibited in solo and group shows both nationally and internationally, including at The International Print Center, NY; and Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Germany. Campbell has been awarded residencies at the Flemish Center for Graphic Arts, Kasterlee, Belgium; the Beisinghoff Printmaking Residency, Rhoden, Germany; as well as fellowships at the Jentel Foundtation, Banner, WY; and the Kresge Artist Fellowship, Detroit, MI. She received an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI, and taught studio art for 15 years at the College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI. Campbell's work is held in public and private collections across the country, including at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; The New York Public Library, New York, NY; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; and The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH.
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