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Drawing Closer


"Collaborative Drawing Exhibit Scheduled for Future Tenant"

Opening Reception: Friday, August 6, 6:00 - 9:00 pm, featuring a performance by Chalk Outline Party

What happens when you put a handful of artists, each with their own unique style, in a room with a variety of drawing materials? Future Tenant, located at 801 Liberty Avenue in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, plans to find out with its upcoming exhibit, drawing closer, running Friday, August 6 through Friday, August 27.

For one week, a group of ten artists from Pittsburgh and beyond will have unlimited access to Future Tenant, where they will create a collaborative drawing on paper installed on the gallery walls and ceiling. Each artist will contribute to the drawing as the opening date approaches, adding his or her distinct style to the piece, while adhering to a set of guidelines established by the group at the project’s inception.

Jessica Fenlon, project coordinator and a contributing artist for the drawing, likens the exhibit to improvisational jazz music, with the “performers” riffing off of one another, changing, influencing and reinterpreting one another’s work. Each artist’s individual efforts ultimately enhance the whole. This joint endeavor encourages the contributing artists to let go of their sense of personal ownership and allow their work to be altered for the sake of the total project.

In Fenlon’s view, the collaborative process also allows viewers to “transcend the ‘cult of personality’;” that is, to consider the work itself rather than an artist’s individual mark on that work.

During the course of the exhibition, invited artists, writers and musicians will add to the drawing. Gallery visitors are encouraged to experience drawing closer more than once so they can witness the project’s evolution. There will also be a sketchbook and a variety of drawing materials available so the public can respond and contribute to the collaborative process.

Future Tenant’s weekly hours of operation for drawing closer are Tuesday through Saturday, Noon to 8 PM. From 6 to 9 PM on Friday, August 6, Future Tenant will host an opening reception, featuring light refreshments, entertainment by local band Chalk Outline Party and an opportunity to meet some of the artists.

Contributing artists slated to appear:

Josh Bonnett is a local Pittsburgh artist who most recently participated in the Graffiti Mural Invitational in the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Adam Carnes, 19, is a graduate of the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA). Currently a freelance artist and intern at the Artist Image Resource, Adam will be pursuing a painting/drawing degree at the Cooper Union in New York City begining this fall.

Robert Charlton was born and raised near Boston. After studying English literature at Boston University and working in investment banking and publishing for several years, Robert returned to Boston University’s Museum School. He currently works at the Harcourt Bindery in Boston, and also spends a great deal of time printmaking.

Elizabeth Deasy is a Pittsburgh artist whose paintings have recently been featured in AMP @ The Warhol and in the Three Rivers Arts Festival Annual Exhibition.

Craig Dransfield is a member of the Ohio-based artist collective Barnstormers, a group dedicated to artistically covering the sides of barns. His solo work was recently showcased in Beautiful Losers, an exhibition of street art at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Jessica Fenlon, born in San Francisco, CA, and raised in Appleton, WI, now resides in Pittsburgh. Jessica received her BFA in studio art at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and her MFA in fine art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University. Her most recent exhibit was Subscription at Future Tenant, and she is currently working on the escape artist sketchbook, which she describes as “the sublimation of (her) life into images which transcend autobiography.”

Adam Grossi is a painter and video and performance artist from Pittsburgh, whose work will be shown at the ModernFormations Gallery in September. Adam also participates in the interactive project Everyday Art Assignments.

Elik Smith was born in 1978 to “loving parents who encouraged the artist in him.” He started drawing angels, aliens, monsters and star-helmed warriors when he was two years old and has yet to improve his technique.

Debra Tomson graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a four-month painting/drawing focus at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. She lives, works, and scavenges on the South Side of Pittsburgh.

Josh Tonies holds a BFA in Media Studies from Columbus College of Art and Design, and currently lives in Columbus, Ohio. Josh works in a variety of media, from photography and video to spraypaint, silkscreen and digital design.

Thomas Watkiss is a native of Pennsylvania, and recently graduated with degrees in Studio Arts and the History of Art & Architecture from the University of Pittsburgh. A painter and musician, he is currently making work from his atelier in Bergen, Norway, and will be a remote contributer to the drawing closer project.

Also at Future Tenant in August: At 7 PM on Friday, August 13, musician James Low will be performing in the space. Low’s soulful fusion of rock and folk was influenced by his childhood in Oregon and the time he spent in New York City. The Portland Mercury calls Low “a gifted songwriter with a great, just-got-off-ridin’-the-rails, wayward soul of a voice…country tinged, sincere and emotive.”

Low’s solo show at Future Tenant is part of a national tour promoting the recent release of his live CD, James Low: Live at Mississippi Studios. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this CD will be contributed to moveon.org.

Future Tenant is a project of Carnegie Mellon University and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, located in the heart of the Cultural District. The art space, which features alternative exhibitions and performances by emerging artists from the Carnegie Mellon University community and beyond, is managed by a team of students from the Masters of Arts Management program, a joint program of Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Fine Arts and the H. John Heinz, III School of Public Policy and Management.

Earlier Event: July 2
The Dead
Later Event: October 8
Mintwood