Pop-Up Exhibition: Sean Derry, Matthew Forrest & Gary Jurysta

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Artist Sean Derry has an ongoing interest in mechanical devices and amateur engineering, which can be partially attributed to his childhood experience repairing lawnmowers. He incorporates this interest in his artwork through explorations of the lived experience of a place and investigates alternative strategies for inhabiting these environments.

“I celebrate amateur solutions to complex problems,” he says. “I repurpose discarded objects and build mechanical contraptions that perform. The vulnerability of these instruments is critical to comprehending the humility of intervening to reorder everyday conditions. I work to establish an equilibrium between ambition and uncertainty and use this frame to assess the perplexities of contemporary being.”

Derry’s work includes installations, commissions and curatorial projects. Through his curatorial work, he has developed projects for the Rivers of Steel Heritage Area, Trust for Public Land, Anchorage Museum at the Rasmuson Center, Art in Action, National Institute for Fitness and Sport, and Waterman Agricultural Center. Derry has completed public commissions for the University of Alaska, the City of Indianapolis, and Indianapolis Cultural Trail. In 2006, one of his commissions, Charting Pogues Run, was featured in the Americans for the Arts Year in Review. Derry is the recipient of grants from the Sprout Fund, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Alaska State Council on the Arts, and Edith Fergus-Gilmore Trust. Derry, who grew up in Alaska, currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is the area head of sculpture at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Matthew Forrest’s work synthesizes historical, mythological and spiritual imagery. He incorporates specific references from his farmland and hunting upbringing in western Pennsylvania, connecting the personal and regional with global conditions and diverse belief systems. Forrest’s imagery is appropriated and invented, derived from direct observation and experience and combined with research of behaviors and narratives surrounding faith and its practice.

“My own interpretation of religious accounts taps into astronomy and mythology, using animal and human imagery to explore and question how we see, know and believe in this world,” he says. “Early religious and mythological imagery, from icons, manuscripts, and constellations, provides sources and clues for contemporary conditions. Issues of space, sound, and the distortion of imagery over time are also concerns that thread throughout my work, whether through manual, mechanical or electronic processes in printmaking, drawing or installation. Connecting imagery and technologies from the past with those of the present further engages and challenges the viewer, inviting them to participate in rethinking our conception of the world, its origins, meaning and future.”

Forrest received his BFA from Slippery Rock University in 2005 and his MFA from West Virginia University in 2008. He currently works for Artist Image Resource (AIR) as an Associate Printer and for Carnegie Mellon University as Printmaking & Metal-Smithing Tech. Forrest’s teaching experience includes Carnegie Mellon University, West Virginia University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Gary Jurysta is an abstract painter who creates both 2-D paintings and sculptured, optical-color fields on curved canvas. His work explores how the process of artmaking and the visual elements in the work itself relate to patterns in nature, such as line, rhythm, movement and progression. Jurysta investigates the behavior of various viscosities on shaped surfaces and how colors interact and define the contours of those surfaces. He associates these investigations with nature and how various forces like temperature, water, evaporation and wind erode and shape earth’s terrain.

“In the end,” he says, “what I hope to achieve is a rich, dynamic and interesting visual statement.”

Jurysta holds a MFA in Painting from Brooklyn College CUNY, Brooklyn, New York. His work has been shown in museums and galleries throughout the country including the Portland Museum of Art, Maine; the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York; and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Public collections include the Westmoreland Museum of American Art; Carnegie Museum of Art; and The Art Center, Erie, Pennsylvania.

Opening: Friday, March 13 from 5-7 PM at Art on Tap. Admission is $7 and includes music by Detention, a scavenger hunt, light bites from The Kitchen on Main, beer from All Saints Brewing Company, wine and non-alcoholic drink selections. This month’s Art on Tap is sponsored by the Blackburn Center and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.