Series by Carol Skinger
Best of Show Award from Freyda Spira, Associate Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
My series of 6 paintings of mobile homes, trailers and manufactured homes were accepted for exhibit at a Pittsburgh Society of Artists juried art show titled “Intr(au)spective” at the 56th Annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival (TRAF) in Pittsburgh June 5- June 14, 2015. Venue was 937 Gallery 937 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh PA 15222
Juror Freyda Spira, Associate Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art awarded 3 Best of Show Awards and my series received one of them.
Brandon Getz wrote about the exhibit here.
Of course I am personally very happy about my artwork getting an important award. I am pleased as well that this puts a spotlight on a population of people living on a precarious economic margin. If you think about it the term “trailer trash” has not gone out of use in the same way many other phrases and labels have. Phrases we have collectively agreed are abusive and serve to keep people as “others” slowly go out of use, or are instantly known for what they are. We collectively turn our heads and avoid the gaze at trailers and mobile homes, not seeing them, or casting them as ugly and unfortunate. Most of all not thinking about them at all is the norm. Disregard itself is one of the most damaging things. In fact the plan view I painted, the upper left picture, illustrates that you often cannot see them at all. That mobile home park Locust Grove Park is a few miles away. I drive by it all the time but never knew of its existence until creating my pieces for the show.
Responding to the unique Festival theme UNSEEN/UNHEARD artists were asked to draw inspiration from social justice issues, auditory/visual subjects, or history not seen or told. I found myself in the period leading up to the deadline for submission thinking long and hard about what to do. There are times I feel like everything has been said and done before. But that is what art does, it seeks out the new, or the previously not thought about before as a subject of artistic exploration. Finally it came to me that I cannot think of an art concerned with living in mobile homes, trailers, and manufactured homes. Perhaps it has been done in art, literature, music, theater, film, poetry, or dance but I cannot think of it. So that was my subject. While working I realized it is the quiet but historic twin to the Tiny House Movement, which is very popular and does get plenty of exposure.
For this exhibit 92 artists submitted 160 pieces of artwork. Spira selected 34 pieces by 30 artists to be shown. My second submission was also accepted titled “Trailer Toile”.
Serving as juror for PSA’s Intr[au]spective is Freyda Spira, Associate Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and specializes in Early Modern German art and works on paper. Spira has curated exhibitions including, Dürer and Beyond: Central European Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2012); and Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings (2012). Presently, she is curating an exhibition entitled Prints & People: The Building of a Metropolitan Collection, 1916-1966, which will be accompanied by a catalogue (2016). She has also curated numerous smaller exhibitions on nineteenth and twentieth century visual culture, including Legends of the Dead Ball Era, Century Posters, Life Magazine and Pop Art, and A Sport for Every Girl.
Freyda Spira Juror’s Statement:
“50 years ago a hardy band of eight artists formed the Pittsburgh Society of Artists with the mission to facilitate and promote the exhibition of original art by its members. Today more than 380 artists living within a 150-mile radius of Pittsburgh comprise PSA. The title of the show is a playful twist on PSA’s 50th anniversary nodding to the periodic table and the 79th element of gold, but it also reflects the interior life of the artist and the introspective nature of traversing the mindscape where the image and inspiration for the artwork first appear.
The provocative work submitted for the Intr(Au)spective exhibition ranged from beautifully detailed craftwork, to abstract paintings, sculpture, and prints. As varied as the artists who submitted the works, the questions posed, lives exposed, and continuing battles fought spoke to the underlying idea of the exhibition and demonstrated not only the artists own musings, but also set into motion open-ended reactions. As a juror, I was constantly engaged by new ideas, new ways of seeing, and this was a complete pleasure. The three works that I selected as “Best in Show” prompted in me the greatest introspection. Unscenic? (2015) posed the question of pride in our home, and captures the movement of the eye as it crosses a familiar but perhaps not faultless landscape, creating snap shots with the fugitive media of watercolor and gouache. Untitled (Salt 0806) (2015) fascinated as the perfect rendering of details of the mind as it distills and crystallizes into actionable thought. Unsee (2015) rather than bringing into focus the movement of the mind hides it beneath layers of wax and collage, leaving the viewer to search and grapple for clarity.
As the juror who had the privilege to select the works for the Intr(Au)spective exhibition, I thank the Pittsburgh Society of Artists for this honor and congratulate the guild on reaching this special milestone and a future that shines brightly towards its next 50 years.”
Associate Curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York