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Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen.
Downtown Reflections. Photograph by Brian Cohen. | Show Photo

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Hot Pick: Artist of the Year/Emerging Artist at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts

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Meet two of Pittsburgh's most promising artists and experience their work, when Pittsburgh Center for the Arts showcases 2012 Artist of the Year, Charlee Brodsky, and 2012 Emerging Artist of the Year, Vanessa German, from August 10th through October 28th.

Charlee Brodsky, a photographer, explores social issues through her work and often partners with writers to “explore the human condition,” as she explains in a preview video.

Vanessa German, a sculptor, poet, actress, and designer, produces enactments that combine her affection for language and sound into a multimedia performance that highlights the sculptures in her installations. (She is also more recently known as the creator of an innovative Homewood-based community art project called Love Front Porch.)

Honoring Pittsburgh's finest

With 30 plus years of residency experience in Pittsburgh, Brodsky marries her passion for photography with written words into compilations of books. “I think the combination of words and these images can tell a story that the imagery alone could not get at,” she says in her video on the website.

While she is known for presenting the human condition through her portraiture work, the new PCA exhibition is a departure for her since, in an unusual twist, she is showcasing her dog. "This represents a new body of work for Charlee in these images and these books," says Laura Domencic, director at PCA, noting the "cute little dog in unusual landscapes."

Homewood resident Vanessa German, a "self-taught artist," strives to link her passion for linguistics, which she describes as “spoken word opera,” with concrete sculptures. She integrates elements of African storytelling, with music, movement, performance poetry, hip-hop, and comedy to make for a unique, introspective view of the world, as she perceives it.

“Her work is about the experience of being African American and having an enormous amount of history, as well as lots of images she has used from different cultures," says Domencic. She is able to use some of those images that might be more condescending, or have a negative connotation in a way that creates a sense of power, she notes.

“This gives each of the artists a great opportunity to have a pretty expansive exhibition and to try something they haven’t done before,” says Domencic. “It really gives them a full range of what they would like to do." They work with them from the time of selection to exhibition to help them with their shows "and to present generally a whole new body of work," Domencic adds.

German's work will occupy the first floor of the PCA, showcasing her elaborate sculptures and multimedia production, and solidifying her as one of Pittsburgh’s most promising up-and-coming artists. See her video here.

Brodsky's work will be presented in three of the large gallery spaces on the venue's second floor. Her handmade books will be available for people to flip through and the walls will be covered almost entirely with prints of pages, celebrating her as the PCA's 2012 Artist of the Year.

In addition, Adam Welch, curator at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, has selected three artists: Lewis Colburn, Jennifer Williams and Bohyun Yoon, from the Center for Emerging Visual Artists in Philadelphia to also have exhibitions on display. The three artists have completed a fellowship program providing professional development for artists, and are part of an
exhibition exchange created in 2006.

Don't miss the opportunity to experience the works and meet the artists at an opening reception at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, taking place on August 10th, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The opening will feature a special ceremony for the artists and a short performance by German. On September 13th at 6 p.m., German will present an artist talk and a performance in the PCA's galleries. Brodsky will host an artist talk and lead an exhibition tour on October 4th at 6 p.m.

Read all the Pop Filter picks.

Photographs by Richard Kelly.
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