For the entirety of 2015, every baby born at the Pittsburgh Midwife Center, St. Clair Hospital and UPMC Mercy will begin life as an art collector. Each month in 2015 is assigned to a local artist who will create an image that will only be given to babies born in that month. To view the artists' websites, please click on their name.
January: Aaron Blum
Aaron Blum is a proud eighth-generation Scots-Irish Appalachian from the mountains of West Virginia who has lived in Pittsburgh since 2010. He has always been aware of the views that others hold of his home, and his artwork is a product of his exploration of what it means to be Appalachian. After graduating with degrees in photography from West Virginia University and Syracuse University, Aaron immediately began receiving recognition for his work including the Juror’s Choice Award at Center: Santa Fe, two Critical Mass 200 selections, and an Emerging Artist Honorable Mention from the Magenta Foundation. His work has been presented in Fraction Magazine, CNN Photoblog, and Flakphoto and is in the permanent collection at both the Haggerty Museum of Art and the Houston Museum of Fine Art.
February: Maria Mangano
Maria Mangano is an artist whose work focuses on the intersection of nature, museums, and science to address issues of wildness, conservation, memory, and humanness. A native of Syracuse, NY, Mangano moved to Pittsburgh, PA to attend Carnegie Mellon University, where she earned her BFA in Printmaking/Drawing/Painting. She has exhibited in Pittsburgh and regionally at the Chautauqua Institute in Western New York and at Arts Monongahela and West Liberty University in West Virginia. In 2014 her work was included in Errol Fuller’s book The Passenger Pigeon, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the death of the last Passenger Pigeon, Martha. In addition to working at the Mattress Factory, a museum of contemporary art, Mangano maintains a studio in Pittsburgh’s South Side Slopes neighborhood.
March: Stephanie Armbruster
Stephanie Armbruster documents pivotal moments of transition through the abstraction of symbols and layered references to time and place. Stephanie was born in Cleveland, OH in 1983. She moved to Pittsburgh in 2001 to attend Carnegie Mellon University, where she received a BFA in 2006. Stephanie is a 2011 Flight School for Artists Fellow.
Her work has been presented in solo exhibitions at 709 Penn Gallery and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and in group exhibitions at James Gallery, the Los Angeles Printmaking Society, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Mattress Factory Museum of Art, and others.
April: Becky Slemmons
Becky Slemmons works in the disciplines of drawing, painting, video, photography, performance,fibers, glass and sound. She obtained her BFA in drawing and painting from the University of Michigan and her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Mt. Royal School of Art. Becky was awarded a Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Collaborative Fellowship Residency and also a Heinz endowment to serve as an artist resident at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has completed two artist residencies in Germany and one in Estonia. She has exhibited her work in Berlin, Germany; Seoul, Korea; Portland, OR; Baltimore, MD; Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA. Becky has spoken about her own work in conjunction with an exhibition of Jeffrey Vallance's work at the Andy Warhol Museum.
Becky has moved nine times in her life, which is also her favorite number. She currently lives and works in Pittsburgh with her husband and her dog. In her work, she searches for truths that are common throughout multiple cultures.
May: Kara Skylling
Kara Skylling is an artist currently living and working in Pittsburgh, PA. She received her BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Influenced by the human interaction with variations of place, movement, and time; her work explores pattern and process found in urban landscapes and architecture through the creation of deconstructed compositions and images using line, form, and color with a focus on process, repetition and materiality.
She has exhibited throughout the region and in 2013 she received the Leon A. Arkus award for her work at Carnegie Museum of Art. This past year she was featured as an artist for Alloy Pittsburgh at Carrie Furnaces as well as in the 2014 Pittsburgh Biennial.
June: Terry Boyd
Through performance, abstraction and minimalist fiber art, Terry Boyd explores and interrogates systems of visual language. His staged performances of bow and arrow literally breakthrough and breakdown tradition. The violence of the arrow and the purity of the white linen creates an elegant tension between the feminine and masculine and life and death. With drawings, sewn linen and machinelike abstractions, Boyd strives to create pieces that continue to reveal our fascination with the void.
His current body of work explores the language of abstraction and the difficulties, also failures, in translating ideas from man to machine. The delicate hand-drawn line works are digitized and run through a custom image compression program, pixilating the image beyond recognition. The image is then sent through an embroidery formatting software that attempts to translate the simple 2D digital file into a complex, thread-based object. The results are beautiful, impromptu abstractions that are systematically made by a logic-based machine. Boyd is trying to teach his sewing machine to think and react like an abstract expressionist painter.
July: Leo Hsu
Leo Hsu has been engaged with photography since he took a basic photography class at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts when he was fourteen. Leo is interested in the ways that photography extends our engagement with what we find significant and meaningful, and in the ways that photography is used as both expression and communication. Leo is an instructor in the photography program at Carnegie Mellon University, and a regular contributor to the online magazine Fraction. He has collaborated with the Silver Eye Center for Photography to produce several exhibitions including HomeFrontLine: Reflections on 10 Years of War Since 9/11, No Job No Home No Peace No Rest: An Installation by Will Steacy, and A World Imagined featuring Sara Macel and Kelli Connell. Leo holds a PhD in Anthropology from New York University.
August: Matthew Conboy
Matthew Conboy is an artist and photographer working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning a BS in architecture from the Catholic University of America, he studied photography at Virginia Commonwealth University where he received his MFA. He recently finished his PhD at Ohio University where he wrote his dissertation on W. Eugene Smith's Pittsburgh Project. Matthew teaches photography at Robert Morris University and lives in the Mexican War Street neighborhood on the North Side of Pittsburgh.
Matthew's print for August comes from his West South West project where he photographed the centers of population that are plotted at the conclusion of every US Census. These are the locations where a map of the Untied States would be balanced if every person weighed the same. These centers have moved from the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1790 to central Missouri in 2010.
Matthew’s current work documents Skatopia, a surreal 88-acre skate park located in rural southeast Ohio. Skatopia functions as a pilgrimage site for skaters from around the world, a refuge for young people looking for direction in their lives, and an anarchist commune. Through his photographs, Conboy wished to turn his camera away from the skaters, and instead search for the narrative threads that link the unique individuals portrayed in his images to each other and to the physical and cultural landscapes of southeast Ohio.
September: John Altdorfer
John Altdorfer likes to think of himself as a cat with nine careers lives and hopes you like his photos because this is at least his ninth career. To his surprise, John's photos have turned up in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal photo of the day blog, USA Today, Pittsburgh Magazine and other national and local publications. At this point in his life's journey, John realizes that the light at the end of the tunnel is much too bright and approaching too quickly. But he hopes that his photo for this project will make the amazing trip ahead more enjoyable for all the new arrivals.
John invites you to check out more of his work at www.jaltdorferphotography.com. But make sure the kids aren't around. Some of the photos are more suitable for grownup eyes.
October: Ivette Spradlin
Ivette Spradlin is a Cuban-American photographer, video artist, and educator. She received her BFA in Photography from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia and her MFA in Photography from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She focuses on photographing people and their surroundings concentrating on the emotional aspects of transition, adaptation, and balance in one's life. She is a Flight School Fellow, Artist Opportunity Grant awardee, and an Art on the Walls artist through the Pittsburgh Arts Council. She has been published in Next Level Magazine, screened her films nationally, including at the Carnegie Museum of Art and Transmodern Film Festival in Baltimore. Most recently, her Oval Portrait photographs were part of a Magenta Foundation pop-up, public art project in downtown Pittsburgh and she was part of the 2014 Pittsburgh Biennial. As part of a portrait swap project curated by Stuart Pilkington, Spradlin's portrait of Aaron Blum and Blum's portrait of her was featured on the BBC.
November: Christine Holtz
Christine Holtz is a Pittsburgh based artist, photographer and educator. She earned her BFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA in imaging arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Her photography has been exhibited and collected nationally. Select exhibitions include George Eastman House (Rochester, NY), Gallery Katz (Boston, MA), Boston Center for the Arts (Boston, MA), Gallery 1101, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (Carbondale, IL) and SRO Gallery, Texas Tech University, (Lubbock, TX).
Christine serves on the Board of Directors for Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and is co-curator of the Sewickley Arts Initiative.
December: Ryan Lammie
Ryan Lammie is a Pittsburgh native that has recently moved back to Pittsburgh from Brooklyn, NY, where he studied painting at Pratt Institute. During his time at Pratt, Ryan coordinated the largest student-run exhibitiion in Pratt History and attended the Yale Norfolk Residency Program. The last three years he has been in Pittsburgh, working on two series titled "Origins" and "Gravity". He will be starting on a third series not yet titled which will focus on site-specific installation and photography.