Edited by Caitlin Cesa + Rachel Jones
One of an artist’s greatest attributes is the ability to create beauty even from seemingly unattractive situations. These three artists do just that, turning weathered materials and ordinary situations into extraordinary pieces.
Born and raised in Clairton, Damion Dreher is a Brooklyn-based painter whose newest work draws upon the underlying beauty of urban decay. Inspired by weathered signs stuck on abandoned buildings, defaced advertisements layered on subway platforms, and graffiti in dive bar bathrooms, he builds his work through various media to create layered narratives through fragmented visual clues. The layers, although torn and sometimes almost unintelligible, help to convey a message of resilience, defiance, and even hope. Dreher will be participating in an upcoming residency at Bunker Projects starting in March that will be followed by a solo exhibition. damionismyname.com.
Born in Hazelwood, Robert Wright (1943-2006) was a prolific and self-taught artist whose paintings, drawings, and multi-media works converged the natural world, spiritual scenes, and everyday city life in compelling, bold compositions that reveal a new dimension on each viewing. Often working in series, creating dozens of variations on a subject, Wright took inspiration from his perspective of Pittsburgh’s hillsides, regional flora and fauna, local and international news, and his exposure to religious imagery. In Wright’s color-driven worlds, flickering birds, levitating cars, beaming angels, and contorted expressions result in a stirring journey. An exhibition dedicated exclusively to his work will open at Jesse Best Gallery in Homestead with a reception on February 10 from 5-7 p.m. Organized by collector Patrick McArdle and independent curator Brittany Reilly, the show will celebrate the life and creative spirit of Wright through a selection of over 100 works on paper, paintings, and found objects, which the artist often used as his canvas. Guests will include the artist’s sister, and proceeds will support mental health awareness. Jesse Best Gallery, 216 E. 7th Ave., Homestead.
Kyle Ethan Fischer’s artwork encompasses dynamic, process-based paintings, sculptures, performances, and installations. With both European Catholic and Kespukwitk of First Nation backgrounds, his spiritual and cultural life is a central theme to his art. For the past 10 years, Fischer has been a member of the Studio Mechanics Union, working as a scenic painter and sculptor on critically acclaimed films such as the adaptation of August Wilson’s “Fences.” Most recently, he worked as the lead sculptor on the upcoming Richard Linklater film, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” starring Cate Blanchett. kylefischerart.com.