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Shared connections and shared concerns: Verostko Center Launches “Shared Concerns” Exhibit

By Lauren Campbell, Staff Writer

Originally Published February 20, 2024

New year, new exhibition! The Verostko Center of the Arts at Saint Vincent College (SVC) has officially released its latest exhibition, Shared Concerns. The production features pieces of twelve artists from the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh (AAP), paired with selections from the Saint Vincent Art & Heritage Collections.

The title wall for Shared Concerns in the Verostko Center of Art. (SOURCE: CAMPBELL)

The Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, which has over 600 members, is an arts organization that showcases artists from residents of Pittsburgh through programs in the community and contemporary exhibitions at SVC. Featured artists and members of AAP include Sandra Bacchi, Tony Cavalline, Eunsu Kang, Clayton Merrell, Mary Kay Neff, S.C., Adalberto Ortiz, Marian Phillips, Patrick Schmidt, Nicole Renee Ryan, Evan Rumble, Silvija Singh, and Sarah Tancred.

Helen Gerardia’s piece Country Church from 1956 (left), paired with Adalberto Ortiz’s Celestial from 2017 (right). (SOURCE: CAMPBELL)

The exhibition aims to show how artists have communicated to their viewers what is under threat and overlooked in our world, both yesterday and today. The pieces on display vary in art mediums, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs, all paired with a piece from SVC’s collection that matches visually or in meaning. The official description reads, “Regardless of style or training, artists are compelled to make work that records the world, others to escape from it, and still others to identify alternative futures. Taken collectively, these pieces animate tradition, push the boundaries of abstraction, foreground the experiences of women and girls, and stress the mounting ecological crisis.”

"I'm interested in the ways artists adapt tradition as a means to navigate the present moment," said Andrew Julo, director and curator of the Verostko Center. “While the artists featured in this exhibition live under very different circumstances, employ different methods of making, and entertain a range of concepts in their work, they're building upon the creative efforts of those that preceded them. Shared Concerns is an opportunity for members of the Saint Vincent community to draw their own connections between objects from the past and those created by contemporary artists."

A collection of photos from Sandra Bacchi’s Watermelons Are Not Strawberries, 2022. (SOURCE: CAMPBELL)

Julo had high praise for the artists on display, who had met with him over Zoom last fall to discuss ideas for the exhibition. Julo also emphasized the importance of art evolution and invited viewers to see modern and contemporary art works through the pieces before them.

“It’s no surprise that contemporary art can sometimes be confounding to viewers. My hope is that by placing a recently completed work by a regional artist next to a different artwork from 50 years ago or even 500 years ago, viewers see art-making as part of a long continuum. What motivated someone to make something 50 or even 500 years ago is often not entirely different impulse for artists today,” Julo said. “Part of our mission at the Verostko Center is to invite folks to consider the motivations and concerns of artists. Shared Concerns is a way of having a conversation between creatives across time and geographic distances.”

Shared Concerns is on view from Jan. 25 to April 5.

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