Art notes: Unusual approach sews up fellowship for photographer

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One of the programs that put Silver Eye Center for Photography on the map is a fellowship competition initiated in 2000. The 13th iteration illustrates that its popularity and standards remain, offering an important opportunity to emerging and mid-career photographers and giving the general public a look at the contemporary face of the medium.

The Fellowship 13 International Photography Competition comprises two awards. The International Fellowship Award winner is Diane Meyer of Santa Monica, Calif. Ross Mantle of Pittsburgh and Brooklyn received the Keystone Award, created in 2010 to recognize a Pennsylvania artist.

The juror was Sam Barzilay, creative director, United Photo Industries, Brooklyn, N.Y. In his juror's statement he said he chose the two because "they presented something different, something I had not seen before." Too often, he said, photographers visit the same stories using the same visual voice. "So it's refreshing -- exhilarating even -- to see work that stands out ... catching us by surprise."

The winners were selected from 148 submissions from 33 states and Austria, China, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and Mexico. Awardees are both selected from the same pool and it is possible for Pennsylvania-based artists to win both awards in a given year.

Ms. Meyer, who received $3,000, was born in 1976. She earned a bachelor's degree of fine arts in photography at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, and a master's in visual arts from the University of California, San Diego. She resides in Santa Monica and is associate professor of photography at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.

Exhibited photographs are from her series "Time Spent That Might Otherwise Be Forgotten," comprising subject matter that ranges from family pictures to images of places she's visited in her travels. Ms. Meyer embellishes each with cross-stitch embroidery.

"She's combining a physical piece of something and the digital world," said Silver Eye membership and marketing assistant Juliana Zipay. "The cross-stitching is done in sort of a pixilated fashion."

The artist is inspired by memory and nostalgia. "Memories deteriorate over time," Ms. Zipay said. "She puts them in a time frame, making them last longer. She makes her own narrative."

While the images may be viewed reproduced in print or on the Web, Ms. Zipay said they must be seen in person to be experienced. "The texture in the photograph is very impressive."

Her "hand-sewn interventions," writes Mr. Barzilay, "force the viewer to consider the images as objects in themselves rather than unalterable representations of memories, places or moments in time."

Mr. Mantle, a Bethel Park native born in 1985, received $1,000. A graduate of Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, he holds a bachelor's degree in visual communication and works in both the fine and commercial art worlds. His series "California, Pennsylvania" mingles photographs taken in California, Pa., and in the state of California, inspired by road trip stories and by his discovery that the Mon Valley town was founded during the time of the Gold Rush by a group of fortune seekers who stopped short of their West Coast goal.

He doesn't identify specific places, leaving viewers to interpret as they wish, said Ms. Zipay. The banal scenes could be anywhere since Mr. Mantle focuses on less economically developed areas in both locales, creating, as Mr. Barzilay observes, "... narratives that navigate spaces of restlessness, desire and disenchantment with ultimately unresolved expectations."

Eight juror's commendations were also awarded: Sue Abramson, Pittsburgh; Noah Addis, Philadelphia; Jana Cruder, Los Angeles; Sarah Cusimano Miles, Gadsden, Ala.; Mark Dorf, Brooklyn; Matt Eich, Norfolk, Va.; Andrew Frost, Syracuse, N.Y.; and Vesna Pavlovic, Nashville, Tenn.

These competitions are among the programming that keeps Silver Eye relevant on the national photography scene and regionally. Other events of interest in the near future include a photographic safari and a salon. The Photo Safari, which will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday and focus on the architecture of Downtown Pittsburgh, will be led by Bucknell University (Lewisburg., Pa.) professor Rachel Bee Porter ($80, members $70).

The first Samoar: A Monthly Salon for Photographers was held last month and was so successful that they are planned for the third Tuesday of every month. The next will be held March 19 ($6, free to members; refreshments are served). Silver Eye executive director Ellen Fleurov will give tips on how to prepare for a good and positive portfolio review. Registration is required for each.

The exhibition continues through March 16 at 1015 E. Carson St., South Side. Admission is free. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Information: 412-431-1810 or

PSA screening

Pittsburgh Society of Artists will hold a new member screening March 17 at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 6300 Fifth Ave., Shadyside. Work drop-off is between 12:30 and 1 p.m. and pickup is from 3 to 4 p.m. The group, chartered in 1967, has more than 300 members who live within a 150-mile radius of Pittsburgh. For information and registration:

Buddhism at SAMA

A March 8 workshop on Buddhism at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Altoona, will be led by Michael Allison, former SAMA curator and a Buddhist with more than 20 years of practice. It's offered in conjunction with the exhibition "Tibetan Treasures: The Rezk Collection of Tibetan and Nepalese Art." Mr. Allision will give an overview of the religion and discuss meditation practices before closing the morning session with a meditation period. The day will include hands-on projects and an exhibition tour. The workshop offers teacher credits and is open to the public. The cost is $35 and reservations are requested by March 6.

The exhibition comprises approximately 70 objects of Tibetan and Nepalese art spanning the 12th to the 20th centuries and including thangkas (scroll paintings), block prints, sculpture and ceremonial and ritual pieces.

A Tibetan film festival will be held March 5-7 with a separate film screened each day at 1 p.m. Films scheduled are "Kundun," about the exiled Dalai Lama, directed by Martin Scorsese with a Philip Glass musical score; "Vajra Sky Over Tibet," a documentary about Tibetan Buddhism with temple, monastery and festival footage; and "Why Has Boddhi-Dharma Left for the East?," a Zen master leading his disciples to enlightenment before he dies. Admission is $5 per day and refreshments will be served; reservations are suggested.

The exhibition continues through May 11 at the Brett Building, 1210 Eleventh Ave., Altoona. Admission is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. Information: 814-472-3920 or


Post-Gazette art critic Mary Thomas: or 412-263-1925.


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