What to do tonight: Food and art complement each other at the Christine Frechard Gallery
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Artist Charles Patterson's goal is to help you explore the creativity within you.
L'aura Campisi provides the side dish of creative food.
They will be bringing their talents together tonight at the Christine Frechard Gallery in Squirrel Hill.
"We have a new opening every five weeks," said gallery assistant Marinda Stretavsky. "We bring in artists from all over. This summer we had the works of an Italian artist, Valerio D'Ospina. We feature an eclectic array of artwork, paintings, papier-mache, collages, photographs. We recently had a sculptural show."
Tonight's reception marks the debut of Freeing the Goddess, an exhibition of works by Mr. Patterson, 57, of Edgewood.
Most of the time, Mr. Patterson makes his living in the "neighborhood reclamation business" in and around Wilkinsburg. But he expresses his creative side even further as an artist.
"This is a different adventure," said Mr. Patterson, who earned a degree in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh. "I combine painting with live wild flowers I find in Frick Park and areas like that. Then I take photographs of the paintings in conjunction with the flowers. And I present that with the poetry that I write."
He has been mixing positive messages and images for about 15 years.
"It's my take on finding the creative influence that is in all of us," he said. "There is a creative goddess energy in everyone. Some of us aren't aware of it."
Though he hasn't sold his work, he has gotten a lot of positive feedback.
"I've done some tests," he said. "I took it to some first-grade classrooms and had kids look at it, and they found it very wonderful. And I've taken some to doctor's offices and had it placed in work areas, and people have been inspired. It helps to move people beyond where they think they are."
You're probably wondering about the food. Where does the food come in?
Well, as part of the opening reception, Mr. Patterson has teamed with Ms. Campisi, "an artistic caterer" who will be presenting foods inspired by and complementing his work.
"We're looking at this as a complete experience, making it more of a whole event," said Ms. Campisi, who met Mr. Patterson in a yoga class she teaches.
A few years ago, Ms. Campisi, 39, started her own creative food service in Santa Fe, N.M. She recently moved back to Pittsburgh, opening L's Cakes and Catering in the Mexican War Streets on the North Side.
It was Mr. Patterson's idea to join forces tonight.
"He showed me the artwork, he showed me the poetry, and I'm building on his themes," Ms. Campisi said. "It really is an inspiration from knowing the artist. Looking at the work and going from there. For an example, he has one with an image of a rose. The first thing that came to me was something pomegranate."
A rose by any other name would be a pomegranate, wouldn't it?
"A lot of it is color," she said. "I work with foods that are fresh and in season. Right now, it's cranberries, cherries and things like that. I just wrap my senses around what the artist is trying to convey. And I try to balance that with food. And, you know what, it's fun.
"What I do in the kitchen is also an expression, just as what an artist is doing in front of a canvas or with clay. It's trying to match a feeling. It's a sensory perception that I'm trying to capture based on his work."
All in good taste.
The Freeing the Goddess Reception is from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Christine Frechard Gallery, 5871 Forbes Ave. It is free and open to the public. The exhibition also can be seen Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
First Published November 29, 2012 3:23 pm