TRAF jurors did a nice job choosing work for the return of the JVAE, a festival hallmark that went missing last year.
The jurors are Jason Busch, from the Carnegie Museum of Art; Kate Lydon, from the Society for Contemporary Craft; and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust curator Murray Horne, best known for his work at Wood Street Galleries.
And thanks to exhibit design by local art mavens moxie DaDA, the 85 works by 60 regional artists working in all media really fill up the expansive, half-raw fourth floor of 805 Liberty Ave.
One of the first pieces to catch my eye was "The Revealing Science of God," Thomas Bigatel's crazily sensual abstract oil-on-cavis diptych in midnight blue and luminous green. And it's hard to miss Zachary Brown's oil, copper and mixed-media works done in the style of traditional Orthodox icons (Sebastian and Casilda).
A full wall, meanwhile, is dedicated to Dennis Childers' "Window." The exhibit's Best of Show award recipient is an array of digital photos and video documenting several months in the life of the pair of windows across the alley from Childers' Downtown office. The implicit commitment required, as well as the graininess of the imagery, might have imparted a voyeuristic feel. But as one window's outdoor sill-top shrine of tchotchkes first slowly accumulates, and then more quickly vanishes, the effect is mostly poignant.
Elsewhere, Seth Clark continues to impress with another of his charcoal, ink, acrylic, pastel, graphite and found paper works depicting a literally collapsing building. Toby Fraley's "Robot #50" braces its Thermos legs and with its licence-plate hands smashes its little guitar while its vacuum-tube head blinks. Karen Ferrick's painted triptych "Conneaut Marsh" beautifully catches the light on a landscape, and Chris McGinnis's "Showroom" does something similar, to a much different effect, for an unused industrial space.
Other good stuff: Marla Roddy's "ReWrapped," a sculptural assemblage depicting an overswaddled infant, is unnervingly amusing; Timothy Burak's large color photo "Filing Cabinets" persuades water-damaged office furniture to evoke bureaucratic (and perhaps civilizational) entropy; and Christopher Galivas' "Art Importance (First Art)" is mixed media on wood that employs cartoony imagery (totem pole, playing card, skull, robot) to suggest not graffiti but a sort of post-modern cave painting.
The TRAF Juried Visual Art Exhibition is housed at the Trust Arts Education Center. The space is open for viewing 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. daily Monday through Saturday, and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.