Poullet and Garrison Explore Lost Landscapes In Art and Photos at ModernFormations in October


Artist Paulette Poullet and photographer Kurt Garrison will explore some of the mysteries of Pittsburgh and beyond in a shared exhibit October 4-26 at ModernFormations Gallery in Garfield.

In her portion of the exhibit, Poullet, an Ignatz-nominated cartoonist and Garfield resident, will showcase paintings that highlight the theme “Our Disappearing City.”

“It’s a tribute to the things that attracted me to Pittsburgh that are vanishing every day,” says Poullet, who came to Pittsburgh from Puerto Rico in the 1990s and has made the city her home ever since.

Poullet’s work, featured regularly in The New Yinzer magazine, where she is head graphic designer and illustrator, has long been celebrated among Pittsburgh’s comics community. With a sharp eye for characters ranging from people on the bus to her own varied personas as a woman, artist, slightly neurotic cat owner, worker and more, Poullet joins Ed Piskor and Rob Rogers at the forefront of Pittsburgh’s comics scene.

For the ModernFormations show, Poullet’s subjects include a portrait of Pittsburgh’s Sombrero Man, a performer who was once a regular on the city’s streets and who’s now disappeared, Poullet doesn’t know where.

“I want people to remember him, how he used to beg for change wearing a sombrero and shaking maracas,” she says. “I want the viewer to remember things I remember, buildings that have been lost and torn down, things that have disappeared in the past five years or even more recently.”

The temporal nature of cities, of shifting landscapes, is something Poullet hopes visitors to the exhibit will feel as they walk through ModernFormations in October, too.

“There will be pieces of buildings that have been demolished, a house number cornerstone from a house that’s been torn down,” she says. “The images will be laid out geographically, so walking through the exhibit will be akin to walking through the city.”

In keeping with the city-within-a-city theme, Garrison’s portion of the exhibit is titled “Things Are Looking Up.”

Defying the advice that visitors to cities shouldn’t look up because they’ll look like tourists, Garrison, a writer/musician/photographer originally from Harrisburg, Pa., wants people to see what they’ve been missing.

The photos he’ll have on exhibit come from his travels both near and far and include an eclectic assortment of subjects such as London living, the Reykjavík skyline, Dublin waterways, Welsh castles-turned-bomb shelters, the redefining of art installations and ceilings in Parisian art galleries, as well as a few choice shots of the Civic Arena to keep the locals happy.

Garrison, whose work has appeared in Pittsburgh Magazine, Pittsburgh City Paper, Card Player Magazine and elsewhere, says his guiding principle as an artist for the ModernFormations exhibit can be summarized in a quote he found recently:  “A photographer must either assemble things in such a way that a picture of them is art or, more often wait and recognize the art that is around us everywhere.”  The quote is attributed to a Daniel S., from somewhere in the internet, another mystery Garrison hopes to one day uncover.

When he’s not taking photos or writing, Garrison plays in two Pittsburgh bands – Moldies And Monsters and The Plat Maps. He lives in Troy Hill with his booze and his records.

Opening night for the Poullet/Garrison exhibit will be Friday, Oct. 4 from 7-10 p.m. at ModernFormations, 4919 Penn Avenue. Admission to the exhibit is free and open to the public. The exhibit runs through October during gallery hours – 7-9 p.m. Thursdays, 1-4 p.m. on Saturdays, and by appointment.

The exhibit’s closing ceremony will be on Saturday, October 26.

For more information about the exhibit, call ModernFormations at 412-362-0274.

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