By Amanda Lehnerd
Local artists David Pokrivňák and Heather Anderson are collaborating for the first time in an art exhibit named “You Make Me” that opens at the M Gallery April 1.
The exhibit will showcase Pokrivňák’s un-augmented observational photography and Anderson’s ritualistic abstract paintings. Both artists found themselves drawn to the same aesthetic qualities and approaches to creative work, which inspired the collaboration.
The name “You Make Me” originated from the idea of wanting to loosely unite both artists’ works without forcing a conclusion on the audience.
“‘You Make Me’ stems from a continual exploration of identity,” Anderson said. “It is about the people, places and experiences that have defined and continue to shape our individuality. It is both intimate and private, yet collective and shared.”
“You Make Me” was a creative process over several years between Pokrivňák and Anderson. Both artists being drawn to the same aesthetic made the work process easier.
According to Anderson, David is an extremely gifted and sensitive individual, with an intuitive sense of design. Working with him was a very natural process.
The creation of the artwork for the exhibit started last September. Anderson used many different approaches and mediums to create the artwork. Each piece can take anywhere from five to 15 hours to make.
“David and I had approximately 25 days to put everything together from our initial discussion and agreement, to the actual installation date,” Anderson said. “It’s been a very emotional and very busy month.”
The theme of the event “You Make Me” has an underlying message for the audience. Anderson was inspired by the concept of ritual along with how it relates to her private identity and her public identity.
“Rituals are metaphorical bridges in the way that they connect us to other humans both past and present. Ritual easily lends itself to repetition, and I began to view it as an integral part of a whole method to painting,” Anderson said. “I used a highly repetitive process to create abstracted works, which reference persistent memory and human connection through a formulaic manner of applying and building layers of paint on surface.”
Along with Pokrivňák and Anderson’s art, the event will showcase a quartet by Newyopercussion performing special improvised compositions inspired by the exhibition.
Johanna George, events manager and M Gallery director, is very excited to host the opening of the event “You Make Me.”
“It is my honor to select work for the public to discover and experience,” George said. “When David and I began discussing his artwork and his strong connection to Youngstown, it made sense to share his poetic experiences with our community.”
According to George, Pokrivňák was inspired by Anderson’s ritualistic paintings and introduced the idea to display their work in one collaborative exhibit. The two bodies of work contrast materials and style yet connect together through similar artistic motives.
The exhibit is free to the public, and attendees can enjoy selections from Inspired Catering by Kravitz. There will also be hand-numbered and signed artist books available only at the opening of the event.
The event is part of the Youngstown Art Hop. The Art Hop is a collaboration between the M and SOAP galleries with their own respective art opening on April 1.
The M Gallery is located on the ground floor of Erie Terminal Place located at 112 W Commerce St. in Downtown Youngstown.