Tar Baby Jane and Doo-Wop

Vanessa German, Crisco for Cakes Frying Pastry, mixed media, 2010 (above image)



Tar Baby Jane and Doo-Wop:
Everything Useful for Your Modern Household
Installation and performance by Vanessa German

709 Penn Gallery
July 9 - August 30, 2010

Opening reception: Friday, July 9, 2010 (6:00-8:00 p.m.)

In Tar Baby Jane and Doo-Wop: Everything Useful for Your Modern Household, Vanessa German creates a historical fantasy, an imagined storefront of art objects that seem to have existed long ago. While the sculptures are “useful” with an implied function for the home, each has a spirit beyond its purpose.

The installation provokes thoughts about our interaction with the material world, what we use and how we use it, and the history within objects that have performed tasks through their use over time, as experience.

Describing the inspiration behind Tar Baby Jane and Doo-Wop, Vanessa German said:
“I am very interested in old things, specifically old domestic objects – the items my grandmothers and their mothers would have used to make a life and a world for the people around them, from tools to utensils, to the advertising ware of these things. I am imagining that there are stories in these items, that these stories remain present, in the skin of the objects. I think, Who used this item and why? What were they thinking and feeling while using it?

What stories are in the object? What history is in the object? Does the object do the obvious-stated thing in the clear and obvious way? Or, does it also work in a spiritual way? I imagine that these objects are the power objects of my life and imagination – that they are imbued with levels of purpose and intention – doing the stated useful thing and infinitely more.”

Vanessa German is a nationally recognized Pittsburgh-based multi-disciplinary artist, well known as a sculptor, photographer, performance artist and poet. Tar Baby Jane and Doo-Wop: Everything Useful for Your Modern Household, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Dept. of Education and Community Engagement, opens on Friday.