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By Mary Thomas

Artworks debuts with auspicious show
Art Reviews

     Bloomfield Artworks, a new gallery, has opened with a group show of 10 Pittsburgh artists that sets a tone of professionalism and variety. Owner John Mowder, a Friendship resident, is a painter and sculptor who's been a member of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh for 25 years.

     In Michael Tsouris' two imaginative mixed-media paintings imagery tilts, appears and recedes within areas of soft color and vivid, wide brush strokes. One is an architectural mélange that associates homes, a classical structure and a steel mill.

     In a large, emotional oil by Maria-Cristina Borrero, a native of Colombia now living in Pittsburgh, a young woman's lovely face is transformed by a run of blood at the corner of her full red lips into a metaphor for disillusionment and suffering.

     Mowder's two 48-72-inch works are very different studies in color and form. The abstract "Brick Blanket" is a sensitive layering of paint and material. The engaging "Back Door Family" draws on years of summer employment as one of a half-dozen circus "show painters" in the country.

     Five "kinkers," performers warming up or unkinking their bodies pre-show, look on from behind the scenes as an acrobat dances an aerial ballet in the ring. Mowder disrobes his subjects and alters color and stance to capture the showmanship and risqué gaudiness associated with the circus, while emphasizing their connectedness and relaxed confidence.

     Other artists showing are Norman Brown, Robert Brust, Tish Corbett, Phil De Lucia, John Sokol, Linda Wallen and Anne Wolf.

     Mowder hopes to create a space where he can promote serious Pittsburgh artists and also educate members of the community about art. A resource center will hold biographical information, statements and smaller works by a number of artists.

     Open noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, through Nov. 29; 4523 Liberty Ave.