Three Women Bring An Experimental Art Space to Pittsburgh

Bunker Projects is reinvigorating Pittsburgh's art scene.

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15 April 2016, 7:13pm

 Anna Brewer, Dinner Guest / All images courtesy of Bunker Projects.

In 2012, three women artists, Abagail Beddall, Cecilia Ebitz, and Jessica Rommelt, who met in Pennsylvania State University’s sculpture program, moved to Pittsburgh and opened Bunker Projects, an experimental art space. Bunker Projects has become a gathering place for emerging artists, through creative programming, a residency program, and exhibition space. The spaces engages the local community and artists overlooked by the city’s museum system and tends to attract artists from around the country to contribute to the burgeoning Pittsburgh art scene.

“After three years, 22 residents and 35 exhibitions, our mission as a non-profit artist residency and experimental gallery is to serve as a platform for emerging artists to develop their practice,” explains Bunker Projects director Jessica Rommelt. “By providing an immersive live-work space alongside intimate cultural programming, we foster a spirit of innovative support.” Rommelt adds, “As an artist myself, I was also really interested in exhibition making and the energy created when the art opens up to the outside community. There was a huge importance to feeding the artistic practice and dialogue in the studio environment and connecting that with the people who experience the finished work.”

Devon Shimoyama, Shadow

Currently on display in the exhibition space is Crystal Vision, a group show featuring 16 artists who have mostly held a four month long residency. The show presents a selection of uncensored and avant-garde works that span painting, collage, sculpture, photography, and mixed media art. The exhibition features meditations on abstraction and the figurative such as Shikeith’s Untitled (Figure Study), Di-Ay Battad’s Estranged Landscape: Lake Pod, Devan Shimoyama’s Shadow, Lisa Marie Jakab’s Pigeonhole Perforated, and Seth LeDonne’s Your Cot Dream.

The works presented in Crystal Vision are all for sell on Bunker Project’s web gallery platform. “As an experimental space that works with a lot of multi-media artists working outside the focus of commercial art objects, the web gallery store is a new frontier for us aimed at generating income for the artists and the organization,” explains Rommelt. She sees the digital platform, where collectors and artists can engage each other directly, as an essential way to build a collecting base early in an effort to ensure long-term interest in artists careers.

Di-Ay Battad, Estranged Landscape: Lake Pod

“The impact that I want to see from Bunker is that it is an organization that empowers artists to keep developing and experimenting in their practice,” says Rommelt. “I want it to be a force that brings together diverse people and resources to create dynamic art and sustainable working lives. I want to look back and forward and know that a long list of amazing people were supported to do what is often extremely difficult to do and that is maintain a life as an artist.”

Lisa Marie Jakab, Pigeonhole Perforated

Seth LeDonne, Your Cot Dream

Crystal Vision runs through April 29. For more information, click here.

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