Thursday, June 9, 2011



PITTSBURGH, PA – June 3, 2011 – The Society for Contemporary Craft (SCC) presents a retrospective of the work of New Mexico fiber artist Charla Khanna at BNY Mellon Center in downtown Pittsburgh June 10 through August 14, 2011.

The 16 figurative sculptures included in the exhibition are beautiful expressions of states of being. For the artist, “doll making provides her with the best vehicle to express what she wants to about life, people and ideas.” Her unique, one-of-a kind figures, with their intricate textile designs and hidden amulets, can be seen as manifestations of the human spirit. "Each doll created by Charla Khanna is an adventure in the magic of colored thread, a needle, beads, stones, carefully selected fabrics. and small personal treasures. Each is a journey into the imagination of a beautifully brilliant and passionate artist," states Jane Sauer. Every doll is unique with their very own qualities and dress. Intricate clothing with patchwork designs of radiant hues varies in style for each doll. Some of Khanna’s figures are covered with stones or glass beads; others carry small over-the shoulder pouches or have hidden pockets that contain secret treasures that help decipher their meaning.

Khanna’s work draws inspiration from a range of influences, among them the works of Giotto di Bondone, the Italian painter from Florence in the late Middle Ages, and literature by Robert Frost. Santos—figures carved in wood or ivory—a traditional New Mexican genre of religious sculpture are also influential. Khanna’s process of creating each doll is meticulous. She begins by molding the heads, hands and feet out of paper pulp and adds several coats of modeling paste, then additional coats of gesso and oil glaze. The next step is adding the features to the doll, and Khanna does this by painting with casein and following with varnish. The body is made of cotton fabric, and the silk garments worn by the dolls are pieced, beaded, stitched, patched, and layered.

Of the 16 works in the show, 10 dolls have been borrowed from regional collectors. Khanna is represented nationally by Jane Sauer Gallery in Santa Fe, NM. Six of the featured pieces are new works that have been produced within the last year and are available for sale through SCC.

For sales information or inquires, visit or contact Kati Fishbein at 412.261.7003 x 26. SCC is a nonprofit, visual arts organization that presents regional, national and international contemporary art in craft media. The satellite gallery is located in the “T” station lobby of BNY Mellon Bank Center and is open daily through midnight.


The Pittsburgh Art Blog

The Pittsburgh Art Blog features selected pittsburgh artists and upcoming exhibits with photos from the artists and galleries. since the major press outlets do not go beyond a directory listing of exhibits, blogs are needed to promote pittsburgh artists and their work. the blog also calls attention to the inferiority complex of pittsburgh art and how it's perpetuated by the major players in town. Started on August 20,2007. pittsburgh area galleries and art venues are listed at the sister site

the blog and website are volunteer projects from fine art photographer and pittsburgh artist advocate rick byerly.