Saturday, October 1, 2011

*small neighbors/Microbiota*, new work by Erika Johnson and Daniel Maidman

*small neighbors/Microbiota*
new work by Erika Johnson and Daniel Maidman

Brew House Space 101
2100 Mary Street, Pittsburgh
October 15 - November 6, 2011
Opening Reception on October 15 from 7:00 - 10:00 pm
Free public workshop October 22, 2:00 - 4:00 pm


For press inquiries please contact Erika Johnson at 412-996-2836 or email

Erika Johnson began making low-resolution microscopic video in 2010 after attending a workshop at Carnegie Mellon's Studio for Creative Inquiry. With a simple reversed-lens webcam, she photographs the tiny creatures that inhabit Pittsburgh's rivers and urban ponds. small neighbors/Microbiota incorporates video and stills, a live microscopic installation, and Brooklyn-based artist Daniel Maidman's lush oil paintings based on Johnson's

The exhibition at the Brew House (2100 Mary Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203) opens with a public reception from 7 - 10 pm on Saturday, October 15, and continues through November 6. The gallery will be open to the public on October 17, 22 and 24 and on November 5 from 2 - 6 pm. Patrons may also call 412-996-2836 or email to schedule an appointment.

On Saturday, October 22, Erika Johnson will offer a free hands-on "small neighbors" community workshop for all ages. Participants will learn about the technology used to make the work, and will also learn to identify and draw some of the protozoa and phytoplankton that live in the puddles, ponds, and rivers around us.

Erika Johnson makes installations that explore mutual entanglement, desire, memory, and community. She has had solo exhibitions at Nashville's Plowhaus, Twist, Blend Studio, and Parthenon galleries, and at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh. Her 2009 work Curtain was named Best Installation by the Nashville Scene, and she was commissioned to create a permanent installation for the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University. Johnson has taught workshops on assemblage and book and paper arts at the Union Project and Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh, at Vanderbilt University, and numerous other venues in Nashville, TN. She works at the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse.

About this work, she says: "The lens of my little camera, with its smudges and limitations, is a rabbit hole through which I descend into an enchanted universe. The small citizens of the water around us are both ubiquitous and mysterious. While billions of protozoa – more than all the people on the planet – may live in a single pond, i can spend hours watching a single philodina in a pickle jar. At the intersections of science and art, of taxonomy and beauty, I consider interconnectedness, cathexis, pets and ethics, complexity, and death."

Johnson's collaborator, Daniel Maidman, was inspired by her work to create a series of paintings depicting the world of the microscopic.

Daniel Maidman’s current paintings range from the figure and portraiture to still lives, machines, and cityscapes. His work has been shown in juried shows in New York, California, Ohio, Missouri, and Oregon, and at Gallery Mess, the restaurant of the Saatchi Gallery in London. His paintings or words have been published by ARTnews, American Art Collector, International Artist, American Artist, Poets/Artists, and SUNY-Potsdam. His writing on Da Vinci will be taught at DePaul University later this year. His work is included in, among others, the collections of entrepeneur Howard Tullman, novelist China MiĆ©ville, and author Kathleen Rooney. He is represented by Gitana Rosa Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, and Hilliard Gallery in Kansas City,

About the Microbiota paintings, Maidman says, "We are accustomed to paintings of life in a recognizable world: solid, large, and invested with familiar meanings. There is no reason the same painterly techniques so well suited to a figure, a still life, or a landscape, can't turn their attention to a world utterly alien, defined by buoyancy, translucence, and eccentric strategies of survival. Broadening our perspective to include the tiny and transitory, things that barely exist at all, meshes us more tightly to all the faces of our miraculous world. By considering the microbe, we enrich and deepen our sense of beauty - in other words, our humanity."

Located in the old Duquesne Brewery Building in Pittsburgh's historic South Side, Brew House SPACE 101 is an alternative exhibition space with a mission to represent emerging and underrepresented artists in all media as well as hosting a broad range of community projects. Each year several exhibitions are selected from proposals.

More information at


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.