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NYC meets CoMo in PS Gallery's Winter Exhibit

East Coast grit meets Midwest charm at winter exhibit

Photo courtesy of Kayla Elam

December 12, 2013 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Painter Emily Burns and mixed media artist Josh George can’t tell you what beauty is or what it means to have an ideal life. But in the Winter Exhibit at PS Gallery, these two artists encourage you to evaluate your own definitions against their work.

George paints love letters to the cities he has left. The Kansas City-born artist moved to New York in 2000 (“Isn’t that where artists are supposed to go?” he says.) and began his career with shows in coffee shops before exhibiting in galleries. Now based in Richmond, Va., he uses his work to explore the definition of a fulfilled and good life.

Winter Exhibit

Where: PS Gallery
When: Through Jan. 25
Cost: Free
Call: 442-4831
Online: thepsgallery.com

“I’m on a constant search to find where home is,” George says. “I was raised to appreciate a certain kind of (Midwestern) living that was considered ideal.”

It seems like a natural fit then that the Ashcan School, an artistic movement popular in New York City during the early
20th century, influences him. The movement cultivated artists such as George Luks and Robert Henri.

“A Personal Single Origin” (above) by George shows the gritty beauty of the Ashcan School movement. Photo courtesy of Josh George
The themes of everyday urban life and gritty beauty used by these artists resonate with George. He often uses pieces by these artists for inspiration.

Painter Emily Burns similarly focuses on contemporary themes but with increased interest in the identity of women. Burns works in Lemont, Pa., but spends much of her time in New York just as George does. Unlike George, however, Burns centers her pieces on depictions of women and their representation in art, pop culture and the media.

Her series “Deer Girls” uses taxidermy juxtaposed with women’s bodies as social commentary. “The animals are put behind glass as perfect specimen,” she says.

She explains there is ambiguity and disconnect of how people, especially women, are represented visually in the media versus how they look in real life, and her series explores implications of these depictions.

George and Burns are just two of the artists showing work during the Winter Exhibit at PS Gallery. Local mixed media artist and PS Gallery owner Joel Sager and wood sculptor Michael Bauermeister are also displaying their works in the show, which Sager says has no theme.

“It’s a dynamic show with art that will show strongly together but stand apart as well.”

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