PITTSBURGH, PA – Mattress Factory announces the opening of a dynamic and evolving two-year exhibition, State of the Sky, by artist Luke
Stettner which features more than 10 creative collaborators. Stettner’s new work deploys a range of mediums and processes across photography, sculpture, and poetry. Drawing inspiration from the changing conditions of the sky in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, and by embracing the intrinsic value of collaboration, Stettner explores the complicated impact of industry on the environment and community health.
The installation’s title comes from a drawing made by Samuel Pierpont Langley, a 19th century Allegheny Observatory director. Langley chronicled the conditions of the skies in Pittsburgh from 1878-1879. These observations reflect environmental changes in the weather and access to the stars.
Portions of the exhibition utilize materials from the University of Pittsburgh’s archives relating to local industry, transportation, and environmental activism over the past 150 years. These materials are displayed directly and used as sources for prints made in a solar darkroom built for this exhibition. The darkroom will be activated throughout the duration of the exhibition during public workshops and by artists who will develop prints directly from sunlight. This collaborative process – with the archive, the community, and the weather itself – combined with several items on loan displayed in the exhibition, emphasizes experimentation and observation as forms of knowledge building.
State of the Sky emphasizes the value of play, cooperation, and experimentation. By weaving together layers of local history, automation, and environmentalism, this exhibition promises to be a transformative experience for all attendees. “This show is rhizomatic. The collaborations, the archival work, the community engagement, the unusual exhibition space and its duration – really exemplifies my ideal working method as an artist,” Stettner adds.
Collaborators: Mac Carbonell, Chris Domenick, Michelle Franco, Nicholas Kawa, Calista Lyon, Bryan Ortiz, Suzanne Silver, Ed Steck, and Mike Stickrod. Other artists will be invited to collaborate with Stettner throughout the exhibition. The artist extends his thanks to Miriam Meislik and the Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System for their generous contributions.
About the Artist: Luke Stettner (b. 1979, lives and works in Columbus, OH) explores a range of experimental strategies in his photography and sculpture. He uses highly technical processes to create images and juxtaposes them with avant-garde language and concrete poetry. Stettner’s work is invested in poetics, employing words to evoke both form and feeling—while still acknowledging that the meaning of any image is made by the viewer.
In 2005, he received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 2002, he received his BFA from the University of Arizona. He also studied at FAMU in Prague, Czech Republic. In 2010, Stettner attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture and was a recipient of the 2013 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Residency Program.
Stettner has held ten solo exhibitions to date. His work has been exhibited at venues that range internationally from the Museum of Printing (St. Petersburg, Russia), to Hilary Crisp Gallery (London, Uk), and nationally from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (North Adams, MA) to the Transformer Station (Cleveland, OH).
About Mattress Factory: Founded in 1977, Mattress Factory is a contemporary art museum that showcases site-specific art created by artists in residence from around the world. Located in Pittsburgh’s historic Northside, just minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh, the museum’s public campus includes two historic homes and a converted mattress warehouse. In addition to temporary exhibitions created by artists-in-residence, Mattress Factory also is home to long term works by Greer Lankton, James Turrell, Winifred Lutz, Yayoi Kusama and more.
Luke Stettner State of the Sky | Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA
Event Title: State of the Sky
Event Description: Mattress Factory announces the opening of a dynamic and evolving two-year exhibition, State of the Sky, by artist Luke Stettner which features more than 10 creative collaborators. Stettner’s new work deploys a range of mediums and processes across photography, sculpture, and poetry. Drawing inspiration from the changing conditions of the sky in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, and by embracing the intrinsic value of collaboration, Stettner explores the complicated impact of industry on the environment and community health.
Start date: November 18, 2023
End date: November 30, 2023
Location name: Mattress Factory
Address: 509 Jacksonia St. Pittsburgh, PA 15213