Rivers of Steel Arts is excited to launch the 2020 Mon Valley Featured Artist Series. Showcasing some of the exciting creative professionals working across the Mon Valley Creative Corridor, this weekly blog highlights multiple artists each month—from a variety of boroughs—to provide a snapshot of the region’s growing cultural vitality.
About Carin Mincemoyer
Our next featured artist from the Mon Valley Creative Corridor is Carin Mincemoyer. While she calls Wilkinsburg home, Carin’s creative practice is rooted in the quintessential Mon Valley borough of Braddock, Pennsylvania. In nod to one of the Valley’s most striking dichotomies, her lighthearted public artworks and installations mine the space between natural reclamation and the remnants of an economy once defined by heavy industry.
A Message from Carin
My work ponders the ways in which humans try to embrace, struggle to control, yearn for, reject, and alter the natural environment. My creative practice encompasses sculpture, installation, public art and design in diverse materials including wood, metal, discarded packaging, and live plants. Mining the visual evidence of humans’ efforts to contend with the seeming chaos of nature, I employ the engineered forms of scaffolding and bridges, the image of the underappreciated dandelion, a weather icon meant as shorthand for the complexity of a thunderstorm. These works offer opportunities for heightened perception of our daily predicament, our constant navigation between civilization and wildness.
My studio is in Braddock. I really appreciate the do-it-yourself vibe of the area: there are community gardens, free bike repair shops, a great neighborhood library with community oriented programming. It feels like there is room here for people to try things out and to make a difference.
Another thing that I respond to is the presence of nature. Places that are a little rougher around the edges are much more interesting to me than a place where every square inch has been manicured. Our relationship to nature is the main focus in my work, and you can see that push and pull between the built environment and nature in a place that is in the particular moment that Braddock is in. There is a whole spectrum visible: vacant lots that have been completely reclaimed by nature, deteriorating buildings, and also well kept houses and buildings and businesses that are thriving.
The area I’m in is a commercial and light industrial area: the building was part of a Dodge dealership for decades, and was a body shop until I moved in. There are working garages on either side of me. My dad was a diesel mechanic, and growing up, hanging out in the garage was one way to spend time with my Dad. Working in a garage space now feels like something of a connection to him.