As an artist, Jeannie McGuire desires to bring situations close to the viewer for a personal connection—to portray the sound in a crowded bar, the suspense of an investigation, energy, movement, and a sense of a time and place. Using watercolor pigments and graphite on paper, this exhibition depicts people in the context of southwestern Pennsylvania industry.
When Jeannie McGuire went to art school in the 1970s, Pittsburgh’s steel industry still had a presence, although the vibrancy of its mid-century peak was dwindling. One morning, during her daily commute walking across town, she was particularly taken by a scene that brought her a new view of life. A triangle-shaped bar with doors open on both ends allowed for a full view of the occupants standing shoulder to shoulder along the bar—smoke, alcohol, and voices wafted in the dewy morning air. That scene was the start of Jeannie McGuire’s journey into creating stories of people through her artwork, and why she selected a bar scene from the Rivers of Steel archives as inspiration for one featured works in this exhibition.
Comprised of images of the steel industry, ironworkers, machinists and miners, the paintings in this show used archival photos courtesy of Rivers of Steel as reference, along with other images sourced from friends and flea market finds. Installed at the historic Pump House, which was once part of the U.S. Steel Homestead Steel Works, this raw industrial space is a fitting environment, both in character and in history, for displaying these expressive paintings depicting people within southwestern Pennsylvania industry.
Exhibition events include an opening reception on May 6, open studio hours on select Wednesdays, and a weeklong workshop from Monday, May 22 through Friday, May 26, 2023.