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Adam Pitt and the Eonta Space gallery, 34 Dekalb Ave., in Jersey City, are taking visitors on a trip through a soul-destroying landscape of rank-dom – the workplace – but not without also also taking them through a style the artist said is one of sensuality and organic nature. “Adam Pitt: Work Day/After Hours” features more than 60 woodcut prints exploring “korporate kulture” along with the artist’s rendition of nudes in the classical mode.
Though Pitt said he always considered himself an artist, he didn’t think he’d be able to support a family that way. So even though he had no acumen for all those fields that people think of when they think of Wall Street, that’s where he ended up three decades ago.“Because I identified myself as an artist I was able to take a step back from the day to day grind at the workplace and watch what went on in the interactions between people and the hierarchy in the company,” he said.When his first major employer went chapter 11, he watched people lose their jobs and longtime managers their retirement accounts – though he himself lucked out by moving to a company where he would work for 26 years.“I was pretty successful in the business world, but there were some difficult moments after the economy took a tumble in 2008,” Pitt said. “As my job became more commoditized, the environment became more frightening. I had some pretty vicious managers and large egos to deal with as well throughout my entire work experience. There was quite a lot of denial about how far along a project was, about how people were treated and the workplace culture. That being said, I believe that I was in one of the best corporate environments compared to many friends I have spoken with.”
Pitt said plenty of people he worked with had compassion, but he “found a lot of conflict between compassion and dedication to the company.“I believe that is common in politics as well. Part of ‘korporate culture’ is the idea that you have to dedicate yourself in ways that are often against what you really believe in, and against a more humane way of relating with people, but if you don’t buy in you are going against the culture and thus risking your well-being. I have had some ‘blue-collar’ jobs in the past – working in a warehouse at a box company for example – and my experience has always been that the boss is almighty. I also have found that many people in different types of jobs from academia, government, health care and business could relate to my imagery.”While working full time and raising four children, Pitt continued dedicating time to his artwork and discovered woodcut printmaking in 1995. A couple of years later he found a collaborator in Kathy Caraccio, a master printer with a studio in Chelsea, in Manhattan.
Pitt’s woodcut process begins as most illustration does, with a sketch. But once it’s finalized it goes into Photoshop to reverse the image, and then he draws on the woodblock and carves using a combination of electric and hand tools, he said.Pitt said he uses a variety of different wood for techniques and qualities, and multiple blocks are used to create different colors.Finally, Pitt said, he proofs and reworks by re-carving and reprinting at home with water-based ink. And then it’s off to be printed at Kathy Caraccio Studio “using a press and oil-based inks.”Pitt’s “After Hours” exploration of nudes are a return, partly, to a form he focused on when he studied art. “When I started my work life I started making images about being a man at work and stuck only to that theme for about 10 years,” Pitt said. “I started to feel it was becoming very dark and intense and I couldn’t use the forms, colors and lines that I enjoyed so much. I also felt that there was nude woodcut imagery that had not yet been explored by many of the artists that I admire. I started the nude woodcuts in 2008 and have about 50 different (works). The nudes are very separate from the ‘Korporate Culture’ woodcuts. They are about sensuality and organic nature and they don’t have the narrative intensity of the workplace art.”
The workplace pieces are more cathartic for him, Pitt said. “The fact is that the nudes tend to be more painstaking to me even though they are bright and erotic. The nude in art has a long history and there are many great iconic images. Not as much so with working men (or women).”“Adam Pit: Work Day/After Hours” opens this weekend at Eonta Space, 34 Dekalb Ave., Jersey City (at the dead end off of Van Reypen St.) with hours on Friday from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, 4 to 8 p.m., including an artist reception with Adam Pitt, then, and Sunday 2 to 6 p.m. The show will be on display during the gallery’s hours until June 30.Learn more about Eonta Space at https://www.eontaspacenj.com/and more about Adam Pitt at http://www.korporateculture.com.