CARL KOLOGIE: Bender exhibit impressive
June 22, 2014 1:50 AM

In no way do I profess to be a connoisseur of the fine arts, “but” … after attending the opening reception of the newest exhibit at the University Museum at IUP recently, I was exceedingly impressed. In fact, I may be back for a second look.

Although I knew the family of the headlined artist, Nancy and the late Steve Bender, of Indiana, I had never crossed paths with their highly talented son, Mark.

This exhibit, located in the museum on the first floor of John Sutton Hall on campus, is titled “Pencil Paint Pixel: Twenty-Nine Years of Visual Communication.”

It would not be fair to try to describe Bender’s work that is displayed on every wall in the museum, as I could not possibly communicate, or do justice to his colorful presentations.

A 1983 graduate of IUP, the Indiana native “illustrates corporate communications for many prominent regional and national companies.”

Among his clients are IBM, Sony Music, the NFL, Heinz USA, the Pittsburgh Pirates, UPMC, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Magee-Womens Hospital, Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz History Center, University of Texas at Austin, University of Chicago, National Public Radio and Simon & Schuster.

Editorial portraits that are on exhibit at IUP include director Quentin Tarantino; singers Mick Jagger, Tom Waits and Amy Winehouse; and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

An illustration that drew my attention was a large image of the Clemente Bridge, with the skyline of Pittsburgh in the background and huge baseball in the foreground landing in the Allegheny River.

This was titled “Splashdown” and won the 2014 Golden Quill Award of the Pittsburgh Press Club.

When Bender took time to walk through the exhibit explaining his works in more detail, he noted that the week “Splashdown” appeared on the cover of Pittsburgh Quarterly Magazine, Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones launched a towering 468-foot home run into the river.

“Timing is everything,” he laughed.

Bender, on the faculty at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, describes is distinctive style as “classically inspired and handcrafted, combining traditional media with contemporary technology to create compelling imagery.”

During his walking tour of the museum he introduced his art teacher from his days at Indiana High School, Barbara Kubala.

“She was a real inspiration and I want to thank her for that,” he said.

His work will be on display through July 26. Take the time to make a visit. You will enjoy it, I assure you.

Summer hours at the museum are Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursdays from 3 to 7 pm.; and Saturdays from 1 until 5 p.m.

For further information, contact Leslie Kluchurosky at (724) 357-2397.

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Another Indiana native is making a mark this week in his hometown.

Mike Zilner, a son of Gib and Joan Zilner of Diamond Drugs, is owner and president of AdVision Signs, the Pittsburgh company that made all the signs being used in the movie “Southpaw” that is being filmed at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex along Wayne Avenue in White Township. Zilner’s company is on Campbell’s Run Road in Pittsburgh and this is not the first movie that has contracted him to do signs, which are dimensional and unique. In fact, according to his parents, he has been making signs for all the movies that have been filmed in the Pittsburgh area for the past three or four years.

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The recent Downtown Decathlon was won by the Friday Night Brotherhood team of Dan and Danny Mock, Dennis Bray, Bill Sink, Chris Guerrieri and Jim “Milner” Meyers.

Although they are thrilled about being served a dinner from Nap’s Cuccina Mia, the group is just ecstatic about being the grand marshals in the Wonderful Life Christmas Festival in downtown Indiana. How about that?

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