Northampton Press

Monday, May 20, 2019
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Photograph from CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Photograph from "Blast Furnace," opening Jan. 10, ArtsQuest Center, SteelStacks, Bethlehem

'Blast Furnace' installation to open at ArtsQuest Center

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 by The Press in Focus

The ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, Bethlehem, will be transformed into a steel plant blast furnace during the multi-dimensional photography installation, "Blast Furnace," opening Jan. 10.

The exhibit, created by Mike and Jamie Cabreza of iMiJ Shop of Easton, will include more than 50 photos, including 30-plus featured on the Cabrezas' three-dimensional iMiJ Blocks on display throughout the building.

The opening reception for "Blast Furnace" is 5 - 8 p.m. as part of ArtsQuest's new "Stacks in the City Ladies Night." Light refreshments and complimentary red and white wine will be available from 5 - 6:30 p.m.. The ArtsQuest Center Bistro will also launch its new "Dinner & a Show "menu and sit-down table dining service featuring entrées like Braised Short Ribs with Lentils and Swiss Chard; Vietnamese Curry Chicken Stew; and Mushroom Ravioli with roasted Kennett Square mushrooms and spinach in a shitake cream sauce.

As part of the evening, the Cabrezas will present a gallery talk at 6 p.m. Jan. 10.

Blast Furnace unites the Cabrezas' iMiJ Blocks, interactive photo cubes they have designed since the mid-1990s, with molten steel, one of the most enduring symbols of the former Bethlehem Steel plant, now the home of SteelStacks.

The exhibit, which will run through April 28, is designed to give viewers a worker's perspective of what life was like in a steel mill such as the Bethlehem Steel, which produced steel for much of the Manhattan skyline, as well as national landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam.

Included in the exhibit are 16 two-foot square iMiJ Blocks arranged into seating configurations throughout the ArtsQuest Center. The multi-media experience, which focuses on the intense energy and vivid colors of molten steel, will also include three large theater scrims hanging from the ceiling of the ArtsQuest Center, as well as a slide and video presentation shown on the wall of the ArtsQuest Center's Creativity Commons. Assisting the Cabrezas in research for the exhibition is the Bethlehem Steelworkers Archive, which will be part of the show's opening reception Jan. 10.

"iMiJ Blocks are a tactile way of showing photographs," said Jamie Cabreza. "We like people to interact with the imagery in a fun, childlike manner that allows for exploration. These blocks can be stacked up and rearranged to the viewer's delight.

"The large pieces we are doing for the exhibit at SteelStacks can function as room dividers, a table or even a spot to sit. We relish the opportunity to create work that is both beautiful and functional."

The iMiJ Blocks used in Blast Furnace are the largest ones created to date by the Cabrezas. Over the years, their photo cubes have been featured in exhibits at the Central Park Conservancy and Donna Karan New York in New York City, Collette in Paris and other locations. They are also collected by style-makers and designers around the globe.

Mike Cabreza, a graduate of the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies in Florida, honed his photography and design skills while at Moby C. Studio (former home of the world's largest Polaroid camera - 40 in. x 80 in.) in New York City, where worked for artist Gregory Colbert, who created "Ashes and Snow," the multi-media exhibit that has been seen by more than 10 million people around the world. Cabreza was also the black and white fine art printer for acclaimed photographer Roxanne Lowit, creating all the prints for her exhibitions and her 2001 book, "People."

Jamie Cabreza has travelled the world extensively while photographing for clients such as L'uomo Vogue magazine and designers Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren. She is a 1994 graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, where she received a bachelor's degree in fine art.

In 1995 the Cabrezas moved to New York City, where they founded the East Village-based blulite studio, a photo and furniture gallery with a black and white fine art lab. In 2001, they relocated to the Lehigh Valley and opened iMiJ Shop, which specializes in out-of-the-ordinary, functional photo designs for clothes, furniture, home and more.

Attached is an image of one of the photographs that will be featured in "Blast Furnace," premiering at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks Jan. 10.