Summer Chance

Tom Otterness' The Creation Myth
Goodman and University Avenue
Rochester, New York

Winding my way to the studio in the Hungerford Building the other day I noticed workers and trucks at the installation on the corner of University Avenue.  I went over to see what they have been doing and I was surprised to see that the sculpture from Tom Otterness has been switched out.  It came as a surprise because I don't remember reading anything about it in the papers.  In case you haven't been by there - this set of sculptures has become a popular destination  - and now there is a new version in metal of one of his pieces,  recently installed.  I wonder why, and how it was changed, not that anything was lost - it is just different!  Now we have one in metal and one in stone, along with many of the little versions sprinkled around the grounds of the Memorial Art Gallery. 

Tom Otterness 
The Memorial Art Gallery

A little further on my way, on College Avenue, Gallery r is closed for the summer, and will be opening in a new spot during the fall in a mid-town location.  I am sure we will have some interesting news about that to share with you soon.  The College Avenue location has served the students and faculty of R.I.T. well,  and now we will see what will happen in their new exhibition space.

If you plan to visit galleries this summer, take in a new show that is by photographer John Retallack being held at the Joy Gallery, 498 Main Street West, in Rochester.  John mentioned to me that his show called: STORY will remain at the gallery during September.  John Retallack has been involved with photography and printing for years, and he was also teaching at Rochester Institute of Technology which was where we first met.  The interesting thing about these new photo prints on view is that often John has hand written a story to go along with the image.

John Retallack
at Joy Gallery
498 Main Street West, Rochester, New York

Some of the photos in the present show go back in time; John is revisiting places he has been and telling the stories of how the photos were made.  Not all of the prints are combined with his hand writing however.  Some of the photos  are quite unique ( especially his toy truck images ) and other photos seem to come from a time when he was mainly making portraits.  In fact he published a book with Anne C. Coon of faculty portraits  at R.I.T.  ( there is an image of Scott McCarney in the present show as an example ).

Jed Perl's compendium
"Art in America" 
The Library of America, published by Penguin Random House

Summer is a time when I can catch up on my reading, and I can recommend a compendium that has been published from Jed Perl.  He collects essays from writers on American Art - going back to 1945 and ending up around 1970.  In collecting this 800 plus page  book Jed Perl writes introductions for each selection, and tells us why he made the choice of these essays - why he feels they are necessary for a better understanding of the art we see in galleries and museums.  I think this would be a good selection for anyone who is curious about what was being said about  some of the well known artists of the time including writings by some of the artists themselves including Isamu Noguchi,  Barnett Newman, and Willem de Kooning.  It may surprise you how eloquent some of the artists are in their communications!

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Botanical Book Reviews

Looking forward to reading this review as I need books to recommend for my class in Zoological and Botanical Art set to start in two weeks!
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Celebrated Artists Sometimes

Gorges, just Gorges
August, 2018

Spending a day in the Finger Lakes, taking in the sites ( see above ) and thinking of the future.

For this writer,  I go back to my teaching schedule at Rochester Institute of Technology and I think about opportunities to show my recent artwork - with a exhibition going on in Los Angeles at LACDA ( see below ) and also one in Poughkeepsie, New York which I wrote about in my last posting.

LACDA ( Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
August 9th thru September 1, 2018

I am in Ithaca, New York for a visit to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art on the campus of Cornell University, and I visit a couple of shows there that gave me a good feeling of time well spent looking at their art.  I am at a point where I am making plans to teach, and I am looking outside of myself for inspiration, and I find it in other people's art at the present.

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
Cornell University campus,
Ithaca, New York

The show "Shifting Ground" is a survey of landscapes - mostly mid-20th century that come from unexpected sources.  Where you might expect to see Fairfield Porter, or Neil Welliver, instead there is Karl Schrag and Alan Sonfist.  The ideal here is to introduce artists that are not familiar names and give the viewers a chance to evaluate their contributions to the notion of "landscape".   This is not a show for plein air painters, matter of fact this is much more conceptual in nature.

Karl Schrag, 1970
"Land,Sea,Sky " color intaglio print

Alan Sonfist
"Gene Bank of New York City", 1974
Photographs and vials of forest elements

Karl Schrag ( 1912-1995 ) was an artist who may be better known for his coastal watercolors and a style that is close to Charles Burchfield.  He taught printmaking at The Cooper Union just before I entered that art school for my BFA degree.  Alan Sonfist is an artist who has worked in a number of genres, and here is represented by a wall size series of photos of New York's Central Park and bottles of samples taken from the forest floor.  This more conceptual approach to image making has a point:  these samples may be needed to recreate the forest, should society need to undertake that project.  

The benefit of walking through this exhibition is to get the viewer to think about landscape beyond the prosaic, and look at it fresh with new eyes.  This leads me to the second show ( "The Touch of the Butterfly" ) that is arranged on the lower floor that opens a door to the artist Whistler and his inspirations and influences.  This is primarily a show of prints, and it begins with beautiful little images from Rembrandt's portraiture and brings to our attention not only Whistler, but the artists of which he is associated.

James Abbott McNeill Whistler ( 1834-1903 )
Intaglio etching of Drouet, 1859 

Wonderful direct etchings from Whistler like the portrait above, made this museum visit worthwhile, and there were so many more prints of interest including his Asian influence felt in the work of Hiroshige ( see below ).  I happened to be in the museum with a friend, Geoffrey Oliver who is a Japanese Print dealer, so we talked a lot about the art form and how Whistler was influenced by the Orient.

Hiroshige, from the show " Touch of the Butterfly"

Closer to my home in Rochester, I had the chance to go to the opening of a show of artwork by Cathal O'Toole ( 1904-1991 ) who was also a painter and printmaker - born in Ireland, spent time living in New York City, and came to teach here in Rochester.  I knew his printmaking from the time I was the President of the Print Club of Rochester, and we had commissioned a print from this artist for our subscribers.

Cathal O'Toole  ( 1904-1991 )

Now at the Axom Gallery, you can go and see a collection of works that span most of Cathal O'Toole's career, including landscape paintings, and abstractions and so much more.  One has to be thankful for the opportunity to look over these artworks which are modestly priced - it is like getting a rare look at the artist's inventory.  Cathal O'Toole had skills, and he was an artist who deserved your attention.

"The Visionary Works of Cathal O'Toole
Axom Gallery
176 Anderson Avenue, second floor
Rochester, New York

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Blog on Wheels ( Part Two )

Barrett Art Center show
"Pushing Paper"
August 11 - September 22, 2018

I have been hearing good things about The Barrett Art Center in Poughkeepsie, New York, so it is off to the Hudson River Valley to find this place and bring my two works for the show that will start in August called: "Pushing Paper"  ( see above ).  In the older section of Poughkeepsie, right near a park by the river is an old brick building that now houses The Barrett Art Center, and they have put together a roster of interesting shows that they are mounting.  I think this is a fine idea, and it will help re-vitalize the art scene in this picturesque town that I knew many years ago when my cousins lived and worked there.

Inside The Barrett Art Center

The Barrett Art Center had a selection of photos upstairs, and a student show when we were visiting.  The interior spaces are very much like walking through the door of someone's home built probably in the late 19th century.  We were met with a friendly receptionist, and I hope that the shows attract some attention.

Making our way out and into New York City we encountered some devilish traffic and suffered through it all the way to Brooklyn.  The next day we spent in the Brooklyn Museum and found solace in the way they have re-imagined their shows, stressing diversity.  This made me think about how hard it has been for some artists who wanted to have their work presented with some respect, and only now have points of view opened to accept and promote their art.

Along Eastern Parkway is the Brooklyn Museum of Art

The show on the top floor began with some classical marble sculpture and an installation of glass art called: "FLOAT" by artist Rob Wynne which will be on view into January, 2019.  This installation actually carried through many rooms  - though each room had something different.  Sometimes the glass art was purely abstract, other situations called for glass letters that spell out some nifty statements: "I Saw Myself See Myself" is one example.

At the entrance to FLOAT
Brooklyn Museum

Further into the museum we came across rooms devoted to Transformation - Life and Death in the Americas - which features many art forms going back into history from native tribal artists of North America, Central America, and South America.  There are  many fine examples of Aztec carving to Northwest Coast masks and beyond.  The show opens your mind to all new perspectives on the power and sophistication of these ancient traditions that would produce these objects.  

Aztec stone carvings
Brooklyn Museum

Transformative Northwest Coast Mask

Downstairs in the Brooklyn Museum there was a different exhibition that featured 120 Radical Women - artists mostly of Hispanic cultures from the mid 1960s through the mid 1980s - and  here once again I was taken by the nature of this show and the fact that I had not been aware of many of these artists whose work I was seeing for the first time.  In the exhibition there was a large wood piece by Marisol that  appears in many books around the beginnings of POP Art - though in retrospect I doubt this art has much to do with POP commercialism.

Marisol at Brooklyn Museum

Another artist that I did find had something more to do with the POP Art sense - but she puts her art thru an activist lens and her prints work at your conscience - and these are the work of  Ester Hernandez, that you can see below.

Ester Hernandez takes on Agribusiness with her own brand of POP
Brooklyn Museum

Before we left to go home we took another look at the big installation of Judy Chicago's Dinner Table which now has a real space devoted to this unique artwork.  As you go around this triangle stop and look over each setting  - and think about the time and care that goes into each part of this major work.

It can give you chills thinking of it, and all of the inspiration that the women who are honored at this table have brought to us all.

Judy Chicago at The Brooklyn Museum

So, we prepare for the long drive back upstate, don't forget the umbrella, it is going to be a pretty rainy day as we pass by the site of the World Trade Center, which is packed with tourists on this summer's day.

Traffic at a standstill..
New York, New York

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Blog on Wheels

"Bird Food"
Alan Singer, July 2018
Transfer monotype on paper

From Rochester, New York, to Ithaca, to Poughkeepsie, to Brooklyn and back...what I do for my living is an art - and it takes a lot of work!  I just left Rochester on this hot day in July feeling good about a new print that I pulled in my studio that I call "Bird Food".  The really funny thing about the print is not the subject matter, but the fact that the image is derived from a mathematical function.  I have been working on developing my prints for years now based on forms of geometry and so I feel excited about going in this new direction especially since the genesis of these images is so  unique in art. This month's Scientific American has an article about art and mathematics and is worth reading.  I think eventually people are going to want to know more about this endeavor.

In a park outside of Rochester Contemporary Art Center
July, 2018

We go on the road for a few days, and before that I visit the Rochester Contemporary Art Center to see the Kalpa Tree being built in the park next to the Art Center building.  The Kalpa Tree is the brainchild of artist Alexander Green and a San Francisco design studio called Symmetry Labs.  The Kalpa Tree is actually a sculpture that will illuminate based on an interactive interface that will result in a broadcast of colors and patterns in the park the likes of which we have never seen before, so this is truly a  wonder to behold as it is now being built from the ground up.

Nancy Ridenour at CAP Artspace on the Ithaca Commons

I have to deliver some of my artwork downstate, so we stop for a while in Ithaca, and I hop over to see two exhibits going on right now.  "Wing Beats" is a two person show at CAP Artspace on the Commons and I have been going over there to see shows for a while now.  This particular show is all about birds and I knew the photos of one of the artists ( seen above ), Nancy Ridenour - having just spotted her work in the State of the Art Gallery down State Street.  Paula Bensadoun is the other artist in this show and her works are mainly drawings including one below of Roseatte Spoonbills that you see below.  The photos are often printed on canvas or stretched around a frame, while the drawings are often in pastel, and are a bit more romantic.

Paula Bensadoun at CAP Artspace

Only a few steps away is the Ink Shop, and this month they have a new show of a variety of printmaking artists all associated with a press in France.  I was told that this is an exchange show, and so the French artists were new to me and I enjoyed seeing their prints for the first time.  Fabienne Veverka is staying here in the U.S. and was the Director of the Atelier de Gravure de la Villedieu.  She brought with her a selection of fine prints for this present exhibition.  Fabienne also has her own work on view and I found a wonderful print she made that is all about color and gradations from one to the next - and it is very enigmatic.  Other images presented are more traditional, and I gather that the Atelier offers a wide variety of printmaking methods including those that are experimental.

Fabienne Veverka
at Ink Shop
Ithaca, New York

Michelle Urbany
Atelier de Gravure de la Villedieu

Ithaca is undergoing a building spree, especially in the downtown area around the commons.  New hotels, and new stores, when you walk downtown you can't help but notice - Ithaca is booming.  I wonder how this is going to shape the visual arts scene going forward...?

Sculpture on the Ithaca Commons

Buildings going up in Ithaca, New York

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Inside Story at MAG

Josephine Tota ( 1910-1996 )
Inside the Memorial Art Gallery
Rochester, New York
Summer, 2018

Too hot and humid to work in the studio, I made up my mind that I would be better off going over to the Memorial Art Gallery to see their new shows and hear from the curator of "The Surreal Visions of Josephine Tota".  Josephine who?  How often does our museum here in Rochester - introduce us to a totally new figure - a self-taught artist who died in obscurity but left her family a copious amount of small scale paintings that tell a large story worth sharing.

Questions and answers about Josephine Tota
Sunday, July 15, 2018

Josephine Tota's art at the MAG

Jessica Marten is the Curator in Charge at the MAG and she spent part of her afternoon talking with her audience in the museum auditorium about how she first encountered the art of Josephine Tota, and how this art offered a rare opportunity to open a new chapter for these paintings which had never been seen at all by the public.  Josephine Tota had experienced psychological problems and had virtually withdrawn from her work as a seamstress but forged ahead with her art at home.  Josephine Tota probably never expected her paintings to be given such an arousing welcome as we have here at the MAG.

Josephine Tota's paintings tell stories...

Paradoxical visions...

Curious personifications...

Josephine Tota lived in Rochester, New York, so her story has resonance with an audience gathered for the opening of the show.  She could be considered a naive artist - but the sentiment and emotion expressed in her art has more of a surreal context and an illustrative quality to it.  The 90 pieces on display owe more to an earlier century of European art, especially the flattened patterns of medieval manuscript paintings that Ms. Tota so enjoyed during her life.

Grandma Moses

On this Sunday afternoon, I stay to hear Karel Ann Marling speak about Grandma Moses, another self-taught painter who was a star in her own right - I grew up looking at her artwork often published in the 1950's and 60's - which had some influence when I was a child.

Karel Ann Marling is a very interesting speaker having spent years working up her biography of Grandma Moses, and I am very taken with the images, history, and cultural effects that her paintings had, and one can wonder if Josephine Tota will have that kind of impact once her paintings become more well known.

Nancy Jurs at the MAG

Nancy Jurs is a sculptor and installation artist who is well known and respected here at the MAG.  Her show has a title: "My Life Has Gotten So Busy That It Now Takes Up All Of My Time".  Her sculptural works are mainly fired ceramics - some like the grouping installed at the Rochester Airport years ago are quite large.  In this present selection her art is often found in sequence - hanging here under a scrim - which reads almost like a filmstrip.

Model for Airport Installation by Nancy Jurs

Down the hall in the Lockhart Gallery, Larry Merrill has a selection of photos on view that he has made of classical sculpture.  Some of the sculptural pieces come from the Memorial Art Gallery permanent collection and measure only an inch or so across.  In Larry Merrill's photos the lighting gives these objects a real presence, and a viewer can take in nuance that may not be really evident when seen as a real 3D experience.  The photographer's eye captures something else, a quality often of decomposition - some of the unsettling aspects of looking at antiquities from a more analytical perspective.  We really get a sense of how the years have gone by, the depth of history, and the vulnerability even of artwork carved in stone.

Larry Merrill presents: "Wards of Time"

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Notations and State of the Art

Kristine Bouyoucos
Rundel Library, First Floor
115 South Avenue
Rochester, NY 
thru July 18, 2018

We are fortunate to live in a diverse community where access to the arts is as simple as walking into the Public Library.  This is especially true if you go over today to The Rundel Library at 115 South Avenue in Rochester and while you are there look for the artwork on exhibit from Kristine Bouyoucos.  The art comes in many forms, prints, books and more in a show she calls: "Notations: Imagery of Words and Music thru July 18th.

Kristine Bouyoucos
part of a triptych called: La Mer

Kristine Bouyoucos has been working with various forms of printmaking and in her show she presents framed prints and artists books for your enjoyment and contemplation.  Over many years you may have seen her art in Print Club shows, and exhibited at Oxford Gallery, and here the emphasis is on music and how it can intersect with visual art.  Many of her recent prints have musical notation and can be seen as her interpretations of great pieces of music like "La Mer" seen above.

Kristine Bouyoucos
limited editions of Artist's Books

Kristine is also a musician and as she says "music has been a constant in her life".  She can combine  her techniques in one work of art using what she calls: mixed media, and that can be one of a number of printmaking techniques including digital overprinting to give the final effects.  She is not afraid to tackle other subjects, and here I am thinking of her recent strategy of taking on the political climate that we find ourselves in here in the USA.  

Kristine Bouyoucos
Rondel Library, 115 South Avenue, Rochester

On a really hot day we drive down to Ithaca, and take a cooling walk along the gorge and Cascadilla Creek.  Not far from the road, we find a spot that has a little pile up of rocks along the lines of Andy Goldsworthy.


Ithaca has some spots I visit regularly for their natural appeal, and then there are some places I go for the visual arts.  One spot is directly below The Commons - and that is an artist cooperative called State of the Art Gallery  at 120 West State Street.  This July there is a three person show on now and it is worth a visit if you have not been there.

State of the Art Gallery,  120 West State Street, Ithaca, NY

I know one of the artists in this current show - Stan Bowman.  When I was finishing up my studies as a painter in graduate school at Cornell University, Stan was an up-and-coming faculty member who moved into my old studio space in what is now Tjaden Hall.  The last things I saw of Stan's were digital prints over in the lobby of the CSMA Building in Ithaca so it was a bit of a surprise to see his new dimensional paintings in this new exhibition with Mary Ann Bowman and Jan Kather...

Stan Bowman with his new artwork
State of the Art Gallery

Stan Bowman's acrylic on board

Stan Bowman mentioned to me that many of the works he is showing were made in the last three months, so they all share characteristics of bright colors, textured surfaces and dimensional cut-outs that bring sculptural form to these paintings that can remind you of painters like Frank Stella and Friedl Dzubas.

In this 3 person show, I was also quite impressed with the prints of Jan Kather made on metal supports in a series called "Watermark".  Beautiful - yet subtle tones are given depth with these new pieces - the result of scanning a watercolor and printing it in a digital format.  My photo doesn't do justice to this art which has to be seen in the first person.

Jan Kather's Watermark
State of the Art Gallery

Mary Ann Bowman has character - many of them are on view in the gallery - and no doubt she has fun with these creations.  The sculptural works can sit in a chair or on a table top.  The "Lovely Chicken Leg Lady" is part ceramic with a topknot of apples - it is a hoot!  Take some time out of your day to visit the State of the Art Gallery, all you have to do is enter the door at 120 West State Street, and you will be captivated!

Mary Ann Bowman
at State of the Art Gallery
Ithaca, New York

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Political Impressions & 6 X 6

Rose Colors in my garden....

Not everything is rosy.  When I step out of my garden, and confront the political realities the images that come to my mind are dreadful.  Just thinking about the young children cut off from their families is a gut-wrenching immigration issue and that is one big scandal among many.

The Print Club of Rochester
International Printmaking Exhibition
Bevier Gallery thru August 11, 2018
Rochester Institute of Technology

The Print Club of Rochester had a very lofty goal of being the sponsor for an international exhibition of prints with a political twist.  The current show that is being held at Rochester Institute of Technology in the Bevier Gallery sits calmly on the walls under the lights, but these works of art have a hard time up against the intense battles being waged in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere around our country.

"American Carnage" , linocut by Barbara Striker

One print in this new show - a linocut by Barbara Striker called    " American Carnage" made in 2017, gets close to the current feelings of outrage - showing a line up of dead birds, drops of red blood and name tags attached to their feet that read: Disaster, Corrupt, Nasty, Bad Hombre, etc.  These words recall the presidential campaign trail, the elections and now we can see the results!

Print by Laurie Szujewska

A print - from California artist Laurie Szujewska has been made using large wood letters spelling out the word Treason, which has been redacted.  I think of all the government documents that have been blacked out - with information that we will never discover in this democracy of ours.

Kate Mariner, letterpress print

Many of the stronger works in the show are text based.  It is  found in a statement quoted from Zora Neale Hurston about racism that was the main feature in a letterpress print by Kate Mariner, and strength is found in a print from Kristine Bouyoucos she titles: "Love Trumps Hate" made with metal stencils and overprinting.

Kristine Bouyoucos at Bevier Gallery
"Political Impressions"

"Media Bias" by Collette Lucas

Collette Lucas has sent a screen print for the exhibition that she calls: "Media Bias".  This text based print is the latest mantra from the Trump Whitehouse.  

In the show at Rochester Contemporary Art Center this summer called 6 X 6, there is one little square painting that says a lot about "Political Impressions" - Elect A Clown, Get A Circus".

Rochester Contemporary Art Center
6 X 6

This year's edition of 6 X 6 as usual is bursting at the seams with art - so many artworks to choose from if you want to support the artists, and the Art Center.  I spent a fair amount of time looking over this years display.  Many styles, many subjects, but there are always a few things that stand out including Robert Marx's drawings, along with the political ones like the Trump portrait above.

Rochester Contemporary Art Center's annual  6 X 6

An art collection can begin here, on the ground floor, so to speak.  Almost anyone with a spare $20. can begin to buy artwork for themselves or as a gift for that deserving someone.  There is something for any taste, and I am happy to say that I now have a selection of these works in my collection that I look at every day and I was happy to support our Rochester Contemporary Art Center in this way.

6 X 6  Is a show that is a garden of delights, so take some time and GO THERE! You won't be disappointed.....

Rochester Contemporary Art Center
6 X 6

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Father’s Day Gallery Goings On

Alan Singer at home
Father's Day, June 17, 2018
Rochester, New York

Tales of two cities ( Ithaca and Rochester, New York..) - looking for something unusual!  Jump over to the gallery page in the paper, and go see for myself what is happening.  My father and mother took us as kids around to see the galleries around Tenth Street in Manhattan when everything was getting going back in the early 1950s.  Back then, you could walk around the art world in New York City in an afternoon.  This was way before the development of SoHo and Chelsea and the wallop of all that development money from above.

I was looking for something unusual, for example - I remember walking into the Howard Wise Gallery on 57th Street at an opening for Yayoi Kusama when there were hardly any visitors to her show - this was probably 50 years ago - and now she is a world-wide art star.  The point being - that you can find things made by artists that might have the force or change the directions that our culture responds to - and you may buy it or follow the artist's work to see what happens next.

Building Up Ithaca, NY

On the Commons in Ithaca, I had a nice chat with Robin Schwartz, a director of the CAP  ( Community Arts Partnership )  Artspace.  She said rather than have the usual wall labels for a big group show she would ask each artist to answer a single question: Why I Did It!  The resulting exhibition puts together artworks hung salon style alongside the story of what propelled each artist to make the work that they are showing. Awards were given based on a juror's recommendations as is the case here.  

Exhibition at CAP Artspace
"Why I Did It"
includes works like this photomontage by Kathy Morris called "Cat"

I did find some unusual things in the Why I Did It! group show.  Robin Schwartz said she wanted to do away with the jargon filled wall labels she finds in museums and galleries, and she said that people really stopped to read why these artists made their works just so...

Teresa Bakota Yatsko with her award winner - "Library"
an altered book

Award Winner by Susan Russell

"Why I Did It"
At Cap Artspace, Ithaca, NY

Up the way on State Street you will find the Ink Shop in and around the construction of new buildings in Ithaca that will soon shadow the earth.  The Ink Shop upstairs now has on view the new prints by Paul Van Atta that I promised to go see when I met the artist a couple of weeks ago.  Now that I see his printed works, I am surprised by the variety of substrates that he uses including pizza boxes and acetate.  His prints are filled with characters - sometimes in a crisis...

Paul Van Atta
at the Ink Shop, Ithaca, NY

Reality is balanced against a kind of cartoonish story line developed for many of these prints by this Kahn Family Fellow.  As it says on his card, "Paul uses screen printing, painting and drawing against the byproducts of retail displays that focus on his characters in a state of befuddlement or general consumer distress.

Paul Van Atta's "Constructs" at The Ink Shop

Now, I am back in Rochester, to work on my own art ( at the top of this post ) and later on I will stop in to the Bevier Gallery to see the Print Club of Rochester, and their international show called "Political Impressions".  I think this is a fine step for the Print Club - a group for which I have a strong regard.  Next post we can look at the things happening in around town, so I hope you get some free time to do the same.  Happy Father's Day!

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Sign Wave

"Now This" a show of recent art by Nick Ruth
MAKERS Gallery & Studio

Three shows constitute a kind of sign wave with each exhibition powering up and then simmering down.  One show was closing and two exhibitions were opening.  This is just another reason why our neighborhood has something unique to engage avid art addicts ( like myself ) as well as offer something to those who are "just looking".

Nick Ruth, screenprint and colored pencil

"Now This" by Nick Ruth had a fine selection of recent art by this artist who has a long association with Hobart William & Smith College at Geneva, New York.  Nick Ruth is an artist whose work I have followed ( I have one of his early pattern paintings ) and his show "Now This" had prints and mixed media works that share a common thread: Communications.  The show was held at Makers Gallery & Studio, 34 Elton Street, in Rochester.  If you haven't been there it is worth the walk up three flights of stairs to check out the latest and greatest.

Nick Ruth at makers Gallery & Studio

Ruth's art in this show ( now closed ) is of a modest size, and the imagery has a sense of humor and a touch of the surreal.  These are signs with no discernible language - maybe you are supposed to project what you think the signs should say.. or maybe the imagery is derived from all the cell towers we can see in a given landscape and the power they project of conversations flowing and an endless river of data....

Nick Ruth's "Now This #5"

Something about Nick Ruth's art reminds me of the west-coast painter Wayne Thiebaud - with his lines of cup cakes and pies.  Each one of Nick Ruth's signs has a similar form to the other signs but the details are different.  Many of the signs are viewed from the back, and that means we get to see the structure - and that is what creates meaning as opposed to seeing the information - the language or instruction that is left blank.  A meditation - Life is an open book - but this book has no text!

Shane Durgee - "Higher Plane Drifter"
paintings and prints
at Geisel Gallery

Across town in the Geisel Gallery, Shane Durgee has mounted his artwork in the long hallway of the former Bausch & Lomb headquarters.  Now, through the end of June you can find that Shane's artwork is very engaging and speaks to a younger generation through his frenetic imagery. Shane is a recent graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology where he is presently employed to manage shows in the Bevier Gallery and much more.  He can teach others and this then leaves time for him to be involved in his own art making and it seems that he is quite active in paintings and prints.

Shane Durgee's " Language of Lights, 2012

When I write that his work speaks to a younger generation - I mean that his use of cartoonish characters - not entirely unlike anime - with a bit of the grotesque thrown in to provide spice, would be consistent with the experience of growing up being exposed to video games, album covers, and all the devices that divide one's attention.

Shane Durgee, digital transfer print

I recognize some of the prints in this new show because they were made in a class that I gave at R.I.T. in digital printmaking.  The fact is Shane picked up what I was teaching really quickly and made some terrific images, worth being part of the show here.

Shane Durgee, "Untitled", 2015

So there is a burst of imagery in each painting or print that highlights the way our attention shifts and then moves on.  In some ways, Shane's artwork in this exhibition could be a commentary on the artwork I found in another exhibition that opened up this week...

Shane Durgee on view now at The Geisel Gallery, Rochester, N.Y.

I attended another opening this weekend at The Axom Gallery for the artist Carey Corea with his show " Beyond the Surface" .  Many of the paintings on view include encaustic - which is an ancient wax medium combined with pigment and the colors are rich and tactile.  We are lucky to have a local vendor - the creator of Encaustikos - here at Rochester Art Supply!  ..and he was very happy with the way his colors looked in the paintings of Carey Corea.

Carey Corea at his opening
Axom Gallery, Rochester, New York

The selection of artworks make a case for late abstract expressionism, and there are some characteristics worth noting.  I asked the artist if he worked on many of these paintings at once - and he answered that he never has more than one work in progress at a time for fear of losing his focus.  I thought that since these paintings took a lot of time ( the paints have to be heated up so they reach a fluid state ) that there would be room for having many paintings in the works.

"Turn" 16" x 16" by Carey Corea

The little selection of photographs are in keeping with the structures found in his paintings.  There can be a kind of game being played - especially in the mass of similar sized works that make up a grid at one end of the large exhibition space.  In this grid of 16 inch square paintings there is a vocabulary established of textures and colors.  Carey Corea mentioned that the most recent of these compositions has an orange handle inserted into the artwork called: "Turn".

Carey Corea at Axom Gallery

Recently, I re-read essays by Clement Greenberg written in the 1950s at the height of abstract expressionism.  Greenberg comments that the painters he admired used their compositions to highlight the strengths of the two dimensional surface they worked on - a kind of critique of the art that came before that tries to mimic nature with portraits and realism and the like.  Carey Corea doesn't  mimic nature, but he sometimes applies objects directly into his compositions without any explanation and they become enigmatic.

The recent work of Carey Corea
Axom Gallery

The subtitle of the showing of Carey Corea's art  declares it all: "The Spiritual Beauty of Abstraction".  Among the most recent works are three compositions at the opposite end of the room from the grid.  Here the effects are much more subtle and resonate with late Monet and even Robert Motherwell.  An engagement with visual art is something I share with others, and one can find inspiration here, you just have to know where to look.

Carey Corea
"The Spiritual Beauty of Abstraction"
Thru July 21, 2018
Axom Gallery, Rochester, New York

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