You Have To See This




Nocturne by Pat Wilder


Once or twice a year I have the opportunity to let my students at R.I.T.    ( in the School off Art ) draw from live birds brought to my classroom by the volunteer group in Mendon called: Wild Wings.  After reading Helen Macdonald's book H is for Hawk  I had a whole new appreciation for birds of prey that have been trained to hunt and sit on a glove by their keepers.



Read this book!


Rosalie, visits my classroom at R.I.T.

Drawing from life also gives an artist    ( whether you are a student or not )  - a first hand experience of nature, comprehending all the details, and taking into account the "personality" of the bird itself.
So the artist observes a bird and is observed in turn.  I also have to give credit to the volunteers like Deb  -seen here with Luna, a Screech Owl, because these folks really bond with the feathered creatures in their care.


Wild Wings volunteers

In Rochester this week there are openings  for exhibitions that you have to see.   At the top of this post you can find a deep blue evening sky in Pat Wilder's "Nocturne".  This is just one of a set of photographs she presents at the 1570 Gallery on East Avenue - called "elements" , now through December 8, 2019.  This show of her early work is also dedicated to a kind of color  printing process called "Ilfochrome" that Pat Wilder used in the studio to make lustrous colors come alive.  Also called: "Cibachrome" ,  and due to the influx of digital prints - this process is no longer available!


"Wet Ferns" by Pat Wilder at 1570 Gallery, East Avenue, Rochester, NY

I think that Pat Wilder's color work is a must see.. she has a reductionist aesthetic that really lets her subjects speak for themselves.  Her photo called: "Wet Ferns" also reminds me of the color photos by Eliot Porter, an attractive approach to the details found out in the landscape.  Sometimes the subject is very suggestive as in the photo called "Curvature"  ( is it a body or a hillside? ).  Pat Wilder travels to see what she can see, and sometime her gaze is fixed upon the ephemeral - perhaps parts of posters plastered up on a wall ( see below )...


Pat Wilder presents: " elements" at 1570 Gallery, Rochester,  New York

Pat Wilder remarks in her handy catalog that a primary influence on her work is the abstract expressionist movement because of these artist's generous use of bold color, space lines, and compositional relationships and you can really see that in the photos below:



"elements" by Pat Wilder at 1570 Gallery


I am always excited to see students of ours from R.I.T. having their first shows and really taking off.  That is the case with Victoria Savka in her show called: "Not Your Average Menagerie" that just opened at the Geisel Gallery.  Her artwork is a blend of drawing, printmaking and collage.  Her artwork has a focus on animals, mainly farm creatures like cows and sheep and she adds to this cut and torn papers and bold gestures of pure color.  Each image tells a story.


"Not Your Average Menagerie" by Victoria Savka
at 
Geisel Gallery, Rochester, NY


Victoria Savka in her prints and drawings makes it all look easy.  Her work: "Apricot Valley Indian Runner Ducks" - a drypoint monoprint has splotches of orange paper on top of the drawings of a menagerie of running birds - you can just hear them on the move...


"Apricot Valley Indian Runner Ducks"
by
Victoria Savka

I spoke with Victoria on the night of the opening and said that her artwork would make a terrific book project.  Children and adults would enjoy these pieces, and she could just write a few words to support each image.  Also at the opening I was able to thank Jean Geisel for whom this gallery is named for her work in establishing a space for up-and-coming artists like Victoria to get her work out in front of an audience.   This kind of positive recognition for artistic achievement is necessary in this environment where often  creative people can be overlooked....  Thank you for all you have done - Jean Geisel!



Jean Geisel at left and Victoria Savka on right
at Geisel Gallery in downtown Rochester, New York
November 7,  2019












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Fall: Fancy That




Glorious Fall Weather in Ithaca, New York


A drive along Route 89 in the Finger Lakes reveals the height of fall colors and an opportunity for me to hit the Art Trail.  It's a glorious day in Ithaca, and I am here to attend Gallery Night and the opening of a group show called: "20/20 Hindsight" at the Ink Shop on State Street.  The Ink Shop is a gallery and a printmaking studio and they celebrate twenty years involved in the arts community with their dedication to an art form that is very much alive.


Craig Mains and his print about a cluster of fracking wells

I talked with printmaker and Ink Shop member Craig Mains about the art on the gallery walls and about plans for spreading the word about the Ink Shop and I found out that they are planning a show that will open in France for Ink Shop members.  Craig also said that a show of Japanese prints from the Tokyo University of Fine Art just ended at their gallery, so they are building international connections.


etching by Zevi Blum  ( 1933 - 2011 )

The show was opening at the Ink Shop and as I came in the door I recognized a piece by one of my old teachers when I was a student at Cornell University ( see above )  and that was by Zevi Blum.  Over the years I have met many of the folks associated with the Ink Shop and recognize their artwork.  Next to Craig Mains print I saw one by Pamela Drix that seemingly has parts of postage stamps interspersed with renderings of drilling rigs - on a large scale piece that is very dramatic.



Print by Pamela Drix

"20/20 Hindsight" is a group effort and there are posters, and prints that exhibit a broad range of techniques and approaches to making prints from large woodcuts to artist's books and much more. My friend Kumi Korf has some abstract images and there is a strong figurative work by Kay Walkingstick in the present show.


Print by Kay Walkingstick at The Ink Shop
Ithaca, New York


The following day I drove up to Clifton Springs to see what was happening at Main Street Arts and chat with Brad Butler who is the Director of the gallery.  Brad was coming up to my class at R.I.T.  to do a presentation to my students about his own artwork, and about his job as the Director of a contemporary art gallery.  In the main floor of the gallery there is now a show of another printmaker from Ithaca, and that is Sylvia Taylor.  Her show is called: "The Time Between the Dog and the Wolf" and it will be up through November 15th.  Her show includes relief prints, paintings and drawings that remind me of children's stories and her images could jump right out of a book for young readers.


A work by Sylvia Taylor: "Flying Fish"

Sylvia's subject matter revolves around animals which are often pictured in groups that can become more texture and pattern.  In this show there is one wall that has a mass of small portraits on red that hang together like a family and all their relatives.



Animal portraits by Sylvia Taylor
at Main Street Arts, Clifton Springs, New York




Upstairs at Main Street Arts there is a landscape show called Ontario Pathways, and there I found a fine painting by my colleague Bill Finewood that shows the shimmering surface of a stream found along the trail.  Bill really took his time rendering the reflections and the colors of the trees as they trend towards autumn.  Each one of the artists took to the trail to find their own way with subject matter.  It is not only what you see that is important, but how you see it, how you compose it and make it your own.


Painting by Bill Finewood
in the Ontario Pathways exhibition
ar
Main Street Arts


Back home once again, I found that men were moving the giant Albert Paley sculpture that had been a feature outside my Hungerford Building art studio.  The Hungerford had the benefit of hosting this colorful steel sculpture for a while now, and I hope that there will soon be a replacement for this work which really lent some character to this old factory building.


Albert Paley is on the move... from the Hungerford Building to Europe!











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Here’s The Scoop On Art Writing




In Rochester:
RoCo Director, Bleu Cease introduces the Art Writers
Thursday, October 24, 2019
photo by Alan Singer


A dilemma:  The current capitalist system allows payments for goods and services as a way of making a living, and artists and other creative types ( like writers ) have to accept this fact and learn to deal with it.  Just try to find a market for what you like to do!

In past years I was paid to write about art by editors of magazines and other publishers - but that was long ago.  Now I write because I am free to do so,  and this is another way of saying that I self-support my  creative impulse.

Another dilemma:  At R.I.T. when I teach, I often bring with me reference books to share with my class, but my students rarely show the slightest interest - preferring just to google it. If you once made a living writing for a newspaper or publishing a book once in a while, it is getting much harder to sell your product to the publishers and to your intended audience,  hence some publishers go out of business.

Where there is no visible means of support, is there a way forward for creative folks?  We will find out.....

At Rochester Contemporary Art Center this past Thursday evening I attended a panel discussion on the current state of Art Writing.  In the photo above Bleu Cease introduced the invited speakers who are from left to right: Colin Dabkowski, Karen vanMeenen, Rebecca Rafferty, Robin L. Flanigan, and Sarah Webb.

The stage was set and each panelist had a few minutes to share their background stories and bring us up-to-date on what was happening in the media.  We learned from Colin that he recently left the newspaper business in Buffalo after years as an art critic who was re-assigned to the sports desk.  From Karen we heard the story that afterimage would be published now by the University of California under her leadership.  Rebecca Rafferty told the audience that CITY Newspaper has been acquired by WXXI and that hopefully arts coverage would continue to flourish.  Robin L. Flanigan spoke about how difficult it has become to pitch a story related to the visual arts at the Democrat & Chronicle, and Sarah had some reflections on "Current Seen" - a biennial show presented by many small venues in Rochester that is currently drawing attention.

Our cultural scene needs art writers to inform a public about what is happening and why, especially now when the field of visual art is so diverse.

Then there was the question from the audience about whether the art writer provides criticism or is it just promotion?  Writing about art in a way is like translation, one is trying to put into words - something that is primarily a visual experience, and it is not that easy!


A Must Read!  new collection by Peter Schjeldahl

Along those lines a new collection from the critic Peter Schjeldahl would be a must read for aspiring art writers...not that you have to agree with every opinion you come across in this book.  I just think his way with language, the poetry of it, is worth the price of admission.  From my experience we have gone through many seasons of reading books by art writers.  When I was in grad school I had the opportunity to sit down at the dinner table with Clement Greenberg and Friedl Dzubas in Ithaca, years ago.  I listened as the eminent critic Greenberg disparaged so many artists that it made me a very nervous guest at the table.  I learned a  important lesson in that moment to not rule out so many paths to take.  Later, as an art teacher at R.I.T. my practice is to leave the doors open and not close them down, and the practice of being an artist is not such an exclusive club as Greenberg had once imagined. 

In the face of a dilemma the creative person will be just that - creative.  You have to go with what works, and if you select this direction for your life, stay with it!  You are in good company....

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Here’s The Scoop On Art Writing




In Rochester:
RoCo Director, Bleu Cease introduces the Art Writers
Thursday, October 24, 2019
photo by Alan Singer


A dilemma:  The current capitalist system allows payments for goods and services as a way of making a living, and artists and other creative types ( like writers ) have to accept this fact and learn to deal with it.  Just try to find a market for what you like to do!

In past years I was paid to write about art by editors of magazines and other publishers - but that was long ago.  Now I write because I am free to do so,  and this is another way of saying that I self-support my  creative impulse.

Another dilemma:  At R.I.T. when I teach, I often bring with me reference books to share with my class, but my students rarely show the slightest interest - preferring just to google it. If you once made a living writing for a newspaper or publishing a book once in a while, it is getting much harder to sell your product to the publishers and to your intended audience,  hence some publishers go out of business.

Where there is no visible means of support, is there a way forward for creative folks?  We will find out.....

At Rochester Contemporary Art Center this past Thursday evening I attended a panel discussion on the current state of Art Writing.  In the photo above Bleu Cease introduced the invited speakers who are from left to right: Colin Dabkowski, Karen vanMeenen, Rebecca Rafferty, Robin L. Flanigan, and Sarah Webb.

The stage was set and each panelist had a few minutes to share their background stories and bring us up-to-date on what was happening in the media.  We learned from Colin that he recently left the newspaper business in Buffalo after years as an art critic who was re-assigned to the sports desk.  From Karen we heard the story that afterimage would be published now by the University of California under her leadership.  Rebecca Rafferty told the audience that CITY Newspaper has been acquired by WXXI and that hopefully arts coverage would continue to flourish.  Robin L. Flanigan spoke about how difficult it has become to pitch a story related to the visual arts at the Democrat & Chronicle, and Sarah had some reflections on "Current Seen" - a biennial show presented by many small venues in Rochester that is currently drawing attention.

Our cultural scene needs art writers to inform a public about what is happening and why, especially now when the field of visual art is so diverse.

Then there was the question from the audience about whether the art writer provides criticism or is it just promotion?  Writing about art in a way is like translation, one is trying to put into words - something that is primarily a visual experience, and it is not that easy!


A Must Read!  new collection by Peter Schjeldahl

Along those lines a new collection from the critic Peter Schjeldahl would be a must read for aspiring art writers...not that you have to agree with every opinion you come across in this book.  I just think his way with language, the poetry of it, is worth the price of admission.  From my experience we have gone through many seasons of reading books by art writers.  When I was in grad school I had the opportunity to sit down at the dinner table with Clement Greenberg and Friedl Dzubas in Ithaca, years ago.  I listened as the eminent critic Greenberg disparaged so many artists that it made me a very nervous guest at the table.  I learned a  important lesson in that moment to not rule out so many paths to take.  Later, as an art teacher at R.I.T. my practice is to leave the doors open and not close them down, and the practice of being an artist is not such an exclusive club as Greenberg had once imagined. 

In the face of a dilemma the creative person will be just that - creative.  You have to go with what works, and if you select this direction for your life, stay with it!  You are in good company....

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Seasoned Pros in Autumn




Entrance to The Memorial Art Gallery
500 University Ave.,  Rochester,  New York

On Sunday, I was in attendance for an interesting interview after the opening of the Alphonse Mucha ( 1860 -1939 ) exhibition at The Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York.  I had noticed when I was at the member's preview that some of the Mucha images on view came from the private collection of Frances and Albert Paley.  Up to that moment it had not occurred to me that the Paleys were collectors of Art Nouveau.  Getting back to the interview - it was conducted by R.Roger Remington with Albert Paley on stage in the MAG Auditorium.  Both Albert and Roger have a long association with R.I.T. ( Roger has been with R.I.T. for over fifty years! ) and I gathered during the stage presentation that this is not the first time that Roger has interviewed Albert.



R. Roger Remington on left, and Albert Paley on right
at the Alphonse Mucha exhibition held at The Memorial Art Gallery


Art Nouveau artist/genius:   Alphonse Mucha

R. Roger Remington is a Professor, a graphic design historian and printmaker who has a deep connection to leaders in the field of design such as the late Massimo Vignelli.  Roger is responsible for the Vignelli Design Center at R.I.T. which holds a vast archive of design work going back through the mid-20th Century.  Roger is also a noted author, and had some interesting questions to ask Albert Paley about his relationship to Art Nouveau, and it suddenly dawns on me that certain Paley sculptures have a wavy line of sorts that could be a look back to that prior era.



Albert Paley sculpture at R.I.T.

Just at this moment there are several shows of artwork from seasoned professionals that have contributed SO MUCH to our experience of the arts here in Rochester. As far as Albert Paley is concerned,  I don't think that our experience of Rochester would be nearly the same without his gates and towering sculpture and the like.  Along with Albert and Roger Remington we now have a new exhibition at the R.I.T. University Gallery  of the paintings and sculpture of William ( "Bill") Keyser.



Paintings and Sculpture by William  "Bill" Keyser 2009-2019
at University Gallery
Rochester Institute of Technology


Bill Keyser  also has had a long association with R.I.T. having taught there in the School for American Craft and later as a student earning a Master's degree in painting in the School of Art.  I had the pleasure of working with Bill on his MFA and had the opportunity to watch his work unfold from the more practical applied art of making furniture to the more experimental work that he is now involved with.


Laminated wood sculpture "Little Pretzel" by William Keyser

Mr. Keyser seems to have an insatiable taste for experiments in his art that range from the colorful abstract paintings he makes to the equally engaging sculptures that  we find in this large and impressive show.


William Keyser's painting called; "Romulus and Remus"

As autumn begins to roll in I also have had the chance to take in a show of three women who have been making really interesting prints for decades, and this is all brought out to the public in their exhibition now ending a long run in the Geisel Gallery in downtown Rochester.  The emphasis is on a vision of a landscape that is evocative, poetic, and enigmatic - all at the same time.  There is striking color - like the encaustic work that greets a visitor at the entrance to the show by Constance Mauro.



At the Geisel Gallery:
Art by g.a.Sheller, Constance Mauro, and Elizabeth Durand now thru October 30th, 2019


"Delta Blues" by Constance Mauro

So, take the voyage "From Here to There" and check out the roomful of artwork - many multi-media prints and works on paper by these three artists who have had a long friendship and have really contributed to our community!  Fine Works to see, so check it out!


Print by Elizabeth Durand
at 
The Geisel Gallery
Rochester, New York



.




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Art Workers



October Light by Alan Singer


This week in The New York Times, critic Michael Kimmelman remarked about the expansion of The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, that the new layout allows the curators to strike a new path by re-hanging the art to show the many diverse histories that visitors can see if they choose.  Modern art is and has been much more diverse than has been expressed by our cultural institutions especially because they had so much invested in telling a story about a certain straight line ( from Impressionism thru Modernism ) - which left out loads of art workers from around the globe.


New book by artist and writer John Seed

Sometimes we get an inside story of that change of opinion, for how things should work.  I read recently a new book by John Seed who comments about this in "My Art World".  He has been published in the Huffington Post, and here in his new book he tells a story that begins on the west coast, and he brings us into contact with Bay area painters like Richard Diebenkorn, Nathan Oliveira, Joan Brown and art dealer Larry Gagosian, to name a few.  John Seed writes a short chapter on Robert DeNiro, Sr. ( who I knew in New York City ) - and DeNiro's advice to John when he was a young artist was this: "Don't worry about whether your work looks like anyone else's....simply ask yourself as you work --is it any good?



"Ghost Ranch" by Beverly Rafferty
at Whitman Works Company

The implication is that we sometimes set up goals in artwork that cater to other people's opinions when we should really steer ourselves by our own compass.  By doing this - you risk a lot,  but stay true to yourself earning strength by maintaining your integrity.  I got that feeling from looking at the paintings from one of our R.I.T. students:  Beverly Rafferty who has a new show of landscape paintings she calls "The Romance of Western Vistas, or How The West Was One".




That her paintings have an attractive quality not only has to do with the view but also how that vista is conceived and executed.  In particular, I liked one of her works ( "Ghost Ranch") that called to mind the artist Marsden Hartley.  In Beverly Rafferty's painting there is a stony ledge and a foreground of fan shaped marks that blend and blur - which is kind of idiosyncratic.


Painter, Beverly Rafferty at Whitman Works on Penfield Road

I sometimes remind my students that when painting most artists don't set out to create a photo realist work - they really try to grapple with how to indicate what they see in front of them.  Often it is the idiosyncrasy - that small special thing that happens in your work that gives it character - so be aware and don't remove it!


"State of the City" at RoCo

In the Flower City, we have had many wonderful events so far this month including "Current Seen" which is now on through November 17th, and last night was the member's preview at The Memorial Art Gallery of an exhibition of a collection of art by Alphonse Mucha.  I found this show to be quite a revelation because I knew so little about this artist and his work as a graphic designer, printmaker and artist.


Memorial Art Gallery presents Alphonse Mucha

During the 1960s his work became famous ( once again ) because of a connection that was made between his art nouveau vision, and the hippies in San Francisco who were busy rolling their own joints.  That drugs and the visions they induced were part of the mix here may cloud my memory, and I must admit that the art part of what Alphonse Mucha created was lost for a time, so I am glad that we have this chance to re-examine his life and his prolific outpouring of artistic creation.



Alphonse Mucha poster design

Now, we get a chance to study at length what this artist has brought to the world back when he was in his prime at the beginning of the 20th century.  He was in demand for his art and illustration especially for poster designs.  What we find in his work is a glorified vision of nature, often with a young model portrayed again and again.  The story being told is not too different than it is now - a poster needs to get your attention and make the sale!

I will go back to study the effect of each work in the show.  Opening night was so busy that I need some time to let it all soak in!


Alphonse Mucha sculptural portrait
at The Memorial Art Gallery
Rochester, New York











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Scene One, Take Two



Sticky Memo Ball
at 
RIT CITY Art Space
part of  "Current Seen"


By design, I think about how things look, what they mean, and how they work.  Recently, I read about all of the tons of plastic that have ended up in the world's oceans, and how that plastic gets pulverized - turning into nearly microscopic chunks that become part of the seafood we eat.  If we are what we eat, than how are we to deal with what we may become - given this plastic scenario..?  I don't know why I have to think about these things now, but here I am in RIT's new CITY Art Space looking at wonderful design work on exhibition here and hoping that some of our students at R.I.T. will start to deal with this plastics crisis!



"Blockitecture" by James Paulius

"Blockitecture"  takes a children's toy and revitalizes the concept of urban planning by treating it as a strategy, recognizing the need to reconfigure our cities - one "block" at a time.   These painted wooden blocks can be stacked and easily set up to represent new ideas, dealing with the changing needs of towns and cities.  This is just one part of a large exhibition space along with "Best Foot Forward" curated by Cecily Culver that you will find opposite the Liberty Pole in the center of Rochester, New York.

Now it is getting dark and I am walking towards East Avenue and I passed another exhibit that is part of "Current Seen" at 245 East Main.  This interactive video display is from W. Michele Harris and she calls it: " In Their Wake" - drawing attention to African-Americans, some of whom worked on the Underground Railroad in the 19th century, and then made their way up to Rochester.  Generations later we are still dealing with racial division and inequality that this exhibition highlights.



Installation "Observation Towers" by Heather Swenson
just east of RoCo

A sculptural installation from Heather Swenson is just outside of Rochester Contemporary Art Center.  I am used to seeing Heather Swenson as a printmaker, so this is a bit of a departure that allows her to bring her art out into a public space.  When I look at these "towers"  they have a surreal presence and I think of some science fiction fantasy, as well as some of Nick Ruth's recent art that we featured in the "Process & Purpose show that I curated.  How do these constructions relate to Ms. Swenson's work as a printmaker?  I can't wait to ask her that question..


Rochester Contemporary 
137 East Avenue, Rochester, NY
"Current Seen"

Inside RoCo, the joint is jumping!  I turn to look and see this set of pictograms developed by Michael Goldman.  I get into a conversation with him and about his art - because years ago ( before I came to Rochester ) I actually designed some of these same signs with my brother Paul Singer - and now you see our pictograms all across the country!  I had something in common with Michael Goldman, and I enjoyed seeing how he dealt with some of our surroundings here, how he digests things we see and know ( like the Garbage Plate ) and then come up with a memorable image.


Michael Goldman at RoCo
"State of the City"

In Rochester we have to develop strategies that can bring people together - and the visual arts can do that without being heavy handed.  We could hope that the people who are portrayed by Richmond Futch Jr. in his drawings on view at RoCo, can come and see their portraits and stay a while to see other aspects of "State of the City".  That there are many folks in our midst who are disadvantaged should not come as a surprise, but what are we doing about it?  The portraits along the wall leave you with the impression that there are many voices of the dispossessed longing to be seen and heard, and they have stories to tell...Thanks for these many portraits and the hopeful feelings that they bestow.


Portrait artist: Richmond Futch Jr. 
at RoCo

I have only scratched the surface of "Current Seen" , so in my next post I will continue on around and see what's up....





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One Planet, One People




"Current Seen"
Rochester, New York
October 4, -- November 17, 2019


Betye Saar gave a long interview to the New York Times recently with art writer Holland Cotter, and this gem about politics caught my eye: "One Planet, One People".  This could be a bumper sticker or a chant at a rally.  In any case, this artist in her way, gave me a moment of hope in this climate of division and distrust.

You may want or need to turn your attention toward a more positive development in our area - so feel free to dig deeply into "Current Seen" an ambitious new Biennial for the visual arts that opened this past Friday here in Rochester.  I was listening to a radio broadcast when Bleu Cease, the director at RoCo, said that this was not a "festival", but it certainly seemed like one - when I went around on opening night!



30 Years of
FUA  Krew
at
Joy Gallery, 498 West Main Street, Rochester, NY

Beginning on West Main Street, I walked into the Joy Gallery to find: FROM UP ABOVE "30 Years of FUA Krew" which was spearheaded by Erich Lehman of 1975 Gallery fame.  Established as a group in the late 1980s, FUA represents a sector of Rochester devoted to graffiti arts.
Erich Lehman connects with this group in this rich selection of artworks some of which originated in the subway systems and recently presented in the hallway of The Memorial Art Gallery here in town ( see my post from this past June called: Exhibition Hours ).


FUA means What?
"From Up Above"

Graffiti has spread far and wide - wherever young artists have the space and the inclination to make their tags, and leave their mark.  At the Joy Gallery, documentary photos supplement the group showing of more than 22 artists with many works offered for sale. Immerse yourself in this experience and you begin to see how deep into our culture this art scene has become.


Zombie by Bile
at 
Joy Gallery

I think that the concept of Wall/Therapy arose out of this graffiti movement here in town, maybe by giving the artists a greater legitimacy.  In any case, in this show the  recognition is welcome for these artists whose work was considered underground for a long while.


FUA  Krew at Joy Gallery

For me, it was time to move on down the road to see what was new at the RIT CITY Art Space, and it was alive!  The shows called: "Best Foot Forward" and  "Blockitecture" provide some sense of how arts and industry may develop a mutually beneficial relationship.  There on the walls of this gallery there is evidence that this is not just an academic exercise, here designers and artists put their thinking  caps on and develop things that will make our world a better place.



RIT CITY Art Space
Liberty Pole Plaza
Rochester, NY

I will return to my story about "Current Seen" in my next post too.  For the moment, I want to see more of what is going on in this Biennial, and then share my views.  Meanwhile, I can take a look at the little guidebook that was published along with the shows, and  spend some time on the website that acts as a guide to the locations for all the small venues.


Liberty Pole Plaza, Rochester, NY

"Current Seen" has been in the works for a while, and the timing couldn't be better -as an alternative to the usual schedule of art shows that come and go.  That there is a common structure that links the visual arts in this "image city" to the people who would and should support it is IMPORTANT!  I remember a time, talking with Ned Corman who dreamt up the Rochester Jazz Festival - and he told me that he was really interested in having an art and music affair, similar to what they produce in places like Aspen, Colorado.  Getting together a structure where both kinds of art would be offered seemed like a daunting prospect - how would you raise money for such a thing? - but you can see that the Jazz Festival has really taken off while the visual arts until now have lagged behind.  Maybe now that their is a lot more liveliness in the city center, the visual arts will begin to find a new and larger audience.  I plan to help when and where I can;  so show your support by being engaged too!







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Summer Flavors




Portrait by Alan Singer, 2019


Wash your face, then get downstairs ready for a party!  

We gather together to celebrate a new season coming, and the summer that is quickly departing...  We had a great time this July - ( our second grand-child is born! ) and then there were wonderful exhibitions I have written about on this blog including my show called: "Process & Purpose".  The shows keep coming, and we await the collective ones known as "Current Seen" opening soon on October 4th - here in Rochester. 


Todd Jokl, the new Dean of College of Art & Design on right
talks with gallery visitors at R.I.T.

Before we go any further, I want to urge all of my readers to support the arts in any way you can, and most importantly, get out the door and see the real thing!  Go to the gallery, the museum, the artist talk and don't depend solely on those little hand-held devices better known as your smart phones!



North by NUUK
Photography by Denis Defibaugh

My job as a Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology allows me to partake of shows mounted by the University Gallery, here on the campus in Booth Building 7a.  Come and see the wonderful photography of Denis Defibaugh in his show titled: "North by NUUK" Greenland after Rockwell Kent.  Rockwell Kent you will recall is an artist in the 20th century who went to Greenland to study  and paint portraits and memorable landscapes, and now Denis follows in his footsteps, but takes his camera to record this documentary.  This is not only a show but there will be a book forthcoming from RIT Press this November.



Hearty Greenlanders are the subject of 
Denis Defibaugh's documentary
North by NUUK

Denis travelled to Greenland to make this portfolio of color photos and was supported by an award from the National Science Foundation.  We see a timeless horizon, a continent of ice that has lately been in the news,  where a hearty breed of human beings do their best to support themselves and their families.  We get an inside look at their lives, and their environment.



Photo by Denis Defibaugh of Iceberg off the coast of Greenland


Fishing for a living in the waters around Greenland
Photo by Denis Defibaugh

While you are on the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology, check out the faculty show which has also just opened.  The show is in two parts, and there is an exhibition open in the Bevier Gallery, and the Harris Gallery on the third floor of the Gannett Building ( 7b ).  In this new faculty show there are many wonderful works on view.  I found my office mate - Luvon Sheppard and his painting "Profiling" to  be very engaging, and also a very complex work by Don Arday, which has a spooky presence.  Check it out!


Painting by Luvon Sheppard


Digital art by Don Arday
at Rochester Institute of Technology
"Faculty Show"










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Summer Summary




Process & Purpose 
at RIT City Art Space
Rochester, New York


This has been a very rewarding summer season in many ways.  The visual arts in our area undergoes a process of renewal with the success of exhibitions like the one I have curated that has just ended a run here in Rochester at the new RIT City Art Space.  It is a beautiful site for a show, and I was pleased  to be able to present the prints of eight artists and we had many visitors who were new to the  gallery, including a troop of the docents who work at The Memorial Art Gallery.  



66th Finger Lakes Exhibition at The MAG

Speaking of The Memorial Art Gallery, I returned to see the 66th Finger Lakes Exhibition more than once and again found many interesting pieces in the show, like works by my colleague Andy Buck from RIT, and a surprising range of paintings, prints and sculpture.



Dale Inglett , "Sea of Melting Ice" 2017

Artists are dealing with contemporary issues, that may not seem so unusual - and many of these issues ( like climate change ) are not going away.  This Finger Lakes Exhibition was one of the most diverse shows I have seen in many years of visiting this museum.  The range of techniques, and the high quality of the art on view is a testament to the professional level of the artists chosen, and the fact that there is no dominating style or "ism" featured.



Sarah C. Rutherford's portraits
from her series "Her Voice Carries"

I am also glad to see that there are some new works on view in the galleries including a special entry hall filled with works by the artist Sam Gilliam, that I wrote about in my last post.  There is real value  given to introducing artists that the public should be made more aware of.  That is also part of my job here, and one of the reasons why I write this blog, there just isn't the kind of reporting going on in our major media, especially in print, that can help the public comprehend what is happening in our visual culture.

In the near future I plan to take some time to engage with a project called: "Current Seen".  the Rochester Contemporary Art Center will be promoting this with other venues hosting curated shows of local and national talent, so watch this space!

With every turn of the season, there is unfortunate loss as well, as we pay our respects to Jacque Clements ( 1925-2019 ) who passed away this month after suffering a stroke.  Jacque was a friend and a respected teacher and artist who painted and sculpted for years, yet many people would not know his work.



Sculpture by Jacque Clements

At the Hungerford Building, there was a fine - though small - memorial for Jacque that featured his art - most of which was new to me.  I hope in the future to be able to see more of what he made during his lifetime as a working artist.  We are grateful to Warren Phillips for staging this event, and giving us some insight into this man's pursuit of his dreams.



Abstract painting by Jacque Clements

The passing of a friend reminds us of our own mortality, so make the most of what you have got!

In Jacque's case he shied away from publicity, and the urge to promote his own work.  With the amount of competition for the attention of a public, artists really have their work cut out for them.  You have to make all of your efforts count, and I am thinking about this as I begin to prepare for the new season.  I am already planning ( in my mind ) exhibitions for the year 2020!  I am also looking forward to shows that are coming up including the major one I mentioned before called: "Current Seen" which already has its own website.  Another show that just opened at Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs is called: "From The Dirt To The Skies" that features five artists, including Chad Grohman     ( who was a student of mine at R.I.T. ) and Lanna Pejovic who has taught for many years  also at R.I.T.


In Clifton Springs, New York
go out to see the new show at Main Street Arts
Opened August 24th - thru October 4th, 2019








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