Tarrant Clements 
at Phillips Fine Art
thru December 22nd

Tarrant Clements has a host of new intimately scaled sculptural artworks on display at Phillips Fine Art, 248 East Avenue.  Though the gallery itself is small in comparison to other art gallery spaces in Rochester, Tarrant’s  dimensional artworks hold their own because of their often colorful aggregations of wood, wire, and even some kitchen utensils!  The exhibition titled “Celestial Songs” has part of its intent to be humorous – with one foot in folk art and one foot in formalism, while another aspect of her work can remind me of early armillary spheres    ( scientific models of planetary orbits ) and other forms of assemblage.  Tarrant Clements has a genius for invention, and all the while she demonstrates a firm ambition and a nod of respect for European Modernism.

Kurt Moyer at Axom Gallery

When I first met Kurt Moyer in his studio at the Hungerford Buillding I was surprised to see reproductions of paintings by my teachers from Cooper Union, notably Robert DeNiro, Sr. and Paul Resika.  These two artists from New York City were renegades and they formed a larger group that included painters Lennart Anderson, Leland Bell, and Paul Georges – all involved with figurative art at a time when the artworld was head-over-heels in love with abstraction( in one form or other ).  So why was Kurt Moyer ( who is a lot younger than I am ) associating himself with this earlier generation of painters?

When I was a college art student my guiding lights were artists like Poussin, Titian, Corot and Paul Cezanne – who said that he once wanted to paint “Poussin from nature”.  Kurt may be younger, but he seems to be attracted to the same magnets of the human form in natural settings as one can see from his solo exhibition titled “New Arcadia” at Axom Gallery.

That Kurt goes outdoors to paint from time to time is nothing new; artists have been painting en plein air for decades, and although the traditional landscape painter hasn’t been in the mainstream of American contemporary art doesn’t seem to stop artists from gathering their materials to see what can be accomplished.  Having models pose in natural park-like settings was a theme that was handled recently by Keith Howard in a show I reviewed a few months back at Axom Gallery, so are we seeing a trend?

Where Keith Howard’s art followed along the Adam and Eve Story, Kurt’s narrative is a bit more generalized.  This demonstrates again, what can be taken from classical art and how it can be re-modeled and seen freshly.  Looking at Kurt’s paintings reminds me of watching students swim in Nine Mile Creek along the reservoir in Ithaca.  There is no doubt that this art has a retrospective look, owes a debt to Cezanne, and looks toward a new choreography.

 The Center at High Falls Gallery

The Center at High Falls Gallery is a beautiful open space, with a schedule of shows drawn from the many artists of our diverse community.  The exhibition season is arranged around theme shows and the spirit behind this ongoing enterprise is Sally Wood Winslow.  At the moment there is a friendly show of paintings hanging in the main gallery, with many portraits by artists like Richmond Futch.  This gallery space connects with people, and it is a real asset to the Rochester area and its vibrant art scene.

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