First Friday, September 6th

Seeing:  Carl Chiarenza
  at Axom Gallery,
  and Spectrum Gallery at Lumiere Photo

I started off on my saunter through the Hungerford Building looking at art by Amy Vena and Sara Basher who share a studio overlooking the CSX railroad yard, while the halls of the building began to swell with visitors – it was First Friday Gallery Night – and there was much to look forward to…

Walking over the bridge on Goodman Street, I found a selection of recent paintings by Doug Coffey at the Arts and Cultural Council.  Doug Coffey once owned a gallery in the town of Pittsford and it was years ago that he had last exhibited a large group of his own artwork.  The paintings now on view through this month sometimes mimic the trompe-l’oeil painters of the past, but that is not all.  There are studied landscapes, a self portrait, and many realist compositions depicting corrugated cardboard boxes and a few black crows to animate the scene.

Frank Cost’s
  “A Season of Festivals”

Down the block at Gallery r, Frank Cost has a unique showing – a series of panoramic photos printed on a roll of paper stretching around the gallery called “A Season of Festivals”.  Frank’s panoramas are composed by shooting separate “frames” and stitching them together using Photoshop to form a single wide angle image.  His plan seems to have worked, and we can visit scenes from festivals that begin in May with R.I.T.’s Imagine Festival, we can go inside the tents at The Lilac Festival, and end up in mid-September at the “Greentopia Festival”.  I particularly liked the photo made in the later part of the day with the industrial background behind the Pont de Rennes pedestrian bridge – it offered lustrous details that give the gallery goer an idea of the celebrations that draw so many visitors to the Rochester region.

Here is a wonderful video that was posted recently showing the installation for Frank cost’s show:

The photography of Carl Chiarenza is the subject of a two gallery presentation – so see both parts! – the first section at the Spectrum Gallery at Lumiere Photo, and the second section upstairs in the Axom Gallery.  This is a feast for the eyes and mind, and will reward prolonged viewing – to take in the textures and the scope of this art form.  The selection of prints on view at Spectrum Gallery reveals many sides to Carl Chiarenza’s work.  I was drawn to the depth of the prints that have a look of lithographic plates and other more painterly materials not readily associated with photography.  All of these photos on view have a rich palette for black and white prints, some of which are in the form of triptychs.  The photos are taken of seemingly modest collage materials – torn papers, fabrics, cut ribbons of metal, etc. and they become through the hands of this master a much more engaging form of visual poetry.

Carl Chiarenza at Spectrum Gallery

At the Axom Gallery the show continues with large and medium size prints that can remind a viewer of Chinese landscape painting, or cubist art and maps of various kinds – whole ranges of topographical terrain hinted at in these beautifully produced prints – a wonder!

Downstairs I finish my gallery ramble in the studios of Steve Carpenter.  Viewing the latest products from a host of artists engaged in painting from the live figure model.   I think of how stimulating the evening has been, the wonderful conversations I have had –  and how much more there is yet to reveal…

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