Thursday, September 11, 2014

Season Opener

Ron Klein at Rochester Contemporary Art Center
137 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14604

Large scale installations have taken the place of graffitti, large size paintings, and sculpture in this most recent iteration of "State of the City" now open at RoCo.  Artists are making artful arrangements of materials that may only last the duration of the show - and then are never seen again (maybe the parts are re-cycled? ).  One of these aggregations is poignant and moving, while the other is purely decorative, a curiosity full of detail and found objects.

Laura Quattrocchi's "Lost Collection"

I was not prepared for the impact of the hanging articles and tags in Laura Quattrocchi's installation.  Why would all this lost ( now found ) material matter much at all?  I guess for me it is the connection to the people whose things these were, that is so moving.  Maybe I get to worrying about all the lost gloves and hats as colder weather sets in, and I connect that feeling to the people who lost things, somewhere in the course of their daily lives.

I enjoyed watching the short video in the round viewing room of a treasure hunt in the rainforest of South America.  I remember being in similar places and noticing how alien I felt among all the sharp pointy thorns on the trees, and how I had to watch out for the fire ants, the army ants, and all manner of other creatures on the ground.  There, Ron Klein finds seed pods, husks, shells and much more to take back to his studio.  These forest artifacts make it onto the wall of his large installation at RoCo and it curls around figure eights in an arabesque of cast-offs, dice and other ephemera.

Unlike the previous "State of the City" shows - this one was quiet and subtle.  The performance video from the SHUA Group was a bit hard to watch, only because all of those empty water bottles present a dilemma - what to do with all that trash!  Especially difficult to watch the bottles falling on the poor woman at the center of the screen...

Francesca LaLanne presents "Metropoliticoncious"
at Axom Gallery

Once in the door at Axom Gallery, I found small wall mounted pieces in welded metal that have been covered with super-shiny lacquer - this was a trio of Monads which the dictionary defines as indivisible units or single-cell microorganisms.  These nearly abstract shapes are the essence of the figure that is the common denominator in much of Francesca LaLanne's artwork.  Francesca is a recent grad from Rochester Institute of Technology and since leaving R.I.T. her work has gotten more colorful, even incorporating pieces of stained glass and bright paint.  There is even a pencil self-portrait on plywood that includes her figurative forms in a kind of symbolic narrative structure. One of her sculptural works in a corner has a recorded dialog going on and this figure looks like a diver with pressurized headgear.

I spoke with the artist about her work on plywood, the self portrait surrounded by other figures made of shiny metal with elevator boxes in the distance letting people off to do their thing. At the center of the painting the large figures are crowded together, maybe they are trying to crowd out the artist who is all buttoned up - call this an allegory of the artist and society.