Saturday, August 30, 2014

Look At It This Way

Nathan Lyons photography "Made in Rochester "
in the Spectrum Gallery
at Lumiere Photo

We are lucky to have many really fine artists in our midst, here in Rochester - the "image capital of the world".  A visit to neighborhood galleries during the quiet end of August leaves a very favorable impression especially at The Spectrum Gallery at Lumiere Photo on 100 College Avenue.  I loved a new book from Nathan Lyons ( Return Your Mind To Its Upright Position ), and I went in to see the show "Made in Rochester".  How is it that Nathan Lyons can photograph a bare city wall and make it worth looking at?  He documents mural paintings in urban settings and we can revel in the incongruity of the scale of the images against the surrounding landscape.  The lighting and the clarity of these small prints in this show is just my cup of tea.

"Made in Rochester" celebrates the work of five notable photographers and is curated by one of the featured artists: William Edwards.  The summer mood is the distinct impression left by this show - and maybe that is felt through the cool footsteps in the sandy beach photographed by Pat Cain.  The color in these photos is a bit melancholy, the setting a bit lonely, but also peaceful and eternal.  The pairs of photo prints from Bruno Chalifour that feature trees and brush sometimes have a strong abstract expressionist quality to them; one in particular reminds me of a Jackson Pollock painting - just a scribble of branches and underbrush.  William Edwards takes me down a sunny path in Italy, and I can feel the warmth of the surroundings, and take in the lights and shadows in his poetic prints.

Pat Cain photography in the exhibition
"Made in Rochester"

I have written about shows for Carl Chiarenza recently, and the photos in this exhibit are equally dramatic and robust.  His pictures come from pictures - that is - his photos are often made from collages of other torn images that are all of this artist's creation -  making this self-reflexive art partly about textures in black and white.  There is remarkable restraint in this intimate world of art.

Across the hall at Galleryr, a show is just finishing called "Notables: R.I.T. connections with artists, friends, and the university."  In this selection we have artists like Bill Keyser who shows sculpture and paintings, and we have industrial designers who paint ( Toby Thompson ) and there is a fine selection of photos and drawings and much more to see in each of the rooms at Gallery r.  Norm Williams passed away a few years ago, so I was lucky to have the chance to know him, and work with him at R.I.T.
Here, some of his photos have a nostalgic quality and that is part of their appeal.  The feeling of nostalgia is something that is hard to shake in photography, maybe because I know it is a record of the past.  Jim Thomas has a few of his recent works, and I liked his drawing of what appears to be a set of rocks, or portraits of boulders.  

Bill Keyser one of the artists in 
"Notables" at Gallery r

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Calling on Corning

Rockwell Museum of Western Art
Corning, New York

The Rockwell Museum is an imposing 19th century building that once housed Corning's City Hall. 

Open the front door, and once past the wonderful gift shop full of unique items, this visitor took the stairs to see the paintings and sculpture on view, and to visit with an exceptional collection of Southwestern pottery from the Nancy and Alan Cameros Collection.  The show titled "ON FIRE"allows one to compare the pottery which is a mixture of pure form and sometimes intricate decoration which builds on the early American Indian traditions and more recent ceramists like Maria Martinez.

Nancy and Alan Cameros Collection

There is a figurative show of carving and casting by the artist Abraham Anghik Ruben called: "The World of Man, Animals, and Spirits".  Here the artist portrays comparisons of northern people and investigates a tradition of Inuit art that has correlations with Asian brush painting but visualized in three dimensions.

Amergin's Prayer: The Poem of Eire, 2013
Abraham Anghik Ruben at The Rockwell Museum of Western Art

Upstairs, in the Rockwell Museum are some paintings from the late 1800's and the collection continues all the way up through the present.  Historical figures like Thomas Moran, Albert Bierstadt ( his landscape painting here of Mount Whitney is among his finest works ) N.C.Wyeth, and Carl Rungius are memorable.  Charles M. Russell's cowboy and Indian paintings are not up to this artist's best work, while around the corner there is a room full of color etchings from Karl Bodmer that are exquisite.

Alfred Jacob Miller
"Crow Indian on Horseback", 1844
at the Rockwell Museum

A short distance away, the Corning Museum of Glass attracts huge crowds during the summer, and it is a magnet for tourists groups arriving by the busload.  You can learn so much from a visit to this museum - be prepared to spend hours there because there is so much to see and so much history to unravel.

Lalique at the Corning Museum of Glass

The modern glass section of the museum is so inspiring, yet the displays of early glass are so full of detail that I found it a bit overwhelming.  My last visit to the Corning Museum, we found our way to the hot glass shop where they demonstrate how to blow and shape molten glass.  This time we concentrated on some of the separate shows, for example they had terrific examples of glass from the studios of Lalique - known for its art nouveau and art deco forms from the early 20th century.

A history of glass in Corning

If you have time, you can trace the early traditions of glass making from the Middle East, from Venice, and so much more.  The examples that are displayed,  and the helpful wall labels all take time to peruse.  You will find yourself wanting to come back for more and catch up not only on the history of glass making, but to see the glass artistry of today, - all very eye-catching!

20th Century glass table top at
The Corning Museum of Glass,  Corning, New York

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Cool In August

A cool first Saturday in August
At the Ithaca Farmer's Market

But it is not a work of art by any one person, the Ithaca Farmer's Market is where this artist found family members shopping for just the freshest raspberries and just the right texture and taste in some green beens for dinner later that day.  You could go and gain some inspiration shopping for food, and meet friends there you haven't seen in a while.  I want to go back and buy some flowers for the table...

"Difficult Decisions"
Mixed media by Kaleb Hunkele and Nathan Lewis

In the middle of the day, I went over to the CAP Artspace at 171 The Commons in Ithaca to see some mixed media pieces by Kaleb Hunkele and Nathan Lewis.  In this small scale art there is a theme of one -liners that borrows heavily from the wit and brevity of magazine and advertising headlines from the 1950's and 60's.  This approach married to a certain droll humor ( one might find in a New Yorker cartoon ) is not going to tax your patience, but subtract the typography and what have you got?  Maybe this borrows too much from the Richard Prince playbook for my taste, though I appreciate the nostalgia for a world prior to the digital onslaught.

At CSMA ( 330 East State Street ) writer and curator Arthur Whitman has mounted a show of drawings simply titled: "DRAWN".  Figurative works, and landscapes abound, but I was caught by three large works on paper by Pamela Drix that greet you when you first walk in from the street.  I welcomed the chance to look over this body of work, also glad to see that drawings ( which are often overlooked ) by several artists who were new to me were given their chance to be considered.

The Ink Shop organized a show by
Alex Contino

Down the hall there is another show organized by The Ink Shop comprised of prints and paintings by Alex Contino ( which also borrows something from Richard Prince ).  This art shows some humor and deft handling of printmaking techniques in the works on display.  Brushy portraits are identified by single word titles that work like the "hooks" in a pop song... you keep coming back to them...

Out on a walk up Cascadilla Creek, just below the bridge at Stewart Avenue I met up with a group of totems made of the local stone, and they had a touch of Andy Goldsworthy about them.  Such an attractive location for an art show, and so unassuming... There was no one in attendance to run the gallery, and so I will have to wait and see how long the show will be up - I plan to return!

Out for a walk along Cascadilla Creek