Sunday, July 26, 2015

65th Rochester - Finger Lakes Juried Exhibition

The Memorial Art Gallery
The 65th Rochester - Finger Lakes Exhibition

Stepping out of the snaking line that leads to the entrance of the 65th Rochester - Finger Lakes Exhibition at The Memorial Art Gallery on opening night, I was greeted by the art of a friend from Geneva, New York, and that is a pair of color woodcuts by Phillia Yi.  Her work has a lyrical application of clear color in abstractions where the scale is pleasing - the art is inviting and easy to live with.

Around the corner into the show there is a mixture of surprises among the 68 works selected by this year's juror, Michael Rooks from Atlanta's High Museum of Art.  In some past years this show was so selective that few of the entrants had their works chosen for viewing, but this year we have a better representation of the artists in this region, and the only reservation I have is that there is not much in the way of sculpture or installation, though this is strong in our area.

Stephanie McMahon
of Alfred Station

Stephanie McMahon seems to be given the most space for her colorful paintings which to this observer are a mix of influences from Karin Davie and Mary Heilman to Jonathan Lasker - all in bright eye-popping hues.  I like the fact that the juror has often chosen more than one work to represent an artist, so for example there are two photos from Kathy Vajda, and two for Nick Ruth.  Nick's two semi-abstract works open the question of modern technology and start a conversation about communication and surveillance ( or are they the same? ).

Christine Sulivan
of Elmira

Christine Sullivan from Elmira, New York, has one of the poster images - a map of the Finger Lakes with superimposed forms meant to illustrate our geology here, so even though the painting is handled like an abstract, in reality it is a view in the mind's eye of the physical structures - a geomorphology as she calls it of the lake district.  The painting is a bit like camouflage, and it reveals and conceals at the same time.

Willie Osterman
of Canandaigua, New York

Visitors to this year's show can pick their favorite entry which will be announced at a later time, but for me my pick would be Willie Osterman's  photo installation of the human body ( I think it is a self portrait ) titled " I Am That " from 2014.  I love the depth of each of the boxes that depict a part of the human anatomy in a crucifer layout - but it is much more than that.  There are optical illusions and depth because there are many layers to this art.  There is a bit of an influence of the old glass plates used in photography as well as reference to contemporary artists like the Starn Twins    ( minus the tape ).

Willie Osterman is my colleague at The Rochester Institute of Technology and there he demonstrates how to make these  ambrotypes.  Other works of photography in the present show like Edgar Praus' "Store Fronts" in Jackson, Mississippi remind me of color versions of Walker Evans ( and in fact one of the store fronts in this triptych directly evokes Evans' name ).

Bill Keyser's two sculptural pieces in the middle of the show make analogies to the human hand 
( "Fetch" ) and to a dangerous fall ( " Black Ice" ).  For a more academic approach to the human form look to Tom Golambos' big figures in his oil on canvas.  This work is all about drawing and accuracy and the time it takes to shape and form a painting of two humans on bed sheets - it is very accomplished.

Kala Stein
of Springwater, NY

Kala Stein exhibits a sculptural object that is also utilitarian ( serves as a vase ) and they have been featured from time to time in the gallery shop. I like the patterning and the way these fit together.

I was happy to see that the Finger Lakes juror included two works from Barbara McPhail - both are Monotypes which is a form of printmaking, on top of which she draws directly in color pencils.  In "Where Once Was Ice" she directly calls our attention to climate change and the dire situation for polar bears, it is a bit ominous - even if these prints have pleasing colors for the most part.

John Kastner also has two pieces in the show, and I like his " I Had A Car Like That Once " of 2014. This gouache on board is obsessive in detail with a constant droll sense of humor - part R. Crumb and Peewee's Playhouse combined.

Going out the door, I really liked the big abstractions from Rebecca Aloisio from 2014.  She lives in Victor, and the mixed media approach is fresh and she is a new artist for this viewer.  All in all, I found the present iteration of the Finger Lakes Exhibition to be a happy one, and especially because The Memorial Art Gallery supports this community of artists in this manner.  Go and see for yourself - what are you waiting for?!

Friday, July 24, 2015

This Summer Harvest

Ock Hee's Gallery
in Honeoye Falls, New York
"Summer Harvest "-  July 25 to August 29, 2015

Several weeks ago I wrote about the sixth day of the sixth month, and Rochester Contemporary Art Center's 6 X 6 exhibition which has come to an end - but not before they were able to let people buy more than 2500 works of art for just $20. per work!  I can't think of another gallery that has had such support and success as they proved with this event.  A terrific fundraiser, this has become a yearly attraction that artists support, because they get to show their work, but more importantly there is a connection established between the community and an arts organization dedicated to visual art.

Rochester Contemporary Art Center's 6 X 6 exhibition

Thank you to all the volunteers that make this happen and to Gallery Director, Bleu Cease for his clear vision and energy!

Ock Hee's Gallery, "Summer Harvest"
Dennis Burns, Patricia Wilder, Kurt Feuerherm, Arthur Singer, and Alan Singer

This week I had the pleasure of hanging a group show that will open soon, at Ock Hee's Gallery in Honeoye Falls, New York, and we call the show "Summer Harvest".  Ock Hee has a deep and real interest in the visual arts, as well as the world of gardening and garden design.  At the end of the year she will close her art gallery and she will begin a new chapter, but in the meantime she is putting together some very interesting shows.

Dennis Burns has wonderful ink and brush paintings that focus on nature, whether it is a pair of cicadas or the cherry blossoms on a tree branch.  There is an interesting progression in the works presented by all the artists and you may be able to see this as a conversation between the artworks presented to the viewer.  It might be a relationship that starts with a color, or it might be a relationship that is shared by the quality of a line or the "arabesque".

Kurt Feuerherm  ( foreground )
Arthur Singer ( 1917-1990 ) 
at "Summer Harvest"

Kurt Feuerherm has shown his artwork widely in major museums, and here in Rochester recently at Warren Phillip's Fine Art and Framing, and The Rochester Contemporary Art Center ( in " Makers and Mentors " ).  In this present show Kurt has free standing sculptural objects that are modest in scale but big in personality and they are fun to contemplate.  Kurt's animals seem to have a youthful awkwardness like very young animals just getting used to being in the world.

Arthur Singer illustration from  "Life of the Hummingbird"

As birds and animals go, my father, Arthur Singer ( 1917-1990 ) is represented here by images he made for two or three of the books he published during his lifetime.  He spent over forty years on projects like the Golden Guide to Birds of North America, and other books like "Birds of the World" and "Life of the Hummingbird".  For "Summer Harvest" I picked out some choice images that are modest in scale but represent Arthur Singer's mastery of his subject.

Patricia Wilder has exhibited her work in depth here in Rochester, and in the surrounding area, and during this August you might find her shows of photography in places like the Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua.  Her photography is related to the color-field paintings of the mid-20th century.  Here in our show her work is all about color, and in one case about the scribbles of graffiti on a blue background.

My prints and paintings often are oriented towards landscape, and some are very geometric in their composition.  Some of my prints are gounded in art and mathematics, and while these two seem to be on opposite sides of the coin ( like logic and intuition ) I use both processes in my work.  I will write more about this in the coming week as I journey to Baltimore for a conference and exhibition called BRIDGES - an international affair whose focus is on Art & Mathematics.

Post Script:  By some lucky toss of the coin, we won this George Condo in a raffle at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center's 
show  6 X 6.  WOW!

Saturday, July 18, 2015


IMPACT  at 1975 Gallery
Rochester, New York

Muralism - The art of getting up on a wall and letting the audience see the process unfold.  That is part of the goal of Wall / Therapy, taking painting out of the cloistered studio environment and out into broad daylight - at a giant architectural scale.  As Wall / Therapy commences this summer in Rochester, New York, go out and find the new sites - and even if you don't get a chance to see an artist's work in progress, the paintings will remain long after the artists have cleaned up and moved on.

"Cloud Tails" painting by Nate Hodge
1975 Gallery

On a more intimate scale, the 1975 Gallery has just launched the 2015 Wall / Therapy season with an indoor show they call "IMPACT" which pairs local artists with some new found friends in Europe called Urban Nation.  IMPACT has some very talented artists from both scenes, and the works for sale range from limited edition prints and works on cardboard, to a very moving trio of paintings by Andreas Englund of a fellow that reminded me of the movie "Bird Man".

"Sotofish Purple" by Jeff Soto

I am a fan of the Wall / Therapy concept, and I even contributed to the practice of "Muralism" years ago with my class at R.I.T. - when we painted a large scale wall work in the parking garage below the Family Court building for the non-profit group CASA.  I know about the process, which first starts with getting permission from building owners, and then finding funds for the art materials.  For this year's Wall / Therapy project the curators Erich Lehman and Dr. Ian Wilson found funding success on the crowd source site Indiegogo.  You can donate to the cause if you go on the web:

At 1975 Gallery you can find rugged graffiti and very sophisticated painting right next to one another and this tells you something about the current art world - this is pluralism writ large.  Many of the works on view have a basis in descriptive representation and often an underlying narrative which you can begin to parse.

Prints for Sale
Onur and Wes21

Nate Hodge is a local artist who will be painting a mural this summer on Atlantic Avenue, and in the gallery he is represented by "Cloud Tails" - a composition that has a lot of movement and turbulence.
Another painting looks like a wrestling match in various values of grey - we will just call it an "action painting".

"Together We Fall" by Li-Hill

There are some funny prints up in the back by Onur and Wes21 - and I was engaged by the  ones called "Eat or Be Eaten" and the other called "Happy Meal "  These are photos of actual murals that were painted for locations outside of Rochester.  Unfortunately, you don't get the sense of immense scale that seeing the real thing would bring to a viewer.

Close Up by Andreas Englund

A trio of portraits may be the most moving images in this present show, and they are photo realistic paintings of an aging super-hero figure.  Andreas Englund is a well respected artist from Sweden and this is part of a very large series that deals with the aging process.

"Blooming Mind" by Brittany Williams

The artists are having fun and bringing attention to the city of Rochester.  It will become a destination to see what is going up on the walls, transforming blank walls into something that captures the imagination and gets people to talk and have a conversation about art and life.  Go and check them out this summer!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

On the Road Again

Lettuce Make You Smile
Brooktondale, New York

Up on a country road in Brooktondale, only a few minutes away from Ithaca, New York, our neighbors Mary Alice and Jonathan have this great garden with superior varieties of lettuce and so much more.  We found some time to get outside and take in a new perspective.  I think about painting outdoors, and I actually found this place many years ago when I was still a student at Cornell University.  I roamed the countryside looking for a view where I could set up my easel.  Up at the top of the hill, the birds called, and the butterflies were all around.  Fireflies come out around dusk, it is so peaceful here, just what you need!

Iris "Sultan"
watercolor by Alan Singer

Earlier, I stopped by at The Mill Art Center in Honeoye Falls to leave a few paintings for their new show featuring many local artists who like to paint outside.  I might just set up in my back yard and paint the flowers, particularly the Iris that bloom around now. At the Mill Art Center there are many artists showing their skill at painting on site and the show opens on July 9th, so stop in to see the plethora of artwork.
I took a few photos to give you a taste of what is in store.

Plein Air paintings
at The Mill Art Center
opens July 9th, 2015

Years ago, when I was a student - there weren't as many people who were attracted to painting direct from life, outdoors.  I learned about this branch of art from my father, and from some of the best artists at work, including Fairfield Porter, Edwin Dickinson, Paul Resika, and Wolf Kahn.  When I was much younger I would spend entire summers working outside, so I have a healthy respect for this kind of painting.

Cathy Chin
Plein Air paintings at 
The Mill Art Center

In this new show at The Mill Art Center,  I was attracted to the color notes by Cathy Chin, and other works by Phil Bliss and Jim Mott, artists whose work I am familiar with.  There are also many other new names, and always some surprises, so take some time to drive over to Honeoye Falls, New York.

Once you are in Honeoye Falls, if you drive down Lehigh Street, stop in to see the summer show at Ock Hee's Gallery and view the art of Dejan and Lanna Pejovic.  This show has some similarities with the exhibition that this brother and sister held at The Geisel Gallery earlier in the year.  There are some new works not in the Geisel Gallery show, and this is well worth the stop.

Dejan and Lanna Pejovic
at Ock Hee's Gallery
2 Lehigh Street
Honeoye Falls, New York

Lanna and Dejan practice a kind of mix of representational and abstract art that boils things down to particular forms, which make you aware of space, shape and texture. Vaulted branches of a forest or the inside of a cathedral may come to mind.  The same peaceful feeling of being outdoors is conveyed in this art which deserves a wider audience, so go check it out.