Saturday, October 10, 2015

All Hallows Eve

Here Lies 1975
89 Charlotte Street, Rochester, NY

Here Lies..1975... the gallery closes this chapter of its existence with this new show at 89 Charlotte Street across from what remains of the Inner Loop.  Erich Lehman and his guest artists celebrate the season with this summary show of modest sized artworks, and when I visited it toward the end of the first week, many of the pieces had been sold.  Erich was on the radio the day before talking with Evan Dawson and his guests about a quandary facing Rochester, which is sometimes referred to as Image City - this city steeped in the arts is having a difficult time finding people who can step up to support the visual artists who keep these traditions alive.

"So We Beat On" by Sarah Rutherford
was among the works sold from the 1975 Gallery show "Here Lies"

I am sure that Rochester is not alone in this predicament.  Rochester does have a very lively arts scene and there are more things on view on a regular basis than ever before, yet galleries close and their traffic ebbs and flows.  There is an appreciation for the arts, but it is fragmented.  Erich had a terrific idea with 1975 Gallery - to have a place that had a special eye towards garnering a young audience and the prices for pieces in the gallery reflected the fact that this younger demographic has less disposable income to spend on works of art.  His was a labor of love and devotion, and I am sure that it will prove to be an inspiration to others who share his vision.

It takes a while for the visual arts to sort out what will be valuable, and as the saying goes, " You don't miss your water, 'til the well runs dry".  With the Spectrum Gallery at Lumiere Photo now closed, and the Ock Hee Gallery in Honeoye Falls set to close in December, and with this closing of 1975, we are seeing a trend.  Will there be more traffic going to Anderson Alley, to the Memorial Art Gallery? to the Hungerford Building?  Probably.  But, how will artists survive in this new climate?

David Jung at The Mercer Gallery
Monroe Community College

Some galleries are operated under the auspices of the academic institutions, and I think of the University Gallery which is part of The Vignelli Center at R.I.T., and the Mercer Gallery at MCC.  The Mercer Gallery with the help of Kathy Farrell has been bringing a wide variety of visual arts to our community for almost thirty years, and this month the show is devoted to artworks by notable alumni
of MCC.

The high polish resin on birch plywood paintings by David Jung grab your attention and their method and subject matter recall advertising from forty years ago, as well as the wavy lines of a television monitor.  A toy giraffe is presented in each one of the encaustic paintings by Jack Hellaby, and I have to say that I am mystified by the painting with the hypodermic needles.  What are we to infer from this image?  Are toy giraffes an addiction?  Or an inoculation?  This alumni show is a bit of a curiosity cabinet especially with the selections by the artist Matte.

Matte  at Mercer Gallery on the campus of MCC

Keep an eye out for interesting shows at the venues like the Mercer Gallery, whose show of works by Alumni runs through to November 6, 2015.  It will be worth you while to go and see the art and support the galleries in any way you can.

Mercer Gallery at Monroe Community College