Sunday, June 30, 2019

Futures Looking Bright

Curator, Rick Muto at the University Gallery
Campus of Rochester Institute of Technology
"Renewable Futures"
thru August 10, 2019

Rick Muto. He is smiling now because his job is almost complete.  The last few artworks will go up on the wall and the labels will be attached and then in a few hours crowds will arrive for " Renewable Futures".  We are in the University Gallery on the campus of Rochester Institute of Technology and the new exhibition opens with over a hundred works of art created by art students who have graduated from RIT during the 1960s and have then gone on to careers in the arts.  Some, but not all of these talented people became teachers - in all there are eighteen creative people being honored in this new show.  One of them, Paul Garland ( below ) was giving an artist talk at the Axom Gallery recently, and I had a chance to go and hear what he had to say about the development of his art.

Paul Garland speaks at Axom Gallery

Some of the original inspiration for Paul Garland stems from landscape art and this can be seen directly in a large painting of his that was on view in the University Gallery show that just opened.
Interesting to hear Paul Garland comment on why so many of his compositions are divided in half - just to see what happens!  How many artists would be willing to saw their work in half and then deal with the results!

Paul Garland composition at University Gallery

Walk in to the University Gallery to see a diverse collection of artworks, sculpture and assemblage. These eighteen artists -- many of whom have been friends for  almost fifty years make up a core of creativity and they have brought so much to the Rochester region.  A few, like Judd and Julie Williams have passed away, so it is touching to be reminded of their accomplishments.  I have met many of these folks and have enjoyed their artwork in numerous shows.  I share an office with Luvon Sheppard who is one of the honorees here being celebrated in this exhibition.  Kudos to Luvon!

Walls of art, part of "Renewable Futures"

Lawrence "Judd" Williams ( 1934-2018 )

Each one of the eighteen artists has had some influence on the younger generation coming up.  When you survey this show you realize that there is not set direction that these artists have taken.  Portraits are on view, abstracts, collage, carved and assembled and welded sculpture is on hand.  There is no governing style to these diverse artworks - it is all the energy of the 1960s that is in the spotlight. During the opening I had a chance to talk with several of the artists including Tarrant Clements ( below ) who is fascinating as an artist with a particular brand of sophisticated humor that she brings to her work.

Tarrant Clements

One of the many artworks on view by John Kastner addresses a current topic,  and that is the prevalence of plastic waste products  that he finds when out and about.  His large assemblage comes plugged in with flashing lights and other warning signs - the work itself includes pieces of plastic and details and comments that are right up-to-date.

Assemblage by John Kastner

John Kastner has illustrated several children's books, and he has a rare wit and an eye for the comic and dramatic gesture.  He also is showing some very delicate drawings like the striking portrait seen below.

Portrait by John Kastner

Kathy Calderwood also has her art featured in a book which you can purchase at the front desk.  We stopped to chat at the opening and it was great to see her paintings once again in this show.  Her work often includes some verbal dialog, and her paintings can almost be read like a rebus.  

Kathy Calderwood at the University Gallery

Visual Art can create a dialog about place and space!

Rooted in the 1960s the art that blooms could be seen against a backdrop of social upheaval, and yet there is a promise of better things to come...  "Renewable Futures" allows a visitor to consider  the contribution that this group of eighteen artists has made to our community, and it is quite considerable, and it provides one of many reasons to value what we have to offer  as part of the fabric of our culture here in western New York!

Renewable Futures
University Gallery, R.I.T.
thru August 10, 2019