Friday, November 22, 2019

Urban Innovation

A Star is Born:  RIT's CITY Art Space
features:  "Images from Science 3"
a juried show

It is almost the first year anniversary for the RIT CITY Art Space in the center of downtown Rochester, New York and I have just emerged from the gallery after looking over "Images from Science 3 " that is on view until November 24th, 2019.  This show is built on the idea that there are striking images that can "explain" elements in science that really strengthen the notion that a picture is worth a thousand words.  This current show is the result of a jury process where entries from over a dozen countries were selected for their visual impact and their timeliness in how they add to our understanding of facts revealed through a scientific process.

"Radiolaria", a cyanotype by Nathan Ely

This show was of interest to me because as an artist many of my early works had a lot to do with science, and I currently am teaching a course in Zoological and Botanical art in the College of Art & Design at RIT.  In fact I saw at least one of my past students had their artwork juried into this present show, so I am very proud of their achievement!  The images selected for the current iteration of this exhibit, presented in the same  format run the gamut from astronomical to molecular, and several RIT faculty had their work cut out for them as they had to sift through hundreds of entries to find just the ones that spoke to our audience.

A robotic assisted operation illustrated by Hannah B. Ely

There are many questions that are raised by this exhibition, and they revolve around how much of the images in evidence are influenced by art?  Are the colors arbitrary?  I thought also that it is hard to get a grasp of the scale of many of the images in the show, is there any way to give a viewer a sense of the measurements,  in this work?  A photo of a solar flare for example could look to the average person like the fuzz on a peach.

Photo by Danny Radius
at RIT CITY Art Space

The RIT CITY Art Space was nominated for an award given by the Community Design Center which has its office in the Hungerford Building where I keep my studio on 1115 East Main Street.  As far as buildings are concerned, the Sibley Building which houses the RIT CITY Art Space is going through a renaissance, and it is part of the resurgence of interest that people are having when it comes to finding a place to live, a place to congregate.  I was very happy to be part of this first year's schedule this past summer with a presentation of a show I curated called: "Process & Purpose", a Printmakers Invitational. The visual arts  have been a vital part of the biennial show "Current Seen" that is just coming to an end in and along East Avenue,  and we can look forward to new selections in the next version of this showing.

At the William Harris Gallery, Gannett Building, RIT

Back on the RIT campus, there are other shows worth a mention including one in the William Harris Gallery called: TBD.  The exhibition features installations where up-and-coming student curators are asked to use found materials to create this group exhibition, and there are some striking results.

TBD at William Harris Gallery
Gannett Building 7b
Rochester Institute of Technology
Henrietta Campus

The precarious situation of seeing a wheel chair perched over a pile of broken glass highlights a dilemma faced by people with disabilities.  I thought of this looking out at this installation, and remembering what my student Shwanda Corbett who is wheel chair bound had said when 
she related her story of getting a flat tire, with no one around to help.

TBD exhibition at RIT for student curators

To put this exhibition together each student had to use found materials, and this practice is becoming more common when you go around to look at art gallery shows, including those in New York City.
Each student also had to spell out their premise for the materials that they chose and why they wanted to make this kind of statement.  Here are some examples:

 Student Curator's statement

Abandoned art near the South Wedge

A prompt for the selection of images from Yajing Yan

Provocative imagery from Yajing Yan
William Harris Gallery
Rochester Institute of Technology