Surviving the pandemic, & having some time in the studio to think about my life, I have to stand and give a shout out to the many artists whose dedication to their art and to their audience I have shared. In our part of the country I see many outstanding paintings, prints and installations and it is hard to keep up with all this creativity! A couple of weeks back we were in Buffalo and we stopped into the Burchfield Penney Center before driving back to Rochester, and there were many folks from our area with their art on view in this museum! Across the street from this museum is another huge construction project at The Albright Knox Art Gallery which looks like the galleries will double in size!
Let me say that the Burchfield Penney Center is devoted to the art of Charles Burchfield who I have written about previously on this blog. The current exhibitions on view at this venue include groups of crafts people and individuals like the late Bill Stewart who created ceramic figures that have an impact - mixing cartoons with idol worship, so quirky that you have to laugh.
You might want to spend more time with the survey of American crafts that brings you artists like my friend Bill Keyser who spent many years in woodworking and in this instance brings the audience a stripped down edgy piece that has a minimalist aesthetic. Having just seen a show of paintings and drawings by Elizabeth Murray, I was surprised to see the wall mounted sculptures by Paul Brandwein. His constructions seemed to cross what Elizabeth had pioneered with an almost scientific composition that seemed to symbolize something familiar that might appear in a dream. And around the corner was a very large work that has the look and impact of a window in a cathedral topped off with a grand butterfly.
Christine and Paul Knoblauch have created a beautiful and delicate kind of gate (“Heaven’s Sake”) that has a decorative quality and as an installation is quite unique. There are birds and flowers in the composition and intricate metal work in this substantial piece. I can’t imagine how many hours were spent trying to get the forms of all these things just right!
Upstairs there were a number of small paintings made “At the Water’s Edge” by Mildred C. Green ( 1874-1951). Mildred found her specialty with the steam boats on the Great Lakes and she was a stickler for detail! Some of her paintings remind me of Edward Hopper and his keen eye and I really enjoy the compositions that are found in this show.
Joseph Piccillo is an artist who works with charcoal, and looking at the large scale drawings in his room, I am attracted to his big horse and the portraits hanging alongside. I was wondering how he got the smooth effects using charcoal – it was like the values were rubbed on, or built up very slowly, the drawings had quite an effect.