Monday, August 15, 2022

Like No Other


Paul Garland's "Intuitive Progression"
The Memorial Art Gallery
Rochester, New York

It should come as no surprise that we are tired of this Covid Pandemic, and it has kept people across the globe down and taken the lives of many.  In our family we have lost a cousin to the virus, and my family has been careful but we have not been spared.  As a result I haven't written as much as I would like to and certainly my dilemma has been about going to art openings and gallery affairs.  I just don't feel I can jeopardize my future!  Still, I miss the art scene, and I am taking precautions....

I am happy to report that this week I did get to see some exhibits at The Memorial Art Gallery.  On a bright sunny day in August I went to look at art from the Ubuhle Women to the paintings of Paul Garland and it is worth the time and effort to get there.  

Beadwork by Ubuhle Women straight from Africa to you in Rochester, New York

I can't imagine the kind of patience you would need to do the beadwork on view now at The MAG!  This show is like no other that I have seen here, and it is so refreshing to find a branch of the art world that  has escaped notice locally ( until now! ).  Are these compositions planned out in advance or are they made up as they go along?  Trying to do something like this big bull would be impossible if you didn't think it through and plan on how to make the image come together.

Zondlile Zondo, The Red Bull - glass beads sewn onto fabric

I read in the descriptive wall text that Ubuhle means "beauty" in the Xhosa and Zulu language of Southern Africa.  There the women have a long tradition of bead art and here we can see some wonderful examples.

"Flowers for the Gods", 2012 
Glass beads sewn onto fabric

Zondolile Zondo, glass bead work for "My Mother's Peach Tree"

Down the hall at The Memorial Art Gallery a new show has been mounted  for the artist Paul Garland called: "Intuitive Progression".  I knew of his paintings early on in my career here in Rochester because the paintings were presented in the gallery that Rochester Institute of Technology had opened downtown and this was many years ago!  As you will see if you visit this museum, Paul Garland has had over 50 years of experience to build on as a painter and fine artist who has also been a teacher in Oswego.

Paul Garland at The Memorial Art Gallery

Since that early show I have seen many more of Paul Garland's paintings  most recently at the Axom Gallery before they moved into their new location in the South Wedge.  From that experience I realized that Paul Garland and I share many  interests.  I found  the current show "Intuitive Progression" to be well chosen to represent his work, and I thought that this is important for the MAG staff to present this work of a local art professional.  We need to see this and support their efforts.

There is a wonderful painting that Paul built called "Open Borders" which stands out to me in that it is a kind of sculptural take on what paintings can do, and it has a freedom and intelligent point of view that can inspire the visitor. 

Paul Garland's "Open Borders", 2020 acrylic on MDF

So on my way out of the main gallery I stopped  to look at a wonderful little portrait that you see below:

Unique Fair-Smith at 
The Memorial Art Gallery

I am proud to say that Mr. Fair Smith was one of my students at R.I.T. and his portrait here stands out for the color and detail, but also because the fellow he portrays comes alive for the viewer.  It is a fine experience to see this artist do his thing so successfully here - just a few years after graduation..  There is a lot to look forward to, and these shows at The MAG have brought me a new sense of hope and joy!