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A closer look: Charles Burchfield's 'The Blizzard'


Artist: Charles Burchfield // Title: "The Blizzard (The White North Wind)" // Image from the Burchfield Penney Archives,

Charles Burchfield has a painting for any weather event, and blizzards were a favorite. He has optimistic paintings of blizzards and pessimistic ones. This one strikes me as the latter.

It stands to reason that the Burchfield Penney Art Center posted the above painting to its Facbook page today, along with this apt quote from Burchfield's March 14, 1916 journal: "I walked in the blizzard tonight..."

In the piece, begun in 1918, Burchfield brings the whipping wind to life in a picture that seems to speak of dark natural forces. The ominous clouds, the shuddering tree, the glowing houses -- all of it seems supernatural and forbidding. It's classic Burchfield, perfect for a day like this, when most of us have grown deeply disenchanted with the snow and wonder what kinds of unseen havoc this particular White North Wind might be wreaking on our region's collective psyche.

--Colin Dabkowski

Scantron runs for school board

Daniel Rockwitz Reynolds, a Buffalo teacher and performer known the local hip hop community as Scantron, announced last week that he is running for one of the three at-large seats in the upcoming election for Buffalo Board of Education on May 6. He will hold something of a campaign rally tonight at 6 in Ashker's Juice Bar.

I've run across Reynolds during the Buffalo Infringement Festival (see a short excerpt of his teaser performance for last year's festival above) and at other local arts events. In my limited experience, I have found him to be an eloquent if somewhat unorthodox advocate for the use of arts in education. His candidacy is sure to add a compelling wrinkle an already fascinating race. More info on his campaign is here.

Here's Reynold's campaign video:

--Colin Dabkowski

Chalk artist leaves a mark on McKinley Monument


One of these lions is not like the other.

Sometime in the past few days, a chalk artist gave a bit of a makeover to one of the four leonine defenders of the McKinley Monument on Niagara Square. The vaguely sinister, orange and blue eyes,  staring out from the marble lion's snow-capped head toward the Buffalo City Court Building, are making passers-by pause for a moment to stare back.

To my less sinister eyes, these chalk ones strike me as a temporary and therefore mostly harmless modification of a classic Buffalo icon. (Paint, or something more permanent, would be an entirely different story.) They'll likely fade with the next thaw, as the snow now piled atop the statue trickles down the lion's face and washes the chalk away. In the meantime, take a walk past Niagara Square and check out how such a minor modification can renew your interest in an extraordinary monument most of us take for granted.

More pictures of the modified lion:



--Colin Dabkowski

A closer look: 'Nightscapes: Into the Darkness'


Artists: Frederick Mount and Zach Rose // Title: "Sun set tree, and the darkness sets in" // "Nightscapes: Into the Darkness," through Friday Sunday // 464 Gallery

Photographers Frederick Mount and Zach Rose consider themselves painters whose preferred medium is light. Their series of enchanting, eerie nocturnal scenes on view through Friday in 464 Gallery are the product of nighttime hikes into the Western New York wilderness, during which they would pause at a certain scene that caught their eye and set about creating their technically complex but ultimately seamless and naturalistic photographs. Later, in Photoshop, several photos would be combined to create the finished product, such as the photograph above, taken in Chestnut Ridge Park.

In an email, Mount explained the process of creating the scene:

When I saw this scene I particular I knew exactly the lighting that I wanted when I saw the stream: The highlighted tree leaning over the low soft rushing stream. I used a technique called light painting. I would use the 10-second timer on my camera and run into the scene, manually setting off my flash, and paint in a small section at a time. This scene is actually a composite of five photos. By using a tripod to keep my camera stable, I was able to take the five photos that lit up different parts of the scene and "paint" them together in Photoshop. This scene is from the Chestnut Ridge eternal flame path.

Below are two more photographs from the series, "Stream, or the rush of the stream in front of you" and "Red bush, the beauty of nature becomes visible to all that care to look."



--Colin Dabkowski

Digital Comic Museum puts thousands of comics online for free


Issue 1 of "Crime Detective" from May, 1948, is available through the Digital Comic Museum.

Twitter is abuzz today with news that the Digital Comic Museum has digitized and uploaded some 15,000 comics from before 1959 -- an era comic book fans refer to as the golden age of the form. The volume and range of titles is staggering. Check them out here.

--Colin Dabkowski

Tonight at Hallwalls: 'Tropical Seasonings' explores Southeast Asia

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A still from Thais artist Taiki Sakpisit's video "A Ripe Volcano."

Tonight at 7, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center will present a screening of 12 short films from or about Southeast Asia. The screening, an outgrowth of the KLEX Experimental Film and Video Festival, will feature films by Western New York artists as well as natives of the region.

The films range from Thai artist Taiki Sakpisit's "A Ripe Volcano," a sweeping look at the state of contemporary Thailand to Western New York artist Debora Bernagozzi's "Green Cloud Temple," based on a visit to Malaysia's Cheng Hoon Teng Temple. Here is the full list of films in the mini-festival, curated by Malaysia-based video artist Siew-Wai Kok, a graduate of the University at Buffalo's media study M.F.A. program:

Andrew Stiff (UK/Malaysia), “Gong Xi Fa Cai Part 2” // AU Sow-Yee (Malaysia), “Ruins I” // Azharr Rudin (Malaysia), “Colorfool” // Debora Bernagozzi (USA), “Green Cloud Temple” // Jason Bernagozzi (USA), “Memory and Ritual in Frame Difference” // Koji Tambata (Japan/Thailand), “The First Rain” // KOK Siew-Wai (Malaysia), “Mud Game” // LIM Chee-Yong (Malaysia), “Lulai” // Maulana M Pasha (Indonesia), “The Endless Steps” // Taiki Sakpisit (Thailand), “A Ripe Volcano” // WONG Eng-Leong (Malaysia), “Mist” // Wuttin Chansataboot (Thailand), “16x9 Capsule”

More info on the screening is here.

--Colin Dabkowski

Opening Tuesday: TGW@497 Gallery in Allentown


TGW@497, new art gallery owned and operated by Buffalo artist and galleriest David Vitrano, will open its doors on Tuesday. The first show, a collection of Vitrano's own sculptures and other work, will remain on view through March 29. An opening reception is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday.

Vitrano has owned or operated several other Allentown art spaces over the years, including the now-defunct Great Wave Antiques and Tiger Lily & Wing Asian Bakery and Café. The new gallery space is at 497 Franklin St.

--Colin Dabkowski

Daemen to host forum on culture in WNY


"Patricia," an oil painting by Gary Wolfe, will be on view during Daemen College's "Culture Now" event.

On Wednesday, Daemen College will host a day dedicated to exploring the role of art and culture in the region's civic life. The event, called "Culture Now," gets started at 3 p.m. with a staged reading of the play "Who Returned My Soul" by Kelly Brock, based on a Holocaust survivor's testimonies.

At 6 p.m., the college will host "Art, Wellness, Community," a community forum featuring Jackie Albarella, Dana Jenkins, Mary Kozub, Gary Wolfe and Ted Pietrzak. Topics will include the involvement of arts and culture in veterans' affairs, cancer treatment, Alzheimer's patients and the homeless population.

The event is free and open to the public.

--Colin Dabkowski

Echo Art Fair opens submission period

573683 Echo Art Fair 2 Cant

A performance/installation by artist Liz Rywelski was part of the 2013 Echo Art Fair in the Central Library. Photo by Sharon Cantillon / The Buffalo News.

Echo Art Fair, which is gearing up for its fourth annual event in September, is now accepting submissions from artists and galleries through May 23. Check out all the suibmission info here. The jury for this year's fair, slated for Sept. 6 and 7 in the Central Library, includes:

  • Cathleen Chafee, Albright-Knox Art Gallery curator
  • Colina Maxwell, director of Centre3 in Hamilton, Ont.
  • Robert Scalise of the University at Buffalo Anderson Gallery
  • Catherine Foley, Western New York arts patron
  • Roslyn Goldman, Rochester-based art collector

--Colin Dabkowski

'Yoko Ono Fan Club' opens tonight at UB

"Yoko Ono Fan Club," an exhibition "conceived in the spirit of Fluxus" and titled after the prominent practitioner of that chance-based artform, opens at 5 p.m. tonight in the University at Buffalo Art Gallery. According to a release, the material included in the show includes, but is not limited to, "objects, manifestos, wordplay, installations, interventions, disruptions, scores, documentation, inscrutctions, happenings, performances and invitations for participation." More info is here and here.

--Colin Dabkowski

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