Just in time for Halloween, 464 Gallery on Amherst Street has opened its third annual "Monster" exhibition. One of the highlights is Craig LaRotonda's piece above, a characteristically sinister and disturbing painting that evokes a not-so-nice narrative. Here's what LaRotonda had to say about the painting's discomfiting subjects:
"This painting is about brothers who are Siamese twins. One of the twins is evil
and the other is good. The good brother must burden the weight of his bad
brother who has no legs or arms and is sick. They live in the forest where they
can exist unbothered by their unique deformity."
Artist: Robin Zefers Clark // Title: 'Color Segregation' // Kenan Center, Lockport // Through Nov. 17
This painting, a tribute from watercolorist Robin Zefers Clark on view in the annual fall show of the Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society in Lockport's Kenan Center, has a beautiful back story. It emerged this spring, when Clark reuinted with a childhood friend and fellow painter Brenda Morley after 50 years apart. The two painters brought their easels out to a field in West Valley, where their grandfathers also once painted side by side, and set about making their own plein air paintings.
In the process, something about Morley's palette of pastels caught Clark's eye. She took a picture of it and later used that photograph to produce a large-scale watercolor employing only three colors -- cadmium yellow, Prussian blue and alizaran crimson. "I feel that mixing the colors from such a severely limited palette gives the
painting a cohesiveness," she said. Since's Clark's husband died in 1996, she added, she hides his initials in every painting. Try to see if you can locate them.
Clark's full narrative about the painting is posted after the jump.
Earlier today, I caught up with Ian DeBeer and Max Collins, two of Buffalo's more active and visible street artists, to talk about a new collaborative piece they unveiled over the weekend. The work, sure to provoke strong reactions from the local art and graffiti communities as well as neighborhood residents, features a gargantuan DeBeer dressed in a Keith Haring jacket and scrawling his infamous tag "HERT" -- one of the city's most visible and widely despised tags -- across the side of a building at Elmwood Avenue and Breckenridge Street.
There's a whole lot going on in this piece. It comes across immdiately as an attempt by DeBeer, who not so long ago was released form prison after serving time for graffiti-related offenses, to declare his official arrival on Buffalo's art scene proper while simultaneously embracing his past as a tagger hated at home and celebrated by his national peers.
After completing a controversial mural dedicated to the comics artist Spain Rodriguez in Allentown earlier this year, DeBeer is out to prove he's legit. And he's borrowing some of that legitimacy from Collins, whose above-board commissions have been widely praised around the city. In turn, Collins gets to take a hit off of DeBeer's still-smoldering street cred, so it's a symbiosis that makes sense. And all of that is sure to encourage some, let's say, disparate opinions. In fact it seems explicitly designed to do just that.
Share your thoughts about the new piece and what the artists had to say about it in the comments.
Artist: Fotinin Galanes // Title: "The Atlantic" // Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice,Italy // Through Oct. 27
This drawing by Buffalo Arts Studio member Fotini Galanes, the product of many hours of meticulous work, is on view in a satellite exhibition of the Venice Biennale that includes pieces by three other BAS members and was organized by art collector and fashion impresario Luciano Benetton of the United Colors of Benetton. The Buffalo artists (Galanes, Dennis Barraclough, John A. Sargent III and Hyeyoung Shin) were included in the exhibition and in the recently published catalogue "Imago Mundi: Contemporary Artists from the U.S.A." by a strange stroke of luck.
In September, according to BAS director Cori Wolff, Benetton stopped in Buffalo on a round-the-world yacht trip and was directed to the small Buffalo arts group by an Albright-Knox Art Gallery staffer. He purchased work by BAS member Dennis Bertram and later invited Wolff to select four artists to make new work to be included in fashion company's art collection. The work remains on view in Venice through Oct. 27.
There is an irresistible elegance and grace to this simple piece of cut paper by Buffalo artist Jozef Bajus, which will go on view Saturday in the Burchfield Penney Art Center's biennial "Art in Craft Media" exhibition. Bajus, who transforms books and other paper-based objects into tidy and alluring abstract artworks, made the piece in tribute to his wife Olga, who died last November. There are few more compelling reasons to make a piece of art than love and grief, and it seems to me the two combine in this piece to produce something powerful. I don't know the specific motivation of this work, but it is comforting to guess that Bajus tried to insert some of the elegance and grace of his late wife and her excellent work into it.
Painted utility box // Artist: Elyssa Harper // Elmwood Ave. and North St.
The ongoing Community Canvases project, which turns utility boxes and other pieces of public infrastructure into artworks, has attracted traditional artists as well as members of Buffalo's active and growing street art community. This piece, featuring a ghostly image of City Hall dripping paint against a backdrop of otherworldly geometric cubes, is the work of prolific Buffalo street artist Elyssa Harper. To me, her latest piece for Community Canvases represents a certain pride in the city that most people don't associate with street artists, many of whom are wrongly dismissed as thoughtless or egocentric vandals. This piece shows an increasing awareness that the contributions of newly emerging street artists -- quite apart from the literal and illustrative murals that have been appearing in the city for decades -- can lend a welcome sense of vibrancy to a streetscape that is badly in need of it. Check out the artist's Instagram account here.
A utility box at Elmwood Avenue and West Ferry Street features a new piece competed today by Buffalo artist OGRE.
Today, artists stationed at intersections along Elmwood Avenue began work on the second phase of Community Canvases, a public art project that turns utility boxes and other pieces of public infrastructure into artworks.
I caught up with artist Mary Claire Rivera at the corner of Elmwood and Delavan, where she was working on a piece inspired by the culture and streetscape of the surrounding neighborhood:
Here are a couple shots of other works and works-in-progress on Elmwood, which should be completed by the end of the weekend:
A piece by artist Elaine O'Toole at Elmwood and Utica Street.
Artist Elyssa Harper poses with her work on Tonawanda Street. Photo from Community Canvases' Facebook page.
The art project known as Community Canvases and the Elmwood Village Association announced today that local artists will be transforming utility boxes and other structures along Elmwood Avenue into art installations. The organization's first event happened along Tonawanda Street in August.
According to EVA Executive Director Carly Battin, artists will begin making their work on Saturday morning. Stay tuned to this space for some pictures of the completed work.
Title: "Fastball" // Artist: Lee Walton // CEPA Gallery, 671 Main St. // Through Nov. 23
Lee Walton's installation on the first floor of CEPA Gallery, part of the exhibition "Art of Sport," was designed to be interactive. It consists of nothing more than a pitching machine and some reinforced drywall, which was thoroughly obliterated in the span of a couple hours during the opening reception for the show on Friday night. Gallery workers had to shut the installation down when a ball partially broke through the other side of the wall just inches from the gallery's Main Street-facing window. The simple piece was designed to stress the physical force inherent in a sport that can look rather idyllic when viewed from afar. Judging only by the state of the wall, which looks like it's been hit by a mortar attack, I'd say mission accomplished.