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Alix Martin's paintings close out the Neighborhood Collective

"Just Left of Curious" by Alix Martin, part of an exhibit that has moved from East Aurora's redFISH Gallery to the Neighborhood Collective on Elmwood Avenue. It's the last show at the Neighborhood Collective, which is closing its doors.

Color Fields

Following the success of Alix Martin’s latest show at the redFISH Gallery in East Aurora, the work has moved on to the Neighborhood Collective Gallery (810 Elmwood Avenue) through May 31. Sadly, but honorably for Martin, her show will be the last ever to be exhibited at the Neighborhood Collective, as once the show closes, the gallery doors close for good: Owner Annie Adams is moving on to new endeavors.

The exhibit’s opening night reception was typical of redFISH, as much an event as an opening. Availed of the large space previously occupied by the recently relocated local bicycle shop, Martin was able to exhibit her newest large canvasses. The best of these demonstrated a new style for Martin. Whereas in the past some of her work has been small and intimate, neo-Post-Impressionist—at times almost to the point of sentimentality—here the best work shines with confidence, individualism, and maturity.

The portraits and figures have been shunted off to the periphery, the asymmetry balanced by vibrant, saturated, flat field colors created using spray paint. A featured piece, Just Left of Curious, shows this trend to an extreme. The goggled figure is defined by the intense red color field rather than being upfront and central in the piece.

Genevieve is not so brutal with the treatment of the figure, which is shown at least in toto, but once again it is the background that is the standout, complementing if not overwhelming the figure. Martin suggests that this makes the pieces “literary on some level,” as if the background space suggests a moment in a continuing narrative.

Alix Martin is clearly an artist with a sure vision of her future. Last year she published The Scariest Dream Ever in collaboration with writer Maria T. DiVencenzo. The children’s book went on to win rave reviews from all quarters, including NPR, and won Gold Prize in the Moonbeam awards and silver in the prestigious Ben Franklin awards. There is more to come from this pair, with DiVencenzo’s straightforward children’s writing counterpoint to Martin’s paintings of the house, not as a space of safety but as a begetter of nightmares.

Please take a moment to see this show on Elmwood. Again, the gallery closes its doors forever on Monday, May 31. In the meantime it’s open Monday through Friday, noon-6pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 11am-5pm.

steve mitchell

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