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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v10n29 (07/20/2011) » Five Questions With...

Marcus Wise: Artist / Gallery Owner

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated or enthusiastic supporter of the arts in Buffalo than Marcus Wise. A fine arts photographer by trade (, Wise also runs the 464 Gallery (Artvoice’s 2011 Best of Buffalo winner for Best Up-and-Coming Art Space) in Black Rock and somehow finds the time to preside over the Buffalo chapter of Emerging Leaders in the Arts, a collaboration of local artists that provides support and critique for each other through events, workshops, and community art projects. You can find Wise this Friday, July 22, at 464 Gallery, for an opening featuring the work of Dana Saylor titled I Am Her. To find out more visit

What is “good” art to you? Aesthetically what types of work do you find appealing or challenging to your senses?

I like artwork that is fearless in its exploration of subject material, bold in color, or particularly expressive. I grew up loving abstract but especially surrealist art—works that challenge the boundaries of realities, and takes us to dream spaces, places we can never see outside the imagination.

What qualities do you look for most in an emerging artist?

I look for artists with a willingness and drive to learn and explore their craft. They should come with some kind of artistic vision. I work with them to refine it through portfolio review, directing them to workshops, mentors and other artists who are going through or have been through the process. We then work on refining presentation and getting their work out in front of galleries and potential buyers.

The Grant-Amherst neighborhood was voted the Best Up-and-Coming Neighborhood in the last AV Best of Buffalo awards. Where is Black Rock heading and what role does 464 play in that future?

Black Rock is undergoing a true renaissance with the emergence of new art spaces and businesses that are embracing the artistic nature of Amherst street in particular. Through 464, I hope to continue being a driving force in keeping positive attention directed at our growing neighborhood with continued unique art events and by acting as a hub for the emerging local arts community.

How difficult is it for an art gallery to balance the concerns of marketing art that can be commercially successful with that of giving new and experimental artists the exposure they need?

I think it has a tendency to balance itself out. An emerging artist’s prices will be much lower than those of an established artists, making their work more approachable and affordable, especially for the novice collector or someone just looking to improve their home decor. With greater experience and exposure comes a higher quality of work and usually, a higher price point. Part of my job is to help artists navigate this fine line as they move from emerging to evolving to established.

How would you describe your artistic approach to photography? What have you been shooting lately and are you currently working on any interesting projects?

My photography is about re-imagining what we see all the time and presenting it in a bold new way, through abstracting common objects. I just wrapped my first solo show, Identity, a couple of months ago, in which I created installations and photographed them in a way that explored divergence and self-image. I am still focused on promoting the work of this series, but think my next series may be an investigation of community, using similar techniques.

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