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Gallery Gazetteer: A Road Map for Patrons of Small Places
by J. Tim Raymond
The thing about Labor Day weekend is one is never sure when it really ends. A lot of our fall art venues hedged their bets and are opening on September 9, completely skewing the First Friday Allentown Gallery Walk percentages as far as expected attendance. There are no less than six art openings on the second Thursday or Friday of September, including the eagerly awaited Contemporary Chinese art exhibition at Daemen College; the University of Buffalo’s new Department of Visual Studies PhD program faculty show, Visual Epistemologies, at the UB Anderson Gallery; the MFA alumni show titled Horsplay; and Buffalo Beijing Translation, a collaborative exhibition with the Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing; as well as curator Gerald Mead’s exhibit of women artists in Western New York at Nichols, and the three-person exhibition opening at Buffalo Art Space, In Suspect Terrain.
With so much on offer, we propose a geography of small galleries, beginning in a southwestern suburb and returning quickly to the region’s artistic heart in Allentown:
Meibohm Fine Arts in the center of East Aurora is now in its third generation presenting exhibitions of historical importance and contemporary artist’s recent work. On Friday, September 16, Meibohm will present David Vitrano’s show, called The Emergence of Form.
Bombing back into downtown, one should not overlook the numerous venues on Allen Street east of Delaware Avenue, including Buffalo Big Print, which presents a group show of Haitian artists, October 7-November 30; El Museo with sculpture and photography by Micaelo Vivero, September 16-October 26; Studio Hart hosting How Bright the Tangled Night, collage by Molly Jarboe and Maria Pabico LaRotonda through October 5; and Indigo Gallery with Shape, Repeat, works by Ani Hoover and Felice Koenig through the end of September. All are venues showcasing established and newly emerging artists working in photography, painting, sculpture, and mixed media. El Museo is the area’s only not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to the exhibition of fine art by Latin/Caribbean as well as other artists of color.
Just around the corner of Allen, heading up Franklin, is Mundo Images Gallery, which on September 2 hosts an opening for an exhibit of photographs of Europe, Central America, and Western New York. Heading uphill from Allen on Delaware Avenue, wait for the light, turn left, and find the Lenox, a commanding turn-of-the-last-century hotel, now known in Allentown as Buffalo’s own Chelsea after the infamous, now-gone-condo, New York City den. On the first floor of the Lenox is the Nina Freudenheim Gallery, three rooms of, as someone once said, a clean, well-lighted space. This gallery has been a substantial benchmark for an artist’s commercial success in Buffalo for more than 20 years. Upcoming exhibitions include Black and White, September 10-October 12, and Refocusing the Spotlight: Twenty-four American Painters, October 15-November 30.
Now push west down North Street, and take any turn left back down the hill to Allen Street. Among the established bars and shops on the stretch headed west down Allen is Rust Belt Books, with artwork by Diane Meldrum through September 30. SP@ce 224 reveals Mixtape: A Gang of Four in its storefront windowpanes, opening September 2.
The opening show at newcomer gallery Casa de Arte on Elmwood, just north of Allen Street, is called Viva Buffalo, Viva Mexico. Artists from both Buffalo and Cuernavaca, Mexico, collaborated in a sharing of artwork between the two cities—a strong signal there will be more cultural exchanges uniting and celebrating cultural distinctions in the Buffalo arts community.
Anchoring the last block of Allen to the west is the venerable (and that is the word for it) College Street Gallery. For 14 years, “Mulley’s,” as it is familiarly known in Allentown, has been showing an active stable of local artists in a co-op numbering over 20 individuals. The First Friday Gallery Walk often culminates in standing-room-only sidewalk soiree outside College Street Gallery, whose 14th anniversary reception will be held on one of those Fridays: October 7, 6-10pm.
Across the street, Hardware Café also hosts a gallery space in the rear of the established bar and restaurant. Other bar restaurant venues include Quaker Bonnet on Allen Street, with work by Wendy Maloney; Betty’s on Virginia Street, with paintings by Bruce Philip Bitmead, September 19-November 21, and Merge on Delaware Avenue, with installation of work by photographer Paula Sciuk, opening September 6.
Taking a further twist up Allen Street on Wadsworth Street toward Symphony Circle, one could almost miss Sugar City, located in the yellow house across from Friends of Night People, a venue for musical and visual arts events of engaging originality. Way across Allentown at the juncture of Franklin and Linwood, Art Dialog Gallery hosts Trilogies XXII: The Work of Three Artists, through September 30.
Considerably further downtown, in the Cobblestone District, is a new space at 79 Perry Street, the home of Hi-Temp Fabrications, opening with a reception for the paintings of Sarah Myers on, yes, September 9.
In the entirely opposite direction is a remarkable exhibit at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, closing on September 25: Concurrent with the Autistic Services Inc. group show at Buffalo Art Space is the continuing exhibition of watercolors by James Marino in the Dr. Rodger V. Lalli Community Gallery. A participant in the ASI program and already an artist since early childhood, Marino, with the guided facility of Dana Ranke, a teaching artist at Autistic Services, has gradually developed a fully wrought watercolor style. Concentrating on images of architectural complexity, he builds compositions of deft sophistication. With an economy of means—marker and watercolor, in this case—Marino depicts the cherished landmarks of Buffalo’s architectural heritage, intuiting the sense of a building in one continuous line, delineating like an armature the structural signature of each familiar scene then working up the distinctive aspects of surface façade in lively detail adding veils of watercolor that catch light and shadow without blurring the clarity of his drawing. This is a chance to see the work of a gifted artist in meaningful and productive work.
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