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Alex Contino's Paintings at Big Orbit Gallery

For Aristotle, existence, being, wasn’t the big problem, nor nonexistence, nonbeing. The big problem was how you get from nonbeing to being, the problem of becoming. To explain which in philosophical terms—and in his mind both physical and metaphysical terms—he invented four “causes,” namely, material cause, formal cause, efficient cause, and final cause, which was the purpose or end for which a thing came into being.

Thomas Bittner's Photographs at Queen City Gallery

One of our first touristy summer outings taken but reluctantly after moving to Buffalo in 1990 was a boat ride encouraged by my then mother-in-law sponsored by a friend of hers at the Industrial Heritage Committee, Inc. My cranky little family sat squirming among local preservation enthusiasts on the promenade deck of the Miss Buffalo, squinting into the sun, craning our necks to stare up at massive grain elevators, silos, and storage bins, which at a distant profile always looked like so many mothballed aircraft carriers. Slipping past them along the winding waterway our initial skepticism paled, and the baby actually stopped fussing as we gaped up close at the looming scale of these monster edifices here and there pierced with invasive vegetation. As the director of the excursion gave us a historically personal account of what part the silos played in the industrial prominence of Western New York and especially the “Queen City on the Lake,” we joined with the faithful and took heart someday this architectural graveyard of a past gloried economy would be made useful again. Stepping firmly off the gangplank back at the marina, we began to take a stubborn pride in our new city.

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