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Paintings by A. J. Fries at Big Orbit Gallery

Grisaille, a method of painting in monochrome, might be the first impression made of the paintings in oil on display at Big Orbit Gallery. A. J. Fries, frequently named Buffalo’s most popular painter in Artvoice’s annual Best of Buffalo survey, has delighted patrons with his quasi-photorealistic impressions of ordinary subjects. Everything from the glazed reflection of an enticingly printed cellophane wrapper on a pack of snack cakes to the fibrillating rivulets of rain on a car windshield is given an accessible investigation of its particular distinctions of surface. Fries has said that waiting for an inspiration to paint, the “musey, poetic bullshit” that drives many painters’ approach to their work, is not for him. Looking at his art, it is evident that his eye often falls on the most prosaic of phenomena for the challenge of rendering depictions of reflections, especially as seen in and through light and water.

Comic art by John Jennings and Stacey Robinson at Hallwalls

Black Kirby is the artist team of John Jennings and Stacey Robinson. The collective name is a play on the name of comic book artist Jack Kirby, inventor or co-inventor of any number of superheroes, such as Captain America, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, and X-Men, and a comic book artistic style that became standard for the presentation of superheroes and the fantasy worlds they rescue issue after issue from ungodly forces of devastation and destruction. Black Kirby’s art imitates and parodies Jack Kirby’s in style and substance, adding an African-American—and notably contemporary—dimension.

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