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Edward G. Bisone's Paintings at the New Art Dialogue Gallery

"One Begins, One Ends" by Edward G. Bisone.
"Earth Series 2" by Edward G. Bisone.

In The Abstract

A further move toward abstraction, with maybe a little more verbal content to seem to offset the further abstraction—but cryptic, so not really—is what you get in veteran area artist Edward G. Bisone’s recent paintings on exhibit at Art Dialogue Gallery.

An earlier work—from his What Is the Question? series from the late 1980s—on display among other artworks of other artists for sale in the gallery, shows a man and a woman—not recognizable as portraits, but recognizable as human figures, one with perfunctory denoted breasts, one without, as the sole individualizing indication—seated faced straight on to the observer.

A recent work looks like a more abstract version of the What Is the Question? piece. A painting called The Road Not features two roughly circle forms suggestive—but this is not immediately certain—the circle forms are too tentative, too inchoative, nervously scratched into the surface layer applied paint—incidentally, just like the perfunctory denoted breast forms on the earlier painting—of human faces looking straight out at the observer. The circle forms then tail off in stringy extensions below, one of which develops into a more or less distinct image of a human hand. So these are people, faces. Abstracted to the point of now barely recognizable as figures. More or less associated with one of the circle forms is a vaguely phallic form.

As typically for the artist, colors are subdued. Black and white and shades of gray and earth tones predominate. So that when scraps and patches of vivid primary colors occur, they become focal. A work called One Begins, One Ends looks like an in memoriam piece, with a single segment of bright red among predominant black, white, and gray, and a portion of a Keith Haring figure, animated and energized as if by the startling realization of the full force of mortality, during the worst of the AIDS crisis. The most colorful piece in the show, called Pamplona, features splotches of red, yellow, and blue, but mostly red. For the toreador’s cape? The blood of the bull victim? A sea of waving red handkerchiefs?

Several of the paintings are called Monochrome, with Roman numerals then to differentiate. The most genuinely monochrome work, however, is called Wedding. It is basically all white, with imagery that could be gothic windows, as in a wedding ceremony church or chapel. A painting called Study seems to pay homage to Richard Diebenkorn. (Though a native Buffalonian, schooled in art at UB, and previously and currently residing in Western New York, Bisone lived for a time in the 1990s in California.) This largest work in the show consists of a main segment pale gray/green area to the left, smaller segment vertical black strip to the right, and in the middle of the main segment, a rectangular interest area of flesh tone and black roughly rectangular collaged paper bits.

An anomalous work called Earth Series #7 includes fabric with embroidery suggesting a spider, and a small found element old book illustration drawing of two boys with birds in cages.

Another work apparently of mourning is called Intersections. A dark landscape of apparent burial ground with two scratched-in outlines of what could be burial plots or coffins, with cross markers. A nearby work presents two imposing black roughly circular splotches and the mysterious single word “Saint,” no further help.

The Edward G. Bisone recent work will be on show through January 31. This is the first show in the new Art Dialogue Gallery, adjacent to its old space, which is now entirely Western New York Artists Group space. Gallery owner and operator Don Siuta said Bisone was one the first artists to show at the gallery when he opened it more than 30 years ago, and his association with the gallery has been a factor in its success over the years.

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