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Arts Commedia

Fred Mount's "Man Offering Woman Perfection," part of the Buffalo Society of Artists spring show.

Buffalo Society of Artists annual spring show at Buffalo Arts Studio

“Dying is easy, comedy is hard,” any number of great performance artists have been said to have said on their deathbed, going back to the Romantic era Shakespearean actor Edmund Kean, forward to Stan Laurel and Groucho Marx. Much the same with comic visual art, if the general dearth of it is any indication.

Thus noteworthy that there’s an excellent comic piece in the Buffalo Society of Artist’s annual spring show currently up at Buffalo Arts Studio. A posed photo, it looks like, a new take on the old story of Adam and Eve and the apple, the Adam character in this case doubling up with the much more interesting snake role. The Eve not so naïve and gullible this time—if that’s at all a fair assessment, but the fact is she always got the brunt of the blame—but much more circumspect. She looks like she’s learned her lesson and is not going to fall for the apple ruse this time out. The piece is by Fred Mount and is entitled Man Offering Woman Perfection, in the form of a perfect golden apple. It’s in a modern setting and modern dress (as opposed to no dress at all in the original, a story about the invention of dress, among everything else).

The same artist has another photo that looks to be from Korea. It’s called Woman Putting Her Face On and shows a young woman slipping a brown bag with paste-on eyes and mouth over her head as passersby—it’s in a public space, with street signs in Korean lettering—alternately look on wonderingly or don’t seem to notice.

Matthew Knisley has an exquisitely executed graphite and charcoal drawing on fiber paper of some kind of horned ungulate quadruped and various symbolic-looking imagery in circles, like the signs of the zodiac, but not the zodiac. The combination of beautiful drawing—delicate, soft, almost as if faded—and exotic imagery, on papyrus-like paper, gives a sense of something ancient and unfamiliar, to be deciphered. Something from an Egyptian tomb, perhaps.

James Sedwick has a multiple photographic work called Chrysalis, presenting in one part a wooden bed frame, and within the frame not a bed but an irregularly angular black object, otherwise nondescript, vaguely suggesting a bier, a pall-draped coffin, and in another a mirror-repetitive image of a butterfly on a stalk, in all butterfly variegation glory. A work about death and resurrection. Dante’s angelica farfalla.

Brenda Molloy’s Subtle Energy Mix presents wispy smoke patterns of pigment and acrylic in a kind of circle and more or less tangent line to it, demonstrating minimalist gravitational attractive forces. Whatever rises must converge.

Among sculptural works, Rich Tomasella has an all-white tricycle with basket containing a gas mask, maybe for the unlikely case of chemical warfare, maybe the more likely case of ambient air pollution. And Bill Wilson a handsome work in bronze-tone welded steel consisting of circles and a sphere and a jumble of rounded-corner rectangles.

Michelle Agosto has a photo of a painted yellow abandoned brick building. A structure with a past but no utilitarian present, a nostalgia depiction. Karla J. Love a photo-pictorialist perfect dome of gloaming brightness above and amid an indistinct embrace of leafy trees and landscape. And Joseph Porreca a photo exemplar of tactile values, showing an iron street or sidewalk plate incised with linear grooves and the concise label “GAS,” and further marked with paint remains, rust, and general wear and tear.

Other paintings include a lovely impressionistic landscape with copious clouds and sky by James East; a kind of dream vision ballet subject painting—two ghostly dancers in arabesque pose in a spacious and sunlight-infused performance space—by Chuck Tingley; an abstract expressionist work of predominant red paint incised with inchoative cup and beaker forms, by Eileen Pleasure O’Brien; and a painting by Elizabeth Leader called This House Is Falling Down that is not of a house at all but is a bust portrait of a woman, aging, aged, calmly, composedly, quietly facing whatever.

Just a few of the many fine works in this exhibit, which continues through April 26.

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