Inward glimpses: “Spyglass” by Sarah C. Rutherford & Brandon Colaprete

Posted in review with tags , , , , , on June 2, 2012 by Rebecca

This post originally appeared on Rochester City Newspaper‘s art blog.

A detail from “Spyglass,” on view at 1975 Gallery through June 16. PHOTO BY REBECCA RAFFERTY

This world hasn’t lost its wonder and its magic for Sarah Rutherford – in fact she insists upon its presence and will manifest it, conjure it up from scavenged detritus wherever it’s not readily apparent. And those who also feel the sweet tug of the beautiful mystery are drawn to her luminous work like so many sleepy little moths, shaking the dust from their wings and hovering about, fascinated. On Thursday, May 31, a flurry of us swarmed to the lantern-lit preview of her new installation, “Spyglass,”created this time not with art collective, The Sweet Meat Co., but with architect Brandon Colaprete. The show is installed at the former Little Bakery spot on Charlotte Street, which will be the future, permanent home of the nomadic-no-longer 1975 Gallery.

On the approach toward the former bakery from Main Street, viewers first spy a whorl of wood surrounding a window and creating a portal; the other side of the building is illustrated with a dreamy mural of clockwork crows.

Once inside, visitors navigate distorted, twisting walls into a created room within a room, where they step into nooks or peek through globes and various found lenses into wee spaces populated by cut-out figures, animals, bones, books, gears, feathers, and all manner of natural nuance. Weatherworn warrior women stand strong, alone, or make silent appeals to elusive, reliable menfolk.

Coming from a background of painting and drawing, Rutherford says “it was wonderful working with someone who thinks in more three-dimensional terms.” Her creative partner in this exhibition is Brandon Colaprete, an architect with Chaintreuil Jensen Stark Architects, which is the firm behind the Eastman Theatre Expansion & Renovation project. In creating “Spyglass,” Rutherford felt herself starting to think differently about space. “The 2-D objects, the crows/figures, etc., became the same as the lumber – all just parts of a whole piece,” she says.

“Brandon pushed me to work in a more planned manner, at least with the overall concept/building of skeleton, and I pushed him to loosen up,” she says. “This wasn’t a building or a permanent thing we were creating. It was a place to explore ideas and concepts in a more organic way. We were creating something that will be destroyed after two weeks of being finished. I think that freedom was fun for him, but also a challenge.”

The setting feels like a fragile, broken down sylvan cathedral, a sacred spot protected by all things capably feral. And like any stumbling upon the fae world, it might not be there the next time you visit. Above the reconstructed bits of architectural salvage, more clockwork crow illustrations soar among lights and cut paper which casts layers of shadows above and below. A life-sized, seated king-of-the-forest figure presides over the scene, but various beings watch viewers from every direction. Step up to one nook to find a secret boy child on high, spying down on all.

Like all of Rutherford’s endeavors, “Spyglass” is rife with unexpected nuance, and discovering it all could fill many hours. The origin of Spyglass began with a piece Rutherford created for last year’s Sweet Meat Co. installation, “Welcome to Sweetsville,” in which she used lenses given to her by 1975 Gallery owner and fellow Sweet Meat artist, Erich Lehman, to create a little viewing box with materials scavenged from an abandoned warehouse. “I wanted to play with that same idea but on a smaller scale – drawing the viewer into a private, intimate viewing experience,” says Rutherford. “After the show, I couldn’t stop thinking about what it would be like to make a whole room act in the same way – playing with the idea on a large scale and also on a intimate scale.”

Scavenging materials for the art is ever a part of the process for Rutherford and her friends. “It’s what I do, it’s what the crows do, it’s how this show was built. We as artists are scavengers – whether we use found materials or simply scavenge ideas and visual reference from our environment,” she says.

“The crows also have such impact for me as a visual reference for Rochester,” says Rutherford. “They are an integral part of our community and so powerful when they unite as this huge group or murder of birds. It’s in the same way that I look at our community. We are all uniquely beautiful, different, but coming together has its own power that could never be created working alone.” Though “Spyglass” was primarily created by the artist pair, Rutherford says “the wonderful group of people who participated both with labor and with support are both why it exists and what fuels me.”

“For this show, it was important to me that nothing was “for sale,” says Rutherford. “I truly wanted the show to be something that was about the experience and also heavily built around impermanence.” But after working on two Sweet Meat Co. installations, Rutherford was aware of how expensive they can become. Her solution was to create an eventual takeaway component of the exhibit: each person who donates $40 dollars towards the show will receive one of the crow drawings at its completion. “I liked this idea instead of simply asking one or two people to fund the whole exhibit – this way it is funded by the community,” says Rutherford. “They are the reason it exists.”

Rutherford’s breadcrumb trail might soon appear in different cities. “This installation was very much based around the building – its shape and flow, but also based around Rochester,” assembled from “discarded and forgotten pieces of our fine city,” says Rutherford. “I would love to work on this idea in a different city, using its fabric to see how that would translate.”

“For me, this show doesn’t feel “complete”, its an exploration, a part of a whole,” says Rutherford. Each installation feels to her like a chapter from a book – they are completed in a finite period of time, build momentum and background from the last endeavor, and create anticipation for what will come next.

“Spyglass: A Viewing Experience”
by Sarah C. Rutherford & Brandon Colaprete
1975 Gallery, 89 Charlotte Street
Saturday, June 2, 4-10 p.m.
Limited Showings from June 5-16:
Tuesday-Friday 6-9 p.m., Saturday 4-8 p.m.
OurSpyglass.com, 1975ish.com

“Specimens of the New Growth” closing soon!

Posted in alternative spaces, interview, review with tags , on September 29, 2011 by Rebecca

Through Sunday, October 2, you can still catch Robert Frank Abplanalp’s recent body of work, “Specimens of the New Growth,” at Record Archive (33 1/3 Rockwood St.). I grabbed an evening beer with the artist recently to discuss his work, which is born of an interest in inevitable cycles, and of a fascinated horror over the diminutive, but undeniably powerful, aspects of nature. “New Growth” is innately unsettling, because of the decay from which it emerges.

The works depict “new nature inspired by nature, growing,” says Abplanalp, and are characterized by both horrific and playful vignettes. The subject matter of the paintings, drawings, and found-object sculptures is mainly fantastic imagery derived from the mind of the artist, but based on real plant life, bugs, and the like, as well as “a couple of gods, of course,” says the artist, referring to the “Slug God” and “God of the Soil” works.

This later painting presides as a sort of centerpiece of the show, he says.  In this work, the calm, slightly unfocused gaze of a face emerges from the malleable earth. “It’s based on a Mayan god that I found in a book, and the painting is extremely earthly – I just imagine this god made out of mud, rising out of the soil, and all these bugs living inside of him, and of course he’s very powerful. He is the earth.”

"i found squid head" by Robert Frank Abplanalp, part of "Specimens for the New Growth," currently up at Record Archive. PHOTO PROVIDED BY ARTIST

This body of work has been in progress for a bit, says Abplanalp. “I had been working in my sketchbooks for about the last year and a half, and had been doing a lot of plant life stuff, organisms, and bugs, and thinking a lot of what’s under the rocks, or behind bark, things like that. So the drawings kind of drove the show.” He describes his creation process as animating his ideas in the truest sense: “the way I was drawing was as if the drawings were growing. If I’m drawing a plant, I’m imagining it growing as I’m drawing it.”

Also included in the show are small and large canvases that had been in progress for about three years, which “couldn’t come together until these drawings were done,” says Abplanalp.  “So I concentrated on that, just drawing every day, my own nature.” Additionally, over the past 5 or 6 years, the artist has been playing around with little arrangements of found objects, “some natural, some pieces of industrial rubble, found on train tracks, in the woods, on the side of the road.” Eventually he shaped them into compositions which are also included in the exhibit.

Abplanalp’s reaction to insects is fairly normal and wise mix of interest and caution –  “I’m extremely fascinated by bugs, insects, and spiders and I had this idea that I wanted to start collecting bugs, but I’m also extremely terrified of them. So I don’t know if I can actually do it, because when I get close to them, I feel like I’m going to throw up.” His work thus far has included some found cicada corpses.

As we’re talking, of course, a giant albino spider tightropes its way across the metal grate tabletop, seemingly as disturbed by us as we are by it.

You might note the playful, anthropomorphized nature projected onto the artist’s depictions of the wee beasts, while they still retain their alien, unknowable nature. “They are not like scientific drawings,” he says, “it’s a whole world of stuff going on, so the creatures tend to have personalities…they are kind of playing, interacting with each other in a human way. But they are also reflecting the horror of the unseen world – what’s happening in the dirt, the soil. It’s horrible.”

Go see it: “Specimens of the New Growth: Recent works by Robert Frank Abplanalp.” Record Archive, 33 1/3 Rockwood St. Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun noon-5 p.m. recordarchive.com.

August First Friday preview

Posted in first friday, quick pokes, upcoming shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2011 by Rebecca

Holy crap, guys, it’s August. Here’s your FF preview, originally printed in Rochester City Newspaper on Wednesday, August 3.

We’re well past the mid-year threshold, and tumbling faster toward darker colder days. So let’s not squander one of this year’s last balmy First Fridays by staying in. The monthly, city-wide gallery night is held by non-profit, university, and commercial and indie art venues in Rochester, where we all trot about from station to station, filling our eyes and ears with what’s new and exciting in our community. On Friday, August 5, 6-9 p.m. (and sometimes later) you can check out art openings, poetry readings, and musical performances in various locations. Visit firstfridayrochester.org for a list of this month’s participating venues, and check our online events calendar at rochestercitynewspaper.com for more receptions and exhibits. Rochester Contemporary’s annual “State of the City” exhibition returns with “In the Loop,” featuring new artworks and projects regarding the divisive inner loop by Jim Mott, Cary Markerink, Mark Edward Grimm, The Landmark Society of Western New York, and Bartow+Metzgar with James Downer & Greg Stewart.

 

This exhibition kicks off the “Transitions-Rochester” project, which continues through November 13 and is an international collaboration between VSW, FOTODOK (The Netherlands), George Eastman House, and Rochester Contemporary. The reception for “In the Loop” takes place at the Rochester Contemporary (137 East Ave., 461-2222, rochestercontemporary.org), 6-10 p.m., and admission is $1 for non-members. An artist talk follows on Sunday, August 7 at 1 p.m.

At the Firehouse Gallery at the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education (713 Monroe Ave., 244-1730, geneseearts.org), artists Allison Craver and Lynne Hobaica will close out their residency with their joint-exhibition “Curio.” The functional ceramics include Craver’s delicate treasure chests and Hobaica’s whimsical works with renderings of robots and dinosaurs.

"Ralph Gibson: Photographs" will open at Lumiere Photo's new Spectrum Gallery. PHOTO PROVIDED

The brand new Spectrum Gallery at Lumiere Photo’s new location (100 College Ave., 461-4447, lumierephoto.com) will host a striking exhibition of “Ralph Gibson: Photographs.”  Cross the train tracks and visit the Hungerford building’s offerings, including Crocus Clay Works (Suite 225, 414-5643, crocusclayworks.com), which from 5 to 9 p.m. will host “Adornments & Adorables,” a show of works by Casey Wright and Amanda Preske, the ladies behind the popular Mayday Underground craft fair. While in the building, stop at Grass Roots Gallery (Suite 157, Door 1) for “bART without Orders,” a collaboration between Stephen Lindsey and Colleen Virdi.

First Friday, July edition

Posted in alternative spaces, first friday, pop-up galleries, quick pokes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2011 by Rebecca

I can’t believe it’s July already.

Here’s my little FF preview, originally printed in Rochester City Newspaper this week.

Many of the major galleries and museums are between shows for this edition of First Friday, giving you the opportunity to focus your attention on the smaller spaces and alternative venues you might not normally check out. The monthly, city-wide gallery night is held by non-profit, university, and commercial and indie art venues in Rochester, where we all trot about from station to station, filling our eyes and ears with what’s new and exciting in our community. On Friday, July 1, 6-9 p.m. (and sometimes later) you can check out art openings, poetry readings, and musical performances in various locations. Visit firstfridayrochester.org for a list of this month’s participating venues, and check our online events calendar at rochestercitynewspaper.com for more receptions and exhibits.

July’s featured artist at The Gallery @ Equal Grounds (750 South Ave., 242-7840) will be Tim Mack, who presents his wildly patterned and whimsical “Collection of Curiosities” 7-9 p.m. More creative strangeness can be found in the surreal works of Sean Madden, presented by Art to Zen Tattoo (4363 Lake Ave., 621-3515), which kicks off at 8 p.m. and will also feature live music by The Freakness.

Across town at the Baobab Cultural Center (728 University Ave., 563-2145), check out the work of Jim Pappas, Jack White, and Eddie Davis. Next door, Image City Photography Gallery (722 University Ave., 271-2540) will host “Light & Form, Time & Place,” the architectural, abstract, black-and-white photos of D. G. Adams.

PHOTO COURTESY D. G. ADAMS

Just a bit down the road is collectible art-toy haven Plastic (34 Elton St., 563, 6348), where local artists Melissa Cantwell, Marta Filipek, Bryce Grantham, Bill Hand, Chuck Harrison, John Perry, and Bill Pifer will present a custom toy show entitled “The Lowbrow Art Project: Rochester Edition.”

At the Hungerford Building (1115. E Main St.), many artists and groups will have their studios open for the public to view the work and speak with them. The Main Street Artists (Door 2, Suite 458, 233-5645) will feature work by Sandy Grana Kesel, among other member artists, at a 5-9 p.m. reception.

In keeping with the tangle of fiber shows happening locally, Nazareth College Arts Center Gallery (4245 East Ave., naz.edu) will host “Sum of the Parts: Art Quilts by Pat Pauly,” with a 6-8 p.m. reception.

In addition to these events, NeighborWorks Rochester and Sector 4 CDC are transforming a vacant storefront (757 Genesee St.) into an art gallery which will feature works by more than twenty local and student artists. The show takes place 6-9 p.m.

First Friday in the sunshine

Posted in first friday, quick pokes, upcoming shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2011 by Rebecca

First Friday is tonight! Here’s the preview, originally published in Rochester City Newspaper

It’s June, which means a few things for the arts community. Many – but not all – of the local college galleries have gone on vacation. It’s the sixth month, which means Rochester Contemporary’s super successful, annual “6×6” show and sale is back. And finally, the weather allows you to fully enjoy your First Friday art trek. Visit firstfridayrochester.org for a list of this month’s participating venues, and check our online events calendar at rochestercitynewspaper.com for more receptions and exhibits.

You can preview Rochester Contemporary‘s “6x6x2011: Global” exhibition Wednesday-Friday, June 1-3, 1-10 p.m. (as well as online at roco6x6x.org). The actual opening party and artwork sale takes place Saturday, June 4, 6-10 p.m., and admission is $5. By now you know the drill: buy numbered stickers for $20 each, stalk your favorite pieces, and at the signal, claim them. Online purchasing follows on June 6 at 10 a.m.

At the Record Archive (33 1/3 Rockwood St., 244-1210), a group of Rochester artists will pay tribute to another in “Declan Ryan: An American Icon,” with a variety of works by Trudy Feikert, The Professor of Rap, the Family Storms, and more.

Over at the Hungerford Building (1115 E. Main St., thehungerford.com), The Rochester Art Club Studio (Door 2, Suite 437, 439) will feature work by Kathleen Hanney and Phil Bliss at a 5-9 p.m. reception. Stop by Crocus Clay Works (Suite 225, 414-5643, crocusclayworks.com) to check out “Graffita: Not Your Average Brazilian Post Card, Sabbatical Artwork by Kaaren Anderson,” also 5-9 p.m. For one night only, 6-9 p.m., you can visit post-apocalyptic “Museum of Future Past” (Door 2, Suite 129), which through artifacts and Marvel comic story arcs will bring viewers into the mythos of superhero and super-villain characters no longer with us. “The age of heroes has come to an end,” says artist Chris Wells, “but hope still remains.”

Studio 215 in the Anderson Alley Building (250 N. Goodman St., 490-1210) will host “School’s Out for Summer,” a collaboration with students who want to express themselves outside of the art room. Artist and educator Heather Erwin will be on hand to aid with exploring the creative process, and supplies will be provided while they last. Over at the Firehouse Gallery at Genesee Pottery (713 Monroe Ave., 271-5183), take in “Intake,” an exhibition of new work by artist and Nazareth College professor Mitch Messina. The Renaissance Art Gallery (74 St. Paul St., 423-8235) will hold a reception 6-8 p.m. for “Through the Artist’s Eye,” a show of new oils and watercolors by Judy Soprano.

An image from Judy Soprano's "Through the Artist's Eye," at Renaissance Art Gallery. PHOTO PROVIDED

First Friday: May edition

Posted in first friday, upcoming shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2011 by Rebecca

Here’s your FF preview, loves, originally printed this morn in Rochester City Newspaper

Here we are in the merry month of May, when all of the freshly graduated art students spill out into the world and on to their creative paths. But first, they must present their thesis exhibitions, allowing you to preview the fresh talent that’s about to hit Rochester and the world. This First Friday, hot spots for thesis shows are not only on college campuses, but also in the rambling Hungerford Building and in gallery spaces around town. The monthly, city-wide gallery night is held by non-profit, university, and commercial and indie art venues in Rochester, where we all trot about from station to station, filling our eyes and ears with what’s new and exciting in our community. On Friday, May 6, 6-9 p.m. (and sometimes later) you can check out art openings, poetry readings, and musical performances in various locations. Visit firstfridayrochester.org for a list of this month’s participating venues, and check our online events calendar at rochestercitynewspaper.com for more receptions and exhibits.

The Hungerford Building (1115 E. Main St., thehungerford.com) will host loads of thesis exhibitions, including “Current” by ceramics MFA student Virginia Pfau, which takes place 6-10 p.m. in suite 311; “O’WHAHSA’,” Leah Shenandoah’s MFA show with sculpture, fashion, jewelry, and music, and a 7 p.m. performance in suite 404; the RIT metals and jewelry BFA exhibition in suite 310, including Lia Beauchemin’s “Every Other Day” and Kate Cosden’s “Reflex.”

While you’re in the Hungerford, check out functional and decorative ceramic wares Crocus Clay Works (Suite 225, 414-5643, crocusclayworks.com), which will also host “Bird’s Eye View,” a show of handmade bird houses by Carol Snook. Throughout the building, more than 25 resident artists will host open studios for the Leap into Spring at the Hungerford event, 5-10 p.m. Travel southbound on Goodman to the Village Gate (320 N. Goodman St., unit 209) to view the RIT Industrial Design Senior Show, with more than 20 artists who contributed work under this year’s theme, the symbol “#.”

“Off the Newsprint,” a showing of work by a team of former illustrators for the Democrat & Chronicle, will be on view at Studio 215 in the Anderson Alley Building (250 N. Goodman St., 966-5953). Participating in the exhibit are Heather Erwin, David Cowles, Maria Friske, Joanne Andrews, and Christopher Fisher. The Firehouse Gallery at Genesee Pottery (713 Monroe Ave., 271-5183) will host ceramic sculptor Tybre Newcomer’s “Sanctuary,” which pays homage to the role of tools through the creation of reliquaries for the objects. At the American Association of University Women’s Perkins Mansion (484 East Ave., 244-8890), photojournalist Kris Dreessen provides a look into the consequences of industrialization in post-civil-war Central and South American communities in “Life in Remote Places: A Fragile Balance.”

An image from Kris Dreessen's photo exhibition, opening at Perkins Mansion this Friday. PHOTO COURTESY KRIS DREESSEN


First Friday, no joke

Posted in first friday, quick pokes, upcoming shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2011 by Rebecca

Don’t be an April fool; go check out the multitude of art openings taking place this week. First Friday, the monthly city-wide gallery night, is held by non-profit, university, and commercial and indie art venues in Rochester, where we all trot about from station to station, filling our eyes and ears with what’s new and exciting in our community. On Friday, April 1, 6-9 p.m. (and sometimes later) you can check out art openings, poetry readings, and musical performances in various locations. Visit firstfridayrochester.org for a list of this month’s participating venues, and check out all the flyers in cafes and such for more events happening the same night. Here are just a few:

Rochester Contemporary (137 East Ave., rochestercontemporary.org) and The Surface Design Association will present the “Northeast Regional Contemporary Fiber Exhibit,” with artworks by 22 fiber artists from the region. The reception takes place 6-10 p.m. At FourWalls Art Gallery (179 Atlantic Ave., fourwallsartgallery@gmail.com), a photographic thesis exhibition by Sara Tkac entitled “You Look Just Like Her” will open 6-9 p.m.

During your travels through the Hungerford Building (1115 E. Main St., thehungerford.com) be sure to stop by Crocus Clay Works (Suite 225, 414-5643, crocusclayworks.com) to check out the functional and decorative ceramic wares, as well as “Bears and Brews,” featuring handmade works by John Ballou, the local artist behind JackBear Stamps, as well as local brews, 5-9 p.m. On the first floor, check out “Numb: Portraits from the Pharmaceutical Age,” by Lisa Zarnstorff at Grassroots Gallery (Suite 157, thegrassrootsgallery.com), 5-10 p.m., and artwork by Maidie Andrews at All Things Reggae Art Gallery (Suite 166, mamajahwit@yahoo.com), 6-10 p.m.

 

Check out Ann Porter's stained-glass works in the "Hawks and Doves" exhibit at the Shoe Factory Art Co-op.

“Hawks and Doves: Perspectives on American and the World in Conflict” opens 6-10 p.m. at The Shoe Factory Art Co-op and the Military History Society of Rochester (250 N. Goodman St., Floor 2. 732-0036, shoefactoryarts.com), with art contributed by a horde of 28 local artists, including some of my faves: Jim Mott, Stephen Dorobiala, and Ann Porter. On the same floor, head over to The Blackbird Press studio of Robert Marx (Suite 211-213) for an exhibition and sale of the artist’s paintings, prints, and sculpture, taking place 4:30-8 p.m.

This info-bit originally published on Wednesday in Rochester City Newspaper.