New feature: First Friday follow up

Warm greetings, Rochester! One of the original intentions I had for this space was to respond to (not just preview) First Friday gallery openings. For years, I’ve done the FF trek nearly every month, visiting different spaces and checking out the new art offerings and considering what I might write about for City Newspaper. Some shows I choose to review, some I don’t, but I want to use this space, in part, to fill in those gaps — there are many more interesting shows than we have space for in newsprint.

Being that I was recovering from the worst cold I’ve had in recent history, my troupe had a bit of a short night this past Friday, and visited only 5 venues this time, but it was a cheerful trip around the local art circuit, and super sweet to run into familiar faces also braving the frigid-aired art trek…

Our first stop was Equal=Grounds Gallery, for the Jonha Smith show, “Adorably Human,” which featured colorful, shaman-y marker drawings of birds and other beasts, as well as one stunning collage. Definitely worth an extended peek next time you’re in for a latte.


Smith's work makes me happy.

While at the cafe, gallery manager Beth Bloom reminded me about this fun little call for work.

At Booksmart Studio Gallery, a duo of shows included “In Habitation,” which presented a small photography exhibit which explores “the landscape and infrastructure of America, the population responsible for it, and the symbiotic relationship between the two,” per the press release. Among these are Alison Smith’s double diptych that reveals the banal monotony found in organized neighborhoods, and Daniel Kariko’s aerials of new suburban sites; often single houses awaiting their neighbors to complete the loop, resting on scraps of encouraged greenery in a development-ravaged wasteland.

The second show is “Washington to Washington,” Joel Wellington Fisher’s series of portraits of seemingly innocuous, isolated, edge-of-suburbia landscapes of significance to the 2002 D.C. Sniper shootings that took place in. “Fear and terror have disrupted daily spaces,” say Fisher; the images are eerie scenes pregnant with recent aftermath and alienation in our paranoid, post 9/11 society.

From there, we journeyed upstairs to the Anderson Alley Studios — who host Second Saturdays open studio days complete with tours and classes; the next one is Saturday, February 12 — on the specific mission to check out the opening party for Matté Baxendell’s Nosferatu Studios. Matté creates lovely-dark photo collages which flirt with themes of revelry in light, death, decay, and remnants through the passage of time.

Matté designed "Arcana In Tabulatis" for a fundraiser for Ithaca's Museum of the Earth.

The Creative Wellness Coalition, in addition to a showing of expressive work by Coalition participants, hosted “Dimensions of Wonder,” a group of vibrant and fantastical paintings by young painter Kt Ferris, who will be off to the Fashion Institute of Technology in the fall.

Our last stop was over to the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education, particularly for the Firehouse Gallery’s exhibition of recent gorgeous carved stoneware work by Syracuse University ceramics prof David MacDonald, and the Book Arts Gallery’ s showing of witty and inspiring letterpress posters by Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., who also has work up at the Art & Music Library at the University of Rochester’s Rush Rhees Library, and the Frederick Douglass Resource Center. Read about Kennedy’s visit to Rochester, workshops, and screenings of the documentary about him on the Genesee Center’s site. His work will also be part of a trio of shows up this February at High Falls Art Gallery.

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