Archive for the alternative spaces Category

“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.


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 for a list of this month’s participating venues, and check our online events calendar at 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.


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., 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.

That undying graffiti debate

Posted in alternative spaces, guerilla art shows, pop-up galleries, quick pokes on March 22, 2011 by Rebecca

I contributed to Rochester City Newspaper’s Annual Manual 2011 with a piece about outdoor art in Rochester, and the attention I gave to graffiti art annoyed one reader. View the piece here.


The "Legal Wall" behind Village Gate. CITY NEWSPAPER FILE PHOTO

Let’s open this discussion up to a wider audience. What are your thoughts on graffiti? Respond on City’s website or here.

“Nothing New” opens Friday night

Posted in alternative spaces, art collectives, first friday, upcoming shows with tags , , , , , , on March 3, 2011 by Rebecca

If you don’t already have this reception on your First Friday trek skedge, take note. Presented by 1975 Gallery, “Nothing New: The Ruminations & Imaginings of Sarah C. Rutherford and St. Monci” will open tomorrow night, 6-9 p.m. at Booksmart Gallery (250 N. Goodman St., entrance on Anderson Alley), and will run through March 26.

Despite the title, the show will feature new, mammoth work by each artist (including a 40 foot painting by Monci) as well as collaborative works between the two. All works draw from the artists’ visual and stylistic vocabularies, each finding new ways of looking at and expressing familiar subjects. Custom frames, constructed (with the help of Felix Caruthers, who is featured in one of Rutherford’s works) of found fascinations, will grace Rutherford’s work.

Rutherford's in-prog dreamy portrait of Mary Cross (and pal), with reclaimed-object frame.

Since vague ruminations of the show settled into Rutherford’s consciousness, she’s been sharing bits and peeks of reference photos, sketches, works-in-prog, and inspirations on a virtual progress blog dedicated to this endeavor.

Last week, I stopped over to Sarah’s studio to check out her nearly-finished works, as well as many of the collab pieces with St. Monci. Rutherford’s fantastical illustration style paired with her serious portrait skills have made superhero gypsy-vagrants of her circle of muse-friends. The show “is about the people I’m painting, obviously through my lens, but I am trying to give them a power of maybe…how they’d like to see themselves,” Rutherford says, in discussing what she calls the “fantasy-aspect, edging toward superhero.” Her portrait of 1975 Gallery director Erich Lehman, for example, reveals him as a champion of the arts and patron saint of the skaters, with his gaze raised and eyes set on some soon-to-be-realized vision.

The colorful, nostalgic paintings lend a sense of urban-fairytale adventure and contain steampunk, street, and natural elements. For the collab works, Rutherford says, St. Monci would typically begin work with his ribbons and jets of spray paint, and she would play off of his colors and forms.

Collab work by Rutherford and St. Monci.

Monci’s tight, kinetic, and soaring paintwork will have room to elicit maximum awe with that giant painting he’s promised. You can preview the progress at his site or on the lovely photography blog of his eagle-eyed wife, Hannah Betts.

This show is the second presented at Booksmart by 1975 Gallery, which will hold exhibitions twice annually in the space. A small-edition exhibition catalog produced at Booksmart will accompany the show. Also, 1975’s creator, Erich Lehman, designed this rad show card.

See you there.
See you there.

First Friday, March!

Posted in alternative spaces, art collectives, first friday, pop-up galleries, quick pokes, upcoming shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2011 by Rebecca

So, we’ve had little teases of spring on and off, but now it’s back to frigidness (Rochester, she is a fickle bitch). Will we be bundling for Friday’s art trek, or liberated in, at best, 30something degree weather? (har)

In any case, here is a preview of some of the gems opening up this Friday (first printed in Rochester City Newspaper this morn)…

March’s art scene, like the weather, is rolling in as fiercely as a lion. 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, March 4, 6-9 p.m. (and sometimes later) you can check out art openings, poetry readings, and musical performances in various locations. Visit 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:

1975 Gallery at Booksmart Studio (250 N. Goodman St., will present a new show by two members of Sweet Meat Co., “Nothing New: The Ruminations & Imaginings of Sarah C. Rutherford and St. Monci,” with new work by both artists as well as collaborations between the two.

One of Sarah C. Rutherford and St. Monci's epic collabs in "Nothing New..." opening this Friday. More on this soon...

“Winter Blooms” will open at the Firehouse Gallery at Genesee Pottery (713 Monroe Ave., 271-5183), and will feature artistic, functional ceramic work by Giselle Hicks and Kala Stein.

The Hungerford Urban Artisans (The Hungerford, 1115 E. Main St., will present the “FLUX: THAW at the Hungerford” in Suite 258, and continuing on Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m. through March. Arti Gras comes to Anderson Alley Artists (250 N. Goodman St., 442-3516,, with open studios, shopping, live Zydeco music and dancing, Friday 5-9 p.m., and continuing on Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. While in the building, be sure to check out “Collaboration Collisions” with work by local artist Heather Erwin and NYC artist Duane Sherwood, in Studio 215, 6-9 p.m.

The Mill Art Center and Gallery and The Rabbit Room (61 N Main St, Honeoye Falls., 624-7740, will host “Relevant: An HF-L Alumni Art Exhibition,” with work by Honeoye Falls-Lima High School alum, and includes work by internationally acclaimed artists. The 6 p.m. opening will feature live music by Steve Grills and the Roadmasters.

On the alternative-spaces front, check out “Book of Nights” work by Aydin Ture at Living Room Cafe (1118 Monroe Ave,, 6-8 p.m. And at the Gallery at Rubino’s Cafe (1659 Mt. Hope Ave., 271-0110), 5-7 p.m., you will find “Whimsical Art” by Margot Fass, Mollie Wolf, and Martha Schermerhorn.

First Friday February reactions

Posted in alternative spaces, first friday with tags , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by Rebecca

Last night’s FF travels included some very luscious pop paintings in “The Two Headed Love Show” by Lucinda Storms at the Record Archive, and a trio of artists presenting paintings and installations at Four Walls Gallery’s debut show, “Form & Substance,” at the spanking new location [ 179 Atlantic ].

Today I’ll check out more of the newly opened shows, including the Mentors & Mentors exhibit at Rochester Contemporary [ which will hold the artists’ talk on Sunday at 1 p.m. ]. I’m also excited about a near-future lunch date with Sabra Wood of Crocus Clay Works. What manner of artsy-goings-on and local charity matters will I report? Stay tuned, dear readers.

Lucinda Storms

A view of Lucinda Storms' new work, painted under her creative alias "Belvedere." Those empties indicate works sold off the wall.

The colorful, creamily stroked, and whimsical paintings by Lucinda Storms [ aka artistic alias “Belvedere” ] make it exceedingly hard to maintain a grumpy mood. Her new show at the Record Archive presents a selection of cheeky-messaged candy hearts [ the familiar shape modified with endearing to not-so- phrases like “my nerd,” “scum bag,” and “booger” ]. Other works include human-plant hybrid girls, trippy, smokable butterflies, and some of her silhouette paintings of birds inspired by Audubon.

Storms' sweet sylvan sprites: "Nature Girl" and "Amanita M."

"Monarch Doobiefly"

At Four Walls, gallery director Shawn Dunwoody enthusiastically pointed out a favorite feature: the large windows. The former gallery space in the basement of 34 Elton Street was roomy to be sure, but entirely without natural light or a way to show the art off to passers by.

Victor Pacheco's "Fighter Cock #5" seen through the window front of 179 Atlantic Avenue

Local sculptor Victor Pacheco’s “Fighter Cocks #5” is a work of cast, welded, and riveted battling bird-jets gliding over a bed of undulating, sweeping wood strips. Also in the “Form & Substance” show is his “Extraction Site,” a wall-installation of  a moving oil drilling rig pumping through a bank of ice.

Detail of Pacheco's "Fighter Cocks #5"

Francesca Lalanne’s work reflects her fascination with refining and renewing the surfaces of wood and metal, and draws parallels between the imperfections in and perpetual refinement of those materials and of the body and self. She finds stories in scars, and states that her work is often less about the object being created than the materials and language she is using.

A figurative mixed media work by Francesca Lalanne

Artist and professor Kitty Hubbard’s “Housing Projects” are inspired by her youth helping her mother fix up broken-down homes. “She has always been able to see the potential in buildings, and people,” Hubbard says. Other works in the exhibit address financial strains we feel “as individuals and as a country,” she says. The works incorporate shredded credit card bills and wax, “just barely holding the house together.” Lit from within, the former group emanates a sense of life and hope, but the darkened “discover MC visa” do not lend the same sentiment.

Detail of Kitty Hubbards' wax and milk container "broken homes"

February First Friday Preview

Posted in alternative spaces, first friday, upcoming shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2011 by Rebecca

As seen in this morning’s Rochester City Newspaper

The bitter cold may be tempting you to stay in and skip February’s First Friday, so I’m here to tell you what you won’t want to miss. The monthly city-wide gallery night is held by non-profit, university, and commercial and indie art venues, 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, February 4, 6-9 p.m. (and sometimes later) you can check out art openings, poetry readings, and musical performances in various locations. Visit 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:

Start your night off with a preview of art’s future with the Fourth Annual Invitational Showcase for Student Artwork at the Bevier Gallery (RIT, Booth Building, 132 Lomb Memorial Drive, 475-2646), 5-7 p.m., which includes work from more than 300 area middle- and high-school art students.

Rochester Contemporary Art Center (137 East Ave., 461-2222) will present its annual Mentors & Makers exhibition, this year featuring new sculpture by artists and educators Wendell Castle and Nancy Jurs, and their former students Tom Lacagnina and Bethany Krull. The reception takes place 8-10 p.m.; while there, check out the LAB Space exhibition, “Charlie Arnold: Pioneer of Electrostatic Art,” which is part of the “Thaw” area-wide collaboration of simultaneous shows.


A new work by Wendell Castle, part of the "Mentors & Makers" exhibit opening at Rochester Contemporary.

Another “Thaw” exhibition opens Friday at the Hungerford Building (1115 E. Main St.), with “Thaw: Melting Hearts” at Crocus Clay Works (Suite 225, 414-5643), which will include a variety of ceramic works by Christine & Brian Krieger, Sabra Wood, and Jennifer Buckley. The Main Street Artists’ Gallery & Studio (Suite 458, 223-2006) will feature art by Christine Norris as well as original small works.

Also part of “Thaw” is “No Boundaries: New Expressions in Black Art,” which opens 6-9 p.m. at the Baobab Cultural Center (728 University Ave., 563-2145) and will include works by Hiram Cray, Edreys Wajed, Michelle Harris, and Shawn Dunwoody.

“Shedding Light” by Pamela Vander Zwan will open at Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince St., 442-8676), with a companion show, “A Reading Room for Shedding Light,” at the Link Gallery at Central Library (115 South Ave.). The reception takes place 6-9 p.m. and will feature work that “asks fundamental questions about participation in democratic society” (per the press release) through the pairing of “photographs of blindfolded people in situations that demand the use of sight or adaptation to a lack of sight,” with Braille reading stations “that put the viewer into a situation in which sight does not automatically equal awareness.”

Since the bar stays open until 2 a.m., the “Lux Be a Lady” show at Lux Lounge (666 South Ave., might be your last stop of the evening, though the opening’s official hours are 6-9 p.m. It’s ladies night for the next month or so, featuring work by Rheytchul Chickenbone, Sarah Rutherford, Stacey Mrva, Juni Moon, Lea Rizzo, and Sara Purr.


I'll drink to this.