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.

New feature: First Friday follow up

Posted in call for submissions, first friday, upcoming shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2011 by Rebecca

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.

First Friday of the year!

Posted in Benefits, first friday, upcoming shows with tags , , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by Rebecca


Hello, creative loves! As promised, here is your First Friday preview, originally printed in Rochester City Newspaper this very morning.

A fresh new year, and baby it’s cold outside; time to turn toward the community and think of others. January’s First Friday promises exhibitions that will get you thinking, and some even benefit charities. 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, January 7, 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:

At the Arts & Cultural Council (277 N. Goodman St., 473-4000), check out “Parallel Perspectives: 11 Views,” a multimedia exhibit by the women of DRAW (pictured). The exhibition opens 5-8 p.m.

Pictured is an image from "Parallel Perspectives: 11 Views," which will be shown at the Arts & Cultural Council. PHOTO PROVIDED


Booksmart Studio (250 N. Goodman St., 598-9322) will host two openings of photographic works, entitled “Washington to Washington,” by Joel Wellington Fisher, and “In-Habitation,” a juried socio-graphic interpretation of America. The reception runs 6-9 p.m. Over at the Baobab Cultural Center (728 University Ave., 563-2145), Kamoinge, a collective of African-American photographers from New York City, will explore “Neo African Identities.” Catch that reception between 6 and 9 p.m. as well.

Next door, Image City Photography Gallery (722 University Ave., 271-2540) will host its annual juried show, “FOCUS,” which features more than 100 photographers. Equal Grounds coffee house (750 South Ave., 242-7840) will present the colorful drawings and illustrations of Jonha Smith.

Crocus Clay Works (Studio 225, Hungerford Building Door 2, 1115 E Main St., 414-5643) will present “Winter Warmth: a Soup(er) Benefit,” 5-9 p.m., at which you can purchase a $15 handmade bowl and enjoy a hot meal of delicious soup, bread, beverage, and dessert. All proceeds will be donated to Healthy Sisters’ Soup & Bean Project.

Gallery 821 (7 Schoen Place, Pittsford, 385-2131) will host a collaborative exhibit entitled “Exquisite Corpse,” based on the surrealist parlor game of taking turns drawing heads, torsos, and legs on folded papers, then unfolding the sheets to reveal the complete body created in unwitting style combinations. A portion of the proceeds from the art sales will be donated to the transplant unit at Rochester General Hospital. Catch this playful opening 6-8 p.m.