Archive for Record Archive

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

First Friday 11/5 preview

Posted in alternative spaces, art collectives, first friday, upcoming shows with tags , , , , , , , on November 5, 2010 by Rebecca

This brief preview of tonight’s First Friday openings originally printed in Rochester City Newspaper.

Nov FF events include the maiden show hosted by The Shoe Factory Co-op, featuring boot & shoe-themed work. Photo by Michael Rivera.

November seems to be photography exhibit month, but that’s not the only media Rochester has in store for you this 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, November 5, 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:

Equal Grounds coffee house (750 South Ave, will host an opening reception for “A Flash of the Surreal,” an exhibition of high-contrast black-and-white photography by Laura Prochilo, 6-8 p.m. “Simplicity” is another photo show of work by the Community Darkroom Monitors, which opens at the Community Darkroom at the Genesee Center for the Arts and Education (713 Monroe Ave, 244-1730) 7-9 p.m.

The Gallery at the Record Archive (33 1/3 Rockwood St., 244-1210) presents works from the “Dreams” series by D.C.-based photographer and painter Tré, with a reception 6-9 p.m. featuring music by Tommy Brunett. And at Image City Photography Gallery (722 University Ave, 472-2005), John Francis McCarthy shows us “The Finger Lakes: Glimpses of Paradise” and signs books 5-8:30 p.m.

On the new-gallery front, we have painting, sculpture, photography, and more in the “Shoes and Boots: Variations on a Theme” show at the Shoe Factory Art Co-op (250 N. Goodman St., studios 212 & 215,, a new art collective made up of local artists Jim Mott, Beth Brown, Russ Lunn, and Heather Erwin, and featuring a multitude of local artists. The 6-10 p.m. opening reception will also feature live “sole” music, and guests are encouraged to sport their favorite footwear.

First Friday preview for lovely September

Posted in first friday, upcoming shows with tags , , , , on September 1, 2010 by Rebecca

OMG OMG a blog post! Apologies to the faithful readers for the absence of updates! It’s been a very busy time, but this post comes with a promise of a much stronger commitment to this project.

So here it is, your September First Friday preview, to be followed up with a post on Friday night or Saturday. This originally appeared in print in Rochester City Newspaper this morn and is available online as well.

An image from Sean Dyroff's "The Beginning" exhibition of cyanotypes, showing at The Gallery @ Equal=Grounds. PHOTO PROVIDED


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, September 3, 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. September’s First Friday skedge is rife with thoughtful new shows held at indie galleries and alternative spaces. Here are just a few:

Equal Grounds coffeehouse (750 South Ave, will host an opening reception for “The Beginning,” an exhibition of cyanotypes by Sean Dyroff, “created to explore the beginning moments of the universe or the beginning moments of life, when the absence and presence of light define experience,” per the artist’s statement. At Chait Fine Art Gallery (234 Mill St., schait@chaitstudios), Stu Chait will present watercolor abstractions of the rise and fall of life in “Vinifera – An Unseen Sensitivity.” The reception takes place 6-9 p.m.

The Gallery at the Record Archive (33 1/3 Rockwood St., 244-1210) presents “My Talent is Dreaming,” paintings, sculpture, and assemblage work by A. Bogs, who will also perform musically in Bogs Visionary Orchestra at 7 p.m. The reception runs 6-9 p.m.

I’m anticipating great things from 1975 Gallery, temporarily occupying Booksmart’s Gallery Kunstler (250 N. Goodman St.,, which will present the enigmatic “The Worst is Yet to Come: The Unfortunate Decay of Communication Culture,” by skateboard-industry designers Mark Penxa and Don Pendleton. The promo card for the show, which opens at 6 p.m., arrived like an invitation to interpersonal communication’s calling hours, with “deepest sympathies” from the artists. Shake a fist, brothers.

First Friday 4/2 preview bits n’ pieces…

Posted in first friday, upcoming shows with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2010 by Rebecca

It’s time again for your monthly First Friday travels, and your dose of fresh new art happenings in the city…

Visit for a list of participating venues, or check out all the fliers in cafes for the indie ones. Make sure to put these on your itinerary:

Step into “Other Worlds” at Rochester Contemporary Art Center with colorful, whimsical, new sculpture by Paul Knoblauch and densely packed drawings by John Kastner, including his recent illustration project of Nannette Nocon’s “What’s UP with Yuk?

FourWalls Art Gallery and Thievin’ Stephen Dorobiala will present “On the Cut,” a stencil show featuring the talented Thievin’ Stephen, Crook (FUA), Downer, Biles, Jeff Copp, Kurt Ketchum and The Sweet Meat Co’s: MR. PRVRTSarah Rutherford, and St. Monci. Enjoy live turntablism by The NYAC Crew (Fresh Fingaz, Tim Tones, Silly Cutty, & Naps), a performance by the neo-funk band Lifeforms, and a video installation by The NGB.

The Record Archive is keeping the fabulous Allie Hartley’s lovely-dark illustrations and mixed-media mummy sculptures in house for another month!

Gallery r will be showing the Senior Fine Arts Studio Exhibition, and similarly, Image City Photography Gallery is hosting “Through the Student Lens,” an impressive show of student – and teacher – work.

Just around the corner in the same building is Gilded Square Picture Framing and Gallery, with the First Friday reception for the current showing of Lanna Pejovic’s “New Work: Paintings, Drawings, Prints.”

*This is a modified version of my FF bit originally printed in City Newspaper.