The Rounds

Scott McCarney "Married After Gilbert & George" on view at Colleen Buzzard's Studio
Scott McCarney “Married After Gilbert & George” on view at Colleen Buzzard Studio

It is getting harder and harder to make the rounds on First Fridays. We get bogged down at each stop, mostly in conversation and we wind up running out of time to complete our short list of stops. Jim Mott reminded us that artists are influenced by one another, sometimes in the least obvious of ways. Colleen Buzzard and Dejan Pejovic asked me if I was doing any painting and I answered that I have been organizing my digital life. That response threw both of them and Colleen said, “That doesn’t sound like any fun.”

I love this 2009 Scott McCarney piece, “Married After Gilbert & George.” And it is great to see it out in the open again at Colleen Buzzard’s Studio. Scott has transformed this gallery space with a collection of work pulled from storage. A large paper quilt fills your field of vision as you step off the fourth floor elevator. The show, entitled “Disjecta Membra,” brings Scott’s prints and artifacts together with the bound bookworks of their origin. Married After Gilbert & George” appears here in book form as well. As Scott says, “The private act of turning pages on a horizontal surface can be experienced in tandem with the public viewing of images on a vertical plane.” The show runs through January 12th.

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Like A Rocket

Crowd around Van Gogh's "Starry Night" at MoMA
Crowd around Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” at MoMA

The last time I saw Julian Schnabel he was wearing what appeared to be pajamas as he and his lady friend left the Sculpture Pavilion at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I say “the last time” even though I only saw him one other time, when Rochester’s Ingrid Sischy brought him to the MAG for a lecture. This was during his smashed plate phase.

Schnabel’s “Basquiat” was embarrassing. His “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” was beautiful but an awful lot like “Johnny Got His Gun.” His “At Eternity’s Gate” is brilliant. Maybe just because the subject is so. But William Defoe is too. Because the movie was done by a painter I expected a more painterly dialog. Instead we have Van Gogh’s personality, his intense relationship with the world, his social ineptness, his psychological disorders and his glimpses of eternity on full display. Maybe that is what it took to produce such extraordinary art.

There is some choice dialog, probably taken from Van Gogh’s letters. “Paintings have to be painted fast, made in one clear gesture.” There is a scene Of Van Gogh and Gauguin taking a piss and talking about how they have to start a revolution. “The Impressionists are so boring.” And Van Gogh adds “But Monet is pretty good.” But there is a cringe worthy scene near the end of the film where Schnabel’s Van Gogh, comparing himself to Jesus, while talking to a priest, says maybe he paints “for people who are not born yet. Adding “nobody knew Jesus until 40 years after his death.”

Van Gogh essentially had ten years where he continued to get better and astronomically better as a painter. Like a rocket. Schnabel’s depiction of Van Gogh in his coffin (Defoe made up by an undertaker) and surrounded by his paintings was incredibly beautiful.

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The Argonauts

The Argonauts 1950 by Max Beckmann at Thyssen-Bornemisza Bornemisza in Madrid
The Argonauts 1950 by Max Beckmann at Thyssen-Bornemisza Bornemisza in Madrid

There are so many reasons to love Madrid. When we passed through here a month ago, on our way up north to finish the Camino, we saw an announcement for a Max Beckmann show at the Thyssen-Bornemisza. It opened last week so it was our first order of business today. We were there when they opened the doors at ten and we spent a good four hours with the fifty or so paintings. We broke for lunch and came back as our tickets were good for the day. We walked slowly through the Beckmann show again and then wandered through their permanent collection finishing right near closing time.

The Argonauts was Beckmann’s final triptych before he died in 1950. Beckmann was a medical orderly in World War I. The traumatic experience shaped his dramatic, expressive style. He was thrown out of Germany by the Nazis for what they called degenerative art. In this final painting the hero as a dreamer or the dreamer as a hero has conquered the nightmarish aspects of life. The young artist paints his model. In the center panel Orpheus and Jason are shown embarking on their search for the Golden Fleece with the old man on the ladder giving them advice. And the third panel shows the all women band in action.

Beckmann has his own set of symbols, some based on the decadent glamour of the Weimar Republic’s cabaret culture. He paints allegories and makes mythologized references to the brutalities of the Nazis. Clowns, circus performers, ladders, swords, horns and eclipses make frequent appearances. I love the way he paints, like Rouault or Marsden Hartley, big and bold and expressive. This show was so much fun to look at.

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Half Naked

Ray Turner paintings in Chelsea, NYC 2018
Ray Turner paintings in Chelsea, NYC 2018

“Turner presents a didactic deconstruction of the visual semantics behind recognizability of form through a parsing of the grey space of the half-formed, “half-naked” (the name of the show). Do you believe that gibberish? I like these Ray Turner paintings but I couldn’t possibly make it through the description that the Artman Gallery in Chelsea offered us. And rather than just letting us look at the paintings, the staff insisted on trying to engage us in conversation. We had no time for that, the galleries were closing and we still hadn’t made it to Hauser & Wirth.

Back at Duane’s we watched Cher videos on YouTube, her new versions of ABBA songs. Surprised how bad they were. We finished with Tammy Wynette’s. “Don’t Touch Me” and I woke up singing “Ass Magnet,” Sa Zu’s (Ken Frank) incredibly sticky dance hit.

On Saturday Duane offered us a choice of three walks, all loops from his apartment in Brooklyn. “Mother nature, quasi industrial or multi ethnic neighborhoods.” We chose the third and walked down Ocean Parkway, over to Coney Island Avenue and back to Church Avenue. Duane’s world, excellent!

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Origin Of Matter

Colleen Buzzard three dimensional drawing, "Origin of Matter" at Main Street Gallery
Colleen Buzzard three dimensional drawing, “Origin of Matter” at Main Street Gallery

The quickest way to Clifton Springs requires two NYS Thruway legs, a fifty five cent toll. We were there in forty minutes. Pete and Gloria were in the back seat and of course we talked the whole way out. We were at Main Street Arts to see the Upstate New York Drawing Invitational, work from six upstate artists.

Kathy Farrell’s work looked more like painting, maybe drawing with paint with chunks of flat maps. They were attractive and fun. Tricia Butski, from Buffalo, has some strong graphic charcoals that are really impressive. My favorite piece, and one we considered buying if only we could figure out how to light it, is the three dimensional drawing by Colleen Buzzard, pictured above. (And please click on the photo so you can see the whole piece.) It’s called “Origin of Matter” and it is made (drawn) with wire, thread, ink on paper, torn paper and printer’s tape. We have radiant heat pipes in our ceiling so mounting a light to cast these integral shadows would be a challenge.

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Self Published

Man With Crossed Arms by Paul Cezanne
Man With Crossed Arms by Paul Cezanne

First of all, like all the photos in this blog, there is an enlargement available if you would like to see the whole picture. In fact, I invite you to look at the whole painting before reading my gibberish. I would like to hear what other people think is going on in this late Cezanne. Fred Lipp first brought it to my attention but as was his way he did not tell me what to think about it.

The painting is in the Guggenheim’s collection and I took the next few sentences from their website. “Cezanne’s work was motivated by a desire to give sculptural weight and volume to the instantaneity of vision achieved by the Impressionists, who painted from nature. Relying on his perception of objects in space as visually interrelated entities—as forms locked into a greater compositional structure. The strangely distorted, proto-Cubist view of the sitter—his right eye is depicted as if glimpsed from below and the left as if seen from above—contributes an enigmatic, contemplative air to the painting. ”

Cézanne is considered the precursor of Cubism. You read this all the time when people talk about Cezanne and I don’t particularly like Cubism but I love this painting. There is so much space in it that I never tire of looking at it. The wood trim on the wall below the sitter’s left elbow is coming at us and it wraps around the sitter. The wall is far from flat. The way the wall is painted it creates real space around the sitter. His left leg is coming out of the painting at us and the right falls away. The left side of his body is turning toward us while the right arm, which is actually closer to us, turns away. The chair under him shown only to his right, accents the turn in his body. With his left eye lower, much lower, than the right his head is almost spinning. His upper body is unusually long, he is way present. Cezanne has created so much volume in this painting with what some people dismiss as distortion.

I think the painting is a marvel. The card players are over the top with spatial illusion. I see aspects of these features in most of his portraits and yet when a new book, Cezanne Portraits from a show that was recently at the National Gallery, arrived there was hardly any spatial discussion. I would like to hear what others think. We will write our own book.


How To See

Tiny first tomato from 2018
Tiny first tomato from 2018

Our neighbor, Jared, thinks we might have another ground hog in the garden. Some of his sunflowers and squash were eaten so we will have to set the trap again. We caught a raccoon in the trap the other night. It was open and but not baited and the raccoon wandered in so our neighbor let it go. We’ve been eating kale, jalapeños, spinach, lettuce and cilantro faster than the groundhogs can, Our tomatoes are just starting to come in so we’ll need to guard the fort.

I never cared much for David Salle’s paintings but I picked up a book he wrote and read a few pages in the store. I had a hunch that he was a more interesting writer than painter and “How To See” confirmed that hunch. The book is a series of short pieces on various artists, some young, some his contemporaries, and some as ancient as Pierro della Francesca. Some of the writing was originally done for magazines like Art Forum and Town & Country but it all holds together and he talks a good game. He opened my eyes.

Salle brilliantly lumps two of my favorite painters, Philip Guston and Marsden Hartley, in the same chapter, saying “They took painting head-on, a little brutally. There’s a truculence in their attitude — why try to hide it. Wrestlers of paint. A painting is something to be grappled with, brought to the ground. It’s a promethean effort. The artist prevails, but at a cost.”

On Sigmar Polke he writes, “Polke’s pictorial inventiveness is so generous, so viewer-friendly makes you feel that, on a good day, you too could do it. His painting gets at something elemental about how we live today., and seems to whisper,’You are not locked into your own story. You could be otherwise.’ The strength of that conviction, the sheer vitality of it – I can’t think of anything more that we could ask for from art. Like all great artists, Polke was in pursuit of ravishment, and he wanted to stun, but only on his own terms. His work asks, ‘Can this be enough? What are you afraid of? Immerse yourself in his art and weep for the diminished spirit of our present age.”

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Rewritten In Translation

Wards of Time: Photographs of Antiquities by Larry Merrill
Wards of Time: Photographs of Antiquities by Larry Merrill

We had tickets to the MAG opening on Saturday night. We talked about going that afternoon and when the time came we completely spaced it out. So we tried backtracking and went over there yesterday. We started with Bill Viola’s video installation, a piece with four monitors, one at each quarter hour devoted to one of the four elements. Called “Martyrs,” Viola says: “The Greek word for martyr originally meant ‘witness.’” (where have I heard that word before?) In today’s world, the mass media turns us all into witnesses to the suffering of others. They also exemplify the human capacity to bear pain, hardship, and even death in order to remain faithful to their values, beliefs, and principles.” It is quite stunning if just a bit too precious.

The summer MAG show features three local artists, a substitution for the old Finger Lakes or Biennial shows. The Nancy Jurs exhibit is fun. The video was unnecessary but the dryer lint piece really drew us in. We took a break for lunch at the Brown Hound. I liked that place better when they had art from the MAG’s collection on the wall instead of all that dog stuff. I don’t find the cheap dog images all that appetizing but the Bistro Salad with Tofu was really nice. After lunch we spent some time with “The Surreal Visions of Josephine Tota.” Her work is small and it would have worked better if someone hadn’t put it in all those loud clunky frames. It was really hard to see the paintings. The white wall tags and signage didn’t help either. The woman has an interesting back story but let us see her work. Her paintings look better online. Larry Merrill’s “Wards of Time: Photographs of Antiquities” could never be as good as the real antiquities but they looked great mounted on the brown walls of the Lockhart Gallery. This poem on the wall in Merrill’s show really struck me. But how does a translator get something this old to rhyme in translation without just rewriting it?

Age is the heaviest burden man can bear,
Compound of disappointment, pain and care;
For when the mind’s experience comes at length,
It comes to mourn the body’s loss of strength.
Resign’d to ignorance all our better days,
Knowledge just ripens when the man decays;
One ray of light the closing eye receives,
And wisdom only takes what folly leaves.
– Pherecrates, about 430 BCE
Richard Cumberland, translation

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Sensitive To Sound

We needed coffee, both beans and a cold brew cup, so we stopped in Canaltown Roasters and had Pete package up 2 five pound bags of “Rochester Choice.” We took our cups down East Avenue to Rochester Contemporary where the annual 6×6 show was in the last weekend of its run. The San Francisco based, Symmetry Labs, were still installing their sculpture, “Tree of Tenere,” in the garden next door. Inspired by the Hindu legend of the most isolated tree on earth, it was first realized at Burning Man in 2017. The director, Bleu Cease, said Margaret Explosion was on a short list of people to perform under the outdoor tree which is sensitive to sound.

They have finally run out of room over there. Next year Bleu says they will go down to maximum of three per person. I remember when it was ten. I was happy to see that mine had sold. I’ve been using my submissions in an ever more minimal direction. And I was thrilled to find that three small paintings that I liked the most were all still available. That says something about either my taste or everybody else’s. Peggi found one as well. She brought me over to look at it and as luck would have it the artist was standing nearby. Kishan Pandya told us they travelled to South Carolina to see the recent eclipse and he took this amazing photo. It reminded me of a Sol Lewitt.

We plan to watch the World Cup final at our neighbor’s down the street. Two teams with a lot of finesse. We are going down pulling for the underdog, Croatia, but I could easily switch camps and scream for France. I just hope it is a good contest.

Here’s Tonic Party by Margaret Explosion

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Lamp Left On All Night

Janet Williams oil painting "Lamp Left On All Night" from about 2008
Janet Williams oil painting “Lamp Left On All Night” from about 2008

I knew Janet was sick but I didn’t think she could possibly die. In my mind she was immortal. Janet was always a delight to see and foremost to talk with. Insightful and funny, each encounter was memorable. She was also my favorite local painter.

I fell in love with a painting she had at the High Falls Gallery, the one with her brother in a vortex entitled “Ooops!” It had a $200 price tag on it and I will forever regret not taking it home. For years I maintained a web page of her paintings. Ten years ago she sent jpegs of her latest batch along with this note. I never got around to posting them.

“The whisk broom and dust pan are from my Primordial Fleamarket Series. I allow one object per canvas, life size. I want them to appear to be in process of being made, like in a geological rather than a manufacturing process, with the varying layers of paint mimicking aeons.  The typewriters, lamps, sewing machine and guitar are also in this series. I’m working on a 1896 Fairbanks Banjo at the moment.

Baby Bird’s title is now “Fledgeling” 2007. “Whisk Broom” 2008, “Dustpan” 2008 and “Fledgeling” 2007 are now at the Oxford  Gallery Awakenings Show, until May 10. “Embers” and Ted’s Typewriter” 2006. “QWERTY 3” and  “QWERTY 4” 2007. They are all 12” x 12.” “Dave’s Guitar: C. F. Martin’s D28 Dreadnought”  40” x 30” 2007

Janet wrote the following introduction to her paintings on the site.
“I seem to always want to paint either my kitchen table, or the view out my window of Pinnacle Hill. Pinnacle Hill has been encroaching upon, interfacing with, and persistently stepping up its allurements to me as an interior artist. I’m taking it one step at a time. I only want to paint it through the windows and ceilings of my house, with all its seas and deserts and nebulae, and its population of cowboys and saints, horses, maybe soldiers, sharks and flying dogs also.

I am allowing my paintings also to “borrow,” shall we say, from the images of other artists. For example: the one of the Sea of Galilee Lapping the Shore of PS 35, shamelessly appropriates from Delacroix. But Lawrence Lazarus’ Battered Blue Cube is in there, also, in quadruplicate. School 35 is a low brick building with seemingly no appeal, yet with 4 or 5, (I really haven’t counted them) blue doors, Battered Blue Cubes! They were painted beige for awhile, a while back, and my heart sank. I was wracking my brain for a way to convince myself that my memory of their blueness would serve me just as well, as an artist who knew something and could brook all obstacles in her path, when they got painted blue again! like a miracle, in answer to a prayer I didn’t dare send up!

The one of the Fight for the Waterhole at PS 35 borrows (HA!) from, as you can guess, from Remington. But, again, the doors of school 35 are DEFINITELY Lawrence Lazarus’ Battered Blue Cube. He probably wouldn’t have seen the point of there being 4 or 5 of them, but that’s how it is.

My latest painting, Pope Cake, is the Pope and my mother at the kitchen table, with a Thiebald wedding cake on the table, and the table holding its own, if I do say so myself! It’s really a picture of my mother’s arms, I think. They express her earthy fretfulness, without giving up a bit of her translucent leaving this earth quality.

Janet Williams”

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Never Worked A Day In His Life

Skywater for Leonardo 5 and 6 by Peter Monacelli 2017
Skywater for Leonardo 5 and 6 by Peter Monacelli 2017

We asked Pete if he could recommend someone to take an old metal frame, single pane window out of our basement and replace it with some thermal glass. He recommended himself and me (as a helper). He’s done this before so I should have seen it coming. He has been doing construction, remodeling mostly, for his whole life and he claims to “have never worked a day in his life.” He loves the work and jumped at the chance to hang out. Pete plays drums with the Debbie Kendrick Project, our favorite band, and he is also one of our favorite artists so it was a joy working with him for the last two days.

He brought a couple of books over for us to look at. They were individual sheets in plastic sleeves, collages pairing copies of work by Renaissance artists paired with a modern artist. Chillida was in there, our new favorite Spanish artist. And to complete each panel, he painted and drew over, under and around the collage, all part of an ongoing series entitled, “Looking for Home.” The second day he brought over an old music book of American Songs. He’s working his way through this book painting over most of the pages with Casein paint, an old, milk-based medium. The pages are beautiful beyond belief.

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Mythic Being

Like Life exhibit at Met Breur in NYC
Like Life exhibit at Met Breur in NYC

Peggi and I had dinner at an Italian place on the Upper West Side. We ate outdoors and sat next to Annie Liebowitz. I thought about how we were going to visit two major museums the next day?

We started with MoMA. “Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions, 1965–2016” is kind of a geeky title but then Adrian Piper is a geeky gal. The show at MoMA is the result of a four-year collaboration with The Hammer Museum and is the most comprehensive retrospective of Piper’s work to date.

The show opens with her LSD paintings and Sol Lewitt-like (her friend) drawings. I dove into her obsessive diary entries and was sold on her brainy humor. Check out this early early performance piece. Her angry art from the eighties made me laugh out loud. She tackles racism head on but in ways as sly as a fox. Large screen videos show her teaching classes in Funk Dancing. This is a huge show that manages to leave you wanting much more.

Duane had a doctor’s appointment on the Upper East Side so we made plans to meet him up there when he got out. We were on the third floor of the Met Breur’s show, “Like Life: Sculpture, Color & The Body” when he joined us. The show is a sensation, one where the wall tags make it even more so because the sculptures include realistic, contemporary human forms, religious figures, Ex Votos (sacred offerings) and dolls as well as centuries old, idealized human form, marble statues. I knew the Church had a problem with nudity but if I hadn’t read the text I wouldn’t have thought about the problems created when worshippers fell in love with the statue instead of the intended depiction. The show was so well done it was “Like Life.”

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Ritmo Tiempo Silencio

Chillida sculpture at Hauser Wirth on 69th Street, NYC
Chillida sculpture at Hauser Wirth on 69th Street, NYC

In Leon last month, where we temporarily broke our pilgrimage, I found a small art book in the gift shop of the Gaudi Museum. It was on an artist I had never heard of but I fell in love with his work. Eduardo Chillida studied architecture in Madrid and then drawing at the Circulo de Belles Artes. After school he moved to Paris and began sculpting. The mini retrospective at Hauser Wirth Uptown includes these mediums plus prints, assemblages and a large dosage of his writing, in artist books and displayed as wall quotes.

We had slept in Midtown at the old Leona Chelmsley joint, the Park Lane, overlooking the Park if your room is in the front of the place, and we walked though the park with a latte on our way up to 69th Street. We were standing outside the gallery when they opened this morning and we spent a few hours with three floors of Chillida plus a small sculpture in the garden and a movie about him made by his daughter. All his work is sculptural in that every piece takes its place in space with mutual respect for the negative space. It is like Music in that sense, a beautiful experience.

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Art Market Depression

Panelists at Rochester Contemporary talk entitled "Think Globally. Create, Experience & Collect Locally."
Panelists at Rochester Contemporary talk entitled “Think Globally. Create, Experience & Collect Locally.”

RoCo’s event was billed as “Think Globally. Create, Experience & Collect Locally.” Sounded great.

Louis Perticone from Artisan Works, Nan Miller, who ran a gallery under her name for forty years, and Bradley Butler, a painter and gallery director/curator at Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs, just thirty five minutes from here, were the featured panelists. Grant Holcomb, the former Memorial Art Gallery director was sitting behind us. RoCo ran out of chairs, they had a good crowd.

Nan Miller, who represented Albert Paley and specialized in prints and multiples by internationally known artists addressed how everything has changed with the internet. People become aware of an artist and track him or her down on their own. Art Fairs are putting gallery owners like her out of business. Louis Perticone buys artists’ work in bulk, by the thousands, and rents it out to institutions. “I look for something I can put in a hospital, nothing too far out.” He said he has over a thousand photographs in Rochester General Hospital. And if I heard him right he does this as a not-for-profit. He stressed that less than one percent of artists make money. Instead “they fuel the art market by being consumers of art materials.” Bradley Butler’s “Main Street Arts” in Clifton Springs is an oasis. With artfully curated theme shows, curated group shows and artists in residence he brings art lovers to that small town, a real feat. He is not the owner however his situation is more like a dream.

Peggi and I went because we consider ourselves very small time collectors. We have very little wall space but we buy what we love. We bought Warhols with my brother in the mid seventies and took them to auction at Christie’s last year. We found this talk depressing but we probably have our heads in the clouds.

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Motorcycle Weather

Accordion player in Plaza Mayor, Pamploma, Spain
Accordion player in Plaza Mayor, Pamploma, Spain

This guy (above) set such a dreamy mood in Pamploma’s Plaza Mayor we didn’t want to leave. A reminder that there is such a thing as civilization and the inclination to stop what you’re doing and just marvel at it all.

Leo Dodd’s show, a retrospective at the Geisel Gallery in the former Bausch & Lomb headquarters, is up. Thirty paintings will be on view until May 31st. I had only met Jean Geisel a few times, had never worked with her. She is a dynamo. I had a layout for the show but she took charge. We butted heads a few times and she won. The show looks great. I hope you can make it out on Friday evening to see for yourselves. 6-8pm.

Margaret Explosion returns to the Little Theater tonight. I usually print a few posters for our Little gig but we ran out of cyan ink. We were going to walk through the park where the magnolias are in full bloom but Staples became our destination. We took the same route we used to take to my parent’s place in Chapel Oaks. Its seven miles round trip, a drop in the bucket.

Here’s Pretty Things by Margaret Explosion

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Can’t Talk Without A Pencil

Leo Dodd watercolor "Ice Fishing Irondequoit Bay" on view at Geisel Gallery in downtown Rochester, New York
Leo Dodd watercolor “Ice Fishing Irondequoit Bay” on view at Geisel Gallery in downtown Rochester, New York

Ice fishing is over for this year. We were down at the lake today and someone was out there windsurfing in a wetsuit. This painting is one of thirty one Leo Dodd watercolors in an upcoming retrospective at the Geisel Gallery in the former Baush + Lomb Headquarters in downtown Rochester. The show goes up on Tuesday and runs for the entire month of May. There is an opening reception on Friday, May 4th from 6 to 8PM and all art lovers are invited.

Four of paintings in the show were done in 1994 during the construction of the Bausch + Lomb World Headquarters. My father, wearing a hardhat on the downtown site, sketched and painted the project as the building went up. Jean Geisel, the director of the gallery, bought the four paintings for the Bausch + Lomb Art Collection and they were showcased in Bausch + Lomb’s “Rochester Room” for many years. Leo passed away in 2015 so he won’t be able to see the show. He will be there in spirit though with a gallery full of his delightful paintings. I hope you can stop out for the show.

“Can’t Talk Without A Pencil”
A Retrospective of Watercolors by Leo Dodd (1927 – 2015)
Opening reception Friday, May 4th, 6-8pm
Show runs May 1 to May 31, 2018

Geisel Gallery
The Geisel Gallery is located on the Second Floor (Mezzanine Level) of Legacy Tower
(Former Bausch & Lomb Headquarters downtown)
One Bausch & Lomb Place, Rochester, NY 14604

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Gran Via, Madrid, Easter Sunday
Gran Via, Madrid, Easter Sunday

An article we found here in the online version of the Times quoted Homer’s references to what became the Christian idea of personal resurrection. “You must endure, and not be brokenhearted. Once a man has died, and the dust has soaked up his blood, there is no resurrection.”

The resurrection as an article of faith is rather preposterous but as a miracle, why not celebrate it. We joined a big crowd in Madrid’s Plaza Mayor where a drum brigade from Cofrada de Cristo A La Cruz y de la Veronica were dressed in white ropes with purple sashes and touches of gold. Their drums were outfitted in the same Easter colors. The sound bounced off the walls of the plaza and carried us away.

The Picasso exhibit at Ciculo de Belles Artes, “Picasso y el Museo,” was astonishing. Nearly a hundred prints and a movie of Picasso drawing, all based on his hero’s of Spanish art, Velazquez, El Greco and Goya. The work dated from the thirties to the seventies and you are knocked out by his command. He is shown having so much fun riffing on the masters as only he could. It’s a miracle really.

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Keenly Observed, Artfully Shown

Leo Dodd watercolor "Town Dock Cape Cod" in upcoming Gieisel Gallery Show in May 2018
Leo Dodd watercolor “Town Dock Cape Cod” in upcoming Gieisel Gallery Show in May 2018

I feel connected to school kids more than ever now that, like them, I walk around with a back pack. I plan to live out of my pack for the next month and the process of outfitting it with the things I feel I must have, while staying under a self imposed weight, has been all consuming. It will be a huge relief to walk away with those ten pounds and separate myself from the rest.

The biggest item on my checklist of things to do before we leave was the preparation for a show of my father’s work at the Geisel Gallery on May 1st, a show that opens days after we return. The director of that gallery, Jean Geisel, bought four paintings directly from father. He was standing out front, painting en plein air, while Bausch & Lomb was constructing their downtown headquarters when she met him. When my father passed, leaving a tall stack of watercolors, I approached galleries and she jumped at the chance to show his work. Rick Muto at Axom Gallery offered to show Leo’s paintings as well and I was preparing for that when Rochester Contemporary made their offer. RoCo featured Leo’s work in their 2017 Rochester Biennial. That show concentrated on his downtown Rochester paintings.

The Geisel show is an overview and features paintings like the one above from Cape Cod. Thirty one paintings are framed and wrapped, ready for delivery. We worked out a layout, printed the wall tags and wrote an artist statement. Spending time with Leo’s paintings has been an incredible gift. I’m left marveling at his ability to keenly observe and artfully demonstrate the subjects that caught his interest. The opening is on First Friday, May 4th from 6-8pm at the Geisel Gallery. Mark your calendars.

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Six By Six By Minimal

Raw Adirondack Pine pieces glued together for Rochester Contemporary's Annual 6x6 Exhibition
Raw Adirondack Pine pieces glued together for Rochester Contemporary’s Annual 6×6 Exhibition

RoCo is accepting entries for their annual 6×6 exhibition and they included PopWars on their promo list. “We are reaching out to you because here at RoCo we think your readers at PopWars would enjoy learning about it. The deadline is quickly approaching and we would love if you could help us promote such an important and unique event. Would you be willing to write something about 6x6x2018 and invite your readers to participate?” It is not exactly what I do here but of course I will pitch in.

I’ve been gluing two pieces of rough cut Adirondack pine together for four years now and I’m hoping there is still some life in the concept. The boards, that Pete and Shelley bought from a sawmill for me, were only around five inches wide so making a six by six piece required ripping, gluing and clamping. Instead of ripping to three inches so the two pieces would be symmetrical I found these pleasing proportions and painted the two pieces a different color to accentuate that.

The first ones were each two colors, right out of the tube. The second year I only used one color on each leaving the other part of it as raw wood. The third year I cut the two pieces of wood the same size, glued them together and painted either a center panel or the surrounding of a non-painted center panel.

Each of them sold so I’m pushing it a bit further this year. Each of my four blocks uses the same two colors. If they sell I will try submitting the raw wood panels above as is next year. In today’s political climate I’ve been thinking of them as my wall prototypes.

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Kelly Jacobson untitled piece on wall at Colleen Buzzard's gallery space
Kelly Jacobson untitled piece on wall at Colleen Buzzard’s gallery space

Even the MAG was closed yesterday with the big snowfall so we expected First Friday to be slow. We intended to start with Colleen Buzzard‘s Studio and then move on to Axom and RoCo. We got as far as Colleen’s and settled in with a beautiful show of Kelly Jacobson’s work entitled, “The Difference Between Their and There.” Colleen told us when she booked the show there was the hope that Jacobson would do a new installation piece for it but when that didn’t work out Colleen rounded up Kelly Jacobson work, books, prints, portraits in stone and these (above), from local collectors. The show is stunning. I fell in love with these three concrete-filled metal tubes. This piece is hanging in Colleen’s husband’s work space at UR and he was there last night to visit it. In fact it was their anniversary and we celebrated part of it with them and this beautiful work.