See It Now
Joseph Orffeo, Untitled (Summer Landscape)
Every month is art month in Buffalo. There is no off season. Here are a few of March’s offerings:
At the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, University at Buffalo professor and artist Millie Chen has two exhibitions; one of them, Miseries and Vengeance, was purchased by the museum in 2013. The Miseries and Vengeance Wallpapers are digital prints that reproduce hand-drawn imagery Chen produced for an exhibition at AKAG in 2011. Tour is an audio-visual installation within the museum’s media gallery. Both works address issues of genocide and other atrocities perpetuated by war. But like much of Chen’s work, the wallpapers have a deceptively decorative appearance—which quickly unpacks an anthem of sadness and history upon a closer viewing.
At the Burchfield Penney Art Museum, painter Alberto Rey presents Biological Regionalism, on ongoing investigation of our aquatic environment. An avid fly fisherman, Rey has been exploring the health of our local rivers and streams for the past decade or more, through (deceptively) beautiful jewel-toned paintings. The exhibition coincides with the release of Life Streams, a book from the State University of New York Press that examines Rey’s artistic career. It is part of a series on Latin American and Iberian culture by the press. The first chapter of the book, by Lynette Bosch, provides a useful overview of all the many stages of Rey’s artist’s practice. The current paintings began to take shape in the late nineties, when Rey turned to the connections between human culture and nature—or the lack thereof—as subject matter.
At Meibohm Art Gallery in East Aurora, there is the first of a two-part exploration of the paintings of Joseph Orffeo. Joe Orffeo (1926-2013) Retrospective Part I (1940-1980) presents the earlier works of the highly respected Western New York artist, while a second exhibition next year will continue the tribute through the artist’s death last year. Orffeo’s delightful abstract paintings often have solemn underpinnings, but they always reward with their lyrical color and ambitious use of the watercolor medium. Visit burchfieldpenney.org for an interview that was taped with the artist very shortly before his death last year.