ROCHESTER, NY.- Summers at the Memorial Art Gallery are dedicated to the art of upstate New York. Like the Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition, with which it alternates, the Rochester Biennial showcases artists who live and work in our region. Unlike the juried Finger Lakes, however, the Biennial is an invitational.
The 3rd Rochester Biennial opens July 13, 2008 and remains on view through September 14. This year, the Gallerys director, director of exhibitions and curator of education have invited six exceptional artists to participateRonald Gonzalez of Johnson City (mixed media sculpture), Susan Lakin of Rochester (photographs), Sue Huggins Leopard of Rochester (artists books), Todd McGrain of Ovid (bronze sculpture and drawings), Juan Perdiguero of Oswego (drawings) and Melissa Sarat of Preble (oil paintings). As in 2006, one artist (Lakin) was selected was selected on the strength of her work in last years Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition.
We aimed for variety, but insisted on quality, says director of exhibitions Marie Via. The thread that connects all six is commitment to excellence.
As a young boy, Ronald Gonzalez transformed dead insects, bottlecaps, sticks and wire into toys and miniature worlds. Today, he transforms found objects into surreal figures that inhabit a universe at once playful and grotesque. Eroded and patinated by the passage of time, these recent works remind us of our own mutability and mortality. Gonzalez is professor of sculpture at Binghamton University, his alma mater.
Susan Lakins Television Series continues a tradition of social documentation that began with the invention of the daguerrotype in the 19th century and drew such 20thcentury photographers as Bill Owens to make portraits of ordinary Americans. She is interested in how technology lets us blur the line between the real and the simulated, the public sphere and the private. Lakin is associate professor of photography and digital imaging at RIT.
Sue Huggins Leopard
Sue Leopard experiments with different formats, media and binding processes to create artists books that are narrative yet mysterious. Distinguished by an extraordinary sense of color, her works have their source in dreams, found objects, old family photographs, lines of verse by Emily Dickinsonanything, writes the artist, that moves through my consciousness and decides to stay awhile and take shape.
Passionately committed to habitat preservation, sculptor Todd McGrain has created the Lost Bird Project to immortalize five North American birds driven to extinction in modern times. The massive bronze forms are melancholy, yet affirming; the smooth surface, like a stone polished from touch, conjures the effect of memory and time. An associate professor at Cornell University, McGrains awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Juan Perdiguero creates meticulous chiaroscuro portraits of magnificent animals bred for competition but kept in relative confinement, prompting metaphorical comparisons to the human race. He blurs the boundaries between painting, drawing and photography by selectively exposing sheets of photo paper and manipulating ink, asphaltum and linseed oil into freehand renderings. A native of Spain, Perdiguero teaches at SUNYOswego.
Raised on the grounds of a Louisiana mental hospital, Melissa Sarat had contact not only with patients but also the rich flora and fauna of the South. Today, her highly detailed paintings, infused with what she calls the jambalaya of symbolic imagery, explore universal themes of excess, circumstance, life choices, spirit guides, environmental disasters, maternity, family and death. Sarat obsesses over her paintings, spending months or even years on one canvas.