Yes, there has been talk of the dreaded polar vortex revisiting Rochester again. But resist the temptation to slip into that cocoon of hibernate-y despair — we're at the top of the arts season, and there are plenty of engaging exhibits and events to distract us. Here are a baker's dozen of not-to-be-missed shows to guide you into springtime.
Some exhibition details may change, so check back with the galleries as time moves forward. Admission is free unless otherwise specified. This is only a sampling of what's to come. Look for more scheduled shows on individual galleries' sites, and check CITY Newspaper every Wednesday or keep up with our searchable online calendar at rochestercitynewspaper.com.
Through September 27, catch "What the Morning Brings," featuring the work of Todd Bratrud, Don Pendleton, and Michael Sieben — three of the most influential artists working in skateboarding today — at 1975 Gallery (89 Charlotte Street). Expect colorful illustrations that are heavy on the sass. This is Pendleton's second exhibition in Rochester; his work was featured alongside Mark Penxa's in 1975 Gallery's "The Worst is Yet to Come," held at Booksmart Studio in 2010. 1975's hours are Wednesday through Friday, 12 to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/1975ish.
Through October 3, Monroe Community College's Mercer Gallery (1000 East Henrietta Road) is featuring the work of cartoonist/zinester John Porcellino, creator and self-publisher of King-Cat Comics, a critically acclaimed photocopied mini-comic series that has been in production since 1989. Over the years, the content has shifted from humorous stories with a punk rock sensibility to zen-like stories reflecting on the transient nature of life. Porcellino is on tour promoting his new book, "The Hospital Suite," and will stop in Rochester for a reception on Tuesday, September 23, 4:30 to 6 p.m. At noon on Wednesday, September 24, a screening will be held of "Root Hog or Die," the King-Cat documentary. An artist talk will follow. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 292-2021 or visit monroecc.edu/depts/vapa/mercer.
Through October 4, Axom Gallery & Exhibition Space (176 Anderson Avenue, Suite C) is hosting "Metropoliticonscious II," new media sculpture and paintings by Miami-based artist Francesca Lalanne. The artist works in a variety of media, ranging from paintings to sculptures, drawings, installations, and videos, and explores identity, relationships, and the epic personal journey. Axom's hours are Wednesday to Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment. Learn more by calling 232-6030 x 22 or visiting axomgallery.com.
Through November 1, Main Street Arts (20 West Main Street, Clifton Springs) will present "The Opposite of Concrete: An Exhibition of Abstract Painting and Photography." The show will feature work by photographers Carl Chiarenza and Patricia Wilder, and painters Bradley Butler, Karen Sardisco, and Sarah Sutton, each of whom offer different interpretations of abstract aesthetics. The gallery is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 315-462-0210, or visit mainstreetartsgallery.com.
From September 20 through January 4, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film (900 East Avenue) will host "Robert Burley: The Disappearance of Darkness," a photographic meditation on both the dramatic and historical demise of film-manufacturing facilities and industrial darkrooms. Burley's photographs, which were taken between 2005 and 2010, speak to sites and events related to the key corporations (Kodak, Agfa, and Ilford). George Eastman House is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5-$14, and free to members and children ages 12 and younger. For more information, call 271-3361, or visit eastmanhouse.org.
The various University of Rochester libraries offer fascinating exhibits year-round, drawing from a variety of materials and concerning a vast array of subjects. Visit the Reference/Circulation department of Rush Rhees Library (University of Rochester River Campus) October 1-24 to take in "Oscar Wilde's Salomé," an exhibit of illustrated editions of Wilde's play. The show is held in conjunction with "The Veils of Salome," a symposium the university will hold October 8-10, which will include performances of Strauss' opera by Table Top Opera, dance performances, films, and an interview of comic book artist P. Craig Russell, who adapted Wilde's play for the graphic novel medium. During the fall term, the library is open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 3 a.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. For more information, call 275-5804, or visit library.rochester.edu.
From October 3 through November 8, The Firehouse Gallery at Genesee Pottery (Genesee Center for the Arts and Education, 713 Monroe Avenue) will host the annual "History in the Making" showcase of ceramic work by emerging artists and veteran traditionalists from around the country, juxtaposing historic and contemporary ideas. The show is curated by Fred Herbst, ceramicist and Professor of Art at Corning Community College. The gallery's hours are Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Also at Genesee Center, the Community Darkroom Galleries will host "Social Reportage," a series of photographic essays by Arleen Hodge and students, touching on inner city neighborhoods and their unique cultural and historical dynamics. The exhibit runs December 6 through January 9. Community Darkroom hours are Monday, 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m to 6:30 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, call 244 -1730 or visit geneseearts.org.
From October 3 through November 16, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (137 East Avenue) will host "Question Bridge: Black Males," a video-installation project by artists Hank Willis Thomas, Chris Johnson, Kamal Sinclair, and Bayeté Ross Smith. The creators traveled to a dozen cities, collecting more than 1,500 candid questions and answers from 150 black men of all ages and many walks. The show opens Friday, October 3, 6 to 10 p.m. Weekly discussions will be held Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., each led by a different community leader or educator. Rochester Contemporary is open Wednesday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m., and Friday, 1 to 10 p.m. Admission is $1, and free to members. For more information, call 461-2222, or visit rochestercontemporary.org.
The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Avenue) will host the Rochester leg of California artist Matt Elson's "Infinity Boxes" October 19 to January 4 in the Grand Gallery. Nine "infinity boxes" use color, light and mirrors to create optical illusions that envelop viewers who peer inside. Viewers are encouraged to take selfies while viewing these interactive works of art. Of the boxes, Elson has said, "They are a form of contemporary portraiture that is tuned to social media." MAG's hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $5-$12 except Thursday nights, when it is half-price. Children under the age of five, members, and University of Rochester students get in for free. For more information, call 276-8900 or visit mag.rochester.edu.
From January 23 through February 28, 2015, Nazareth College's Colacino Gallery (4245 East Avenue) will host a group show featuring the work of Nazareth College Department of Art alumni printmakers Kelly Clancy, Dale Klein, and Paolo Marino. Each of these emerging artists exhibited in the most recent Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition at the Memorial Art Gallery in 2013. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 389-5073 or visit artscenter.naz.edu/galleries.
After the first 50 years of the Studio Glass Movement, what comes next? On January 27, 2015, Tower Fine Arts Center Gallery at SUNY Brockport (350 New Campus Drive, Brockport) will hold a reception for "The Next: A Studio Glass Movement Continuum," curated by glass artist and adjunct faculty member Eunsuh Choi and featuring a group of regional artists who are shaping the future of art glass. The reception will be held 4 to 6 p.m., and the show continues through February 22. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 395-2805 or visit brockport.edu/finearts.
From March 7 through April 11, Oxford Gallery (267 Oxford Street) will host a show of new paintings in oil by Buffalo-based painter Charles Houseman and Rochester-based painter David Dorsey. Houseman is known for his intimate, richly detailed, atmospheric landscapes, and Dorsey is adept at all manner of photo-real still-life depictions of vibrant flowers, jars of candy, and big macs, for example. Oxford Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 271-5885, or visit oxfordgallery.com.