There's more here than meets the eye. ImageArt, which is billed as the only annual juried exhibit of art by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) artists in Western New York, isn't just a bunch of pretty pictures.
ImageArt "gives gay and lesbian artists a voice in the Rochester community," says artist David Hoffend, who won 2nd place last year.
A panel of jurors chose 44 works by 32 artists from 80 submitted pieces. Photographs and paintings dominate the show, which has one video installation and a couple of sculptures. Figurative work, some with LGBT themes, far outweighs abstract art.
Gerald Mead's delicate collage constructions --- one which features buff male torsos --- recall Joseph Cornell's obsessive boxed worlds. Drew Sterman's concrete slab has a lot of presence for a concrete slab, with a metal bolt and several large holes puncturing it. Two beautifully drawn skulls pass a curving vertebral column between their mouths in Hoffend's "They Fed Me Lies."
Viewers seeking strident politics will have to look hard to find them. A subtler form of influence is at work here. Now in its third year, ImageArt is seeping into the public consciousness, taking its place beside mainstream cyclical shows like High Falls' The Photographer's Path and the Finger Lakes-Rochester biennial. Just by dint of its success in this conservative town, ImageArt is able to bring its imagery and message to a diverse audience.
The message is not just in the art itself, but also in statements by the artists about how being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, has influenced their art. In this way ImageArt presents a thought-provoking and often beautiful artistic face to the city. And, for the LGBT community, the show can have important ramifications.
Some brave souls have used ImageArt as a way of coming out, says photographer Aimee Wiles, the exhibition's enthusiastic director. "Only when people see the gallery tag and artist's name do they sometimes know for the first time."
ImageArt 2002 runs from July 12 to August 10 at the Hungerford Gallery, 1115 East Main Street, 3B, 482-2040. Opening reception: 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 12.
--- Jennifer Loviglio
July 10 marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of former City Newspaper writer and Colorblind James Experience founder Chuck Cuminale. As we continue to miss our dear colleague, we remind our readers that T-shirts commemorating Chuck's life and music are still on sale at both Record Archive locations and the Bop Shop in Village Gate. Proceeds from sold shirts go towards a college fund for the Cuminale children.
Déjà vu ran rampant in City Council Chambers on July 9: Park proponents extolled the virtues of Seneca Park, a lawyer from the county urged a city committee to stay its gavel until a state court settles the city-county jurisdictional dispute over the park, the city's legal advisers told the committee to ignore the court case, and the landmark designation passed unanimously. The Planning Committee's approval of the Preservation Board's July 1 decision to designate Seneca Park a landmark is still essentially toothless, as a State Supreme Court justice has barred the city from enforcing the attendant development restrictions pending the outcome of the case. The court battle continues July 22.