As far as I'm concerned, this is the most magical time of year. When I poke our region's galleries each summer to request their lineup of shows, I get to see the future as enthusiastic emails begin to hit my inbox. And I get to share it with you.
This coming season, there's lots to look forward to — retrospectives, new bodies of work from esteemed makers, exhibits that reframe found materials, and dips into pure aesthetic pleasure. Taking a variety in media and style into consideration, here's a short preview of some of the most exciting shows that Rochester's museums and galleries will present from this autumn through fall 2017.
Some exhibition details will become more defined as show time draws near, and other info may change, so check back with the galleries as the openings approach. 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.
From October 7 through November 13, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (137 East Avenue) will host "Vanish," featuring the work of five contemporary artists. The subject matter confronts viewers with the ideas of actual and metaphoric absence, against the context of this quickly changing world of ours. Participating artists Yvonne Buchanan and Dorene Quinn of Syracuse, and Brandon Ballengee, Peter Edlund, and Aaron Miller of New York City tackle not only what we have already lost, but what we stand to lose as well. An opening reception will take place on October 7. Rochester Contemporary is open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Admission is $2, and free to members. For more information, call 461-2222, or visit rochestercontemporary.org.
Nan Miller Gallery (3000 Monroe Avenue) will host a solo exhibit of works by Albert Paley from October 26 through November 19, which will include a collection of sculptures and new furniture designs. Paley will be in attendance for the opening evening reception on Wednesday, October 26. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 292-1430 or visit nanmillergallery.com.
From November 4 through November 20, Gallery r (100 College Avenue) will present "Hunter/Gatherer," an exhibition of selections from the collection of artist, writer, educator, and patron of the arts Gerald Mead. For more than 20 years, Mead has built up an extensive collection of work by both regional and internationally acclaimed artists. The show will feature a mix of prominent names, including Cindy Sherman, Hollis Frampton, Robert Mangold, Nathan Lyons, Beth Krull, Wendell Castle, Julian Montague, John Pfahl, Joan Linder, and Richard Hirsch. Gallery r's hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 256-3312, or visit galleryr.rit.edu.
My first encounter with the mind-bending work of Dutch artist M.C. Escher was probably that scene in the 1986 movie, "Labyrinth," in which our heroine Sarah and David Bowie as the Goblin King have a gravity-defying final faceoff. Jim Henson Studios' blatant interpretation of Escher's impossible spaces and shifting perspective was playfully evident in sets of staircases covering every angle of the set. From November 13 to January 29, 2017, Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Avenue) will host "M.C. Escher: Reality and Illusion." Drawn from the world's second-largest private collection of Escher's work, the exhibition includes 120 woodcuts, lithographs, mezzotints, and drawings from his five-decade career. The show features early figure drawings, lesser-known book illustrations, detailed Italian landscapes, the iconic tessellations, and examples of his signature fantastical architecture. Get ready for reality to be turned upside down and inside out. 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-$14 except Thursday nights, when it's half-price. Children under the age of 5, members, and University of Rochester students get in for free. For more information, call 276-8900 or visit mag.rochester.edu.
Back in March of 2011, the University of Rochester's Hartnett Gallery hosted "The Modern Day Diana," an exhibition of photographs by Margaret LeJeune that explored the inner lives of contemporary female hunters. LeJeune returns to Rochester in 2017 with "Growing Light," a new body of work that will be on view from March 2 through March 30, at Monroe Community College's Mercer Gallery (1000 East Henrietta Road). This exhibition features images that explore the power of bioluminescent organisms. A reception will be held Thursday, March 2, 5-7 p.m., following a lecture held from 1 to 2 p.m. Mercer Gallery is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 292-2021, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take your fine art with a spoonful of spirited irreverence, and check out "The Great Spirograph Challenge," held at Tower Fine Arts Center Gallery (350 New Campus Drive, Brockport) from March 7 through April 2, 2017. The show's organizers have challenged 14 artists of national and international renown to integrate the Spirograph toy into their normal creative procedure. An opening reception will be held Tuesday, March 7, from 4 to 6 p.m. Tower's hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 395-2805 or visit brockport.edu/academics/fine_arts.
Oxford Gallery (267 Oxford Street) has a smart pairing of the work of Doug Whitfield and Amy McLaren planned for March 11 through April 15, 2017. Clayville, New York-based artist Whitfield's oil paintings typically feature sketched-out forms of reveling, full-figured bodies with sharply rendered details, and Rochester-based acrylic painter McLaren's loose, colorful work frequently depicts humorous narratives of motherhood. Oxford Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., and by appointment. Admission is free. For more information, call 271-5885 or visit oxfordgallery.com.
Playing off the idea that some artists continuously reinvent the wheel, Main Street Arts (20 West Main Street, Clifton Springs) will present "Re-Emerging Artists: John Greene and Robert Marx" from April 8 through May 12, 2017, With a career of six decades behind him, Marx has become known for his emotionally nuanced figurative work, where bodies and faces take on distortions in his efforts to explore what it means to be human in an inhuman age. Whether conceptual or abstract, Greene's paintings focus on the materiality of the medium, with an emphasis on texture, surface, and depth. They depict imagined spaces inspired by the concepts of crossroads, portals, time, and memory. An opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, April 8, from 4 to 7 p.m. 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. Admission is free. For more information, call 315-462-0210, or visit mainstreetartsgallery.com.
From June 10 through September 10, 2017, the George Eastman Museum (900 East Avenue) will host "The Photographs of Eugene Richards: A Retrospective." The internationally renowned work of Richards is socially oriented, with a steadfast emphasis on the ongoing struggles associated with poverty and war. His oeuvre contains a poetically stark look at the unglamorous, under-examined sides of lived experience. The George Eastman Museum 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.
Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince Street) and ImageOut will co-present "We Are Family," focusing on the spectrum of relationships that make a home. The exhibit, which runs September 1 through October 28, 2017, will be presented in tandem with "Found Families," which features contemporary artists working with found family photographs, the concept of the "new" family album, and home movie footage. VSW is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 442-8676 or visit vsw.org.
And here's a bonus event! After a successful first-time endeavor last fall, Genesee Center for the Arts & Education (713 Monroe Avenue) will present its second Flower City Pottery Invitational, from Friday, October 14 through Sunday, October 16, 2016, with additional workshops being offered on Thursday, October 13. Pulled together by esteemed ceramicists Richard Aerni and Matt Metz, the weekend is filled with exhibitions and sales, workshops, and demonstrations. Admission to the public exhibition on Saturday and Sunday is free, and workshops cost $25-$35 to attend. Check out the full details online at rochesterarts.org/special-events/pottery-invitational-2016.