I won’t pretend to be an art aficionado that travels the globe visiting art galleries and schmoozing at showings with the artist like a pro. I do however appreciate creative minds and visiting galleries and museums during my travels, so I was very excited to discover one of Buffalo’s galleries on my recent trip.
A Special Tour of Burchfield Penney Art Center
This visit to the Burchfield Penney Art Center was super special for me as I was given a personal tour with Kathleen Heyworth and Scott Propeack. Scott is the man behind the exhibits, and as he walked me through the gallery, he gave me a behind the scenes take on each display and what his personal favourites were. I could have spent the entire day with this duo if they had the time, I’ve never seen or experienced a gallery entirely as I did on this trip.
Getting a Sneak Peak at the New Charles Burchfield Exhibit
It would be open in just over a week, and paintings were displayed on the floor as the curators discussed where to hang them. The subject: a new Charles Burchfield exhibit is displaying his watercolour paintings.
The exhibit (now on display) is called Exalted Nature, and as I walked around the room, I was almost afraid to get too close to these delicate paintings which can only be displayed for short periods of time to avoid fading and other signs of ageing.
The Burchfield Penney Art Center has the most extensive collection of his work, but his paintings have been on display in major galleries in the U.S. and around the world. Also in this part of the gallery is a re-creation of his studio, a dark room I would never imagine could inspire so much creativity.
Alexander O. Levy (1881 – 1947) The Evolution of an American Art Deco Painter
The main exhibit was a tribute to Buffalo artist Alexander O. Levy who came to Buffalo in 1909 as an art director. As a graphic designer myself, I immediately gasped in awe as I looked at his amazing illustrations complete with crop marks as he envisioned them to appear in the newspapers and magazines. My entire Illustrator and Photoshop life suddenly seemed so little as I took in each of the fantastic hand drawn or painted works of art and imagined life before Apple Computers and Adobe Creative Suite.
Levy was a fascinating artist moving from advertising illustrations, to portraits of high society women and then into landscapes and nature. A theme in many of Alexander O. Levy’s paintings pointed out to me by Scott during our tour was how small the people were in his nature paintings. He painted vast landscapes with massive trees and then as if he was pointing out how small we humans are in the scope of the world around us, he had these little shadows of people within the scene.
Judy Olson Gregory: Taking Tea Exhibit
I enjoyed the tranquil and meditative area displaying Judy Olson’s art made entirely with tea bags. Each piece is unique and uses different tea leaves and containers to create patterns in the long delicate panels hung around a sand box.
While no real tea is served here in this virtual tea room, I was invited inside, to the small meditative sand box where I moved the sand around to reveal a special message to ponder.
Also, to the fantastic panels of the virtual tea room was this tremendous robe created entirely with tea bags and leaves. It was a stunning piece, and as I zoomed in to view it up close, I can’t imagine the painstaking delicate work required to put this all together.
Artists in Buffalo – Special Events
If you plan to visit the Burchfield Penney Art Center, you may want to visit during one of the Artists in Buffalo Open Doors events. I was fortunate enough to catch the Holiday Open held in December where I got to meet my favourite Buffalo artist in person (see post-Buffalo Heats Things Up). The Artists in Buffalo society holds these special open door exhibitions typically in December and before Mothers day so check their website for information. Anything from paintings, pottery and jewellery are available for purchase and make great unique gifts for everyone. It was so lovely to walk around and talk to all the local artists of the Buffalo area.
A very special thank you to Scott Propeack and Kathleen Heyworth for taking the time to walk me through the entire gallery. You indeed opened my eyes to the fantastic world of art on display at the Burchfield Penney Art Center I can’t wait to come back again.
Travel assistance provided by Visit Buffalo Niagara, however, the opinions expressed in this post are my own.