James J. Vullo (1914-1999), So Empty So Silent, c. 1950; gouache on paper, 24 x 18 3/4 inches; Private Collection
James Vullo: Deconstructing Urbania
With support from the Tower Family Foundation and Private Donors
On View Friday, March 9–Sunday, September 23, 2012
Although artist James Vullo (1914-1999) created works in varied styles – ashcan realism, abstract cubism and landscape minimalism – at different periods in his life, his focus was always on the environment with which he was most familiar: the city and its surroundings. In his early work he depicted the darker realities of early 20thcentury Western New York with its growing industrial base. By mid-career, his work evolved from representations of isolated urbanism to panes of color – a visual celebration of the geometry and beauty of the architecture in the region. And his style would change dramatically again when, in his later years, he stripped away intense cubic color constructions to settle into monochromatic landscapes.
Before serving in World War II, Vullo’s work was first exhibited at the celebrated Western New York show at the Albright Art Gallery in 1938, when he was just 24 years old. Upon his return from war, Vullo attended the Art Institute of Buffalo. In addition to painting, he spent most of his life teaching at Buffalo State College and other local institutions. Throughout his life he depicted his changing aesthetic view of a changing world – and then as now, his unique altered landscapes give audiences a sense of his perspective.