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John M. Opera (b. 1975), Caprice II, 2006; archival inkjet print, 52 x 42 inches; Gift of Phyllis Opera, 2011

John M. Opera (b. 1975), Caprice II, 2006; archival inkjet print, 52 x 42 inches; Gift of Phyllis Opera, 2011


On View Friday, April 22–Sunday, November 20, 2016

West-end Gallery   

Sequel is an exhibition about sustainability developed as part of an ongoing series of exhibitions that reflect the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s role to stimulate community engagement on social issues through aesthetics and discussion. Conceptually, Sequel relates to the upcoming exhibition, Blistering Vision, that explores environmental issues as represented in art that depicts sublime landscapes as well as dystopian views, the aftermath of human destruction and pollution.

Blistering Vision focuses on the art of Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967). His symbolic, realist, romantic, and transcendental landscapes dating from the early to mid-20th century reveal his appreciation for the natural world and his abhorrence of industrial pollution’s destructiveness. He loved all aspects of nature, from its smallest wildflowers to grand, awe-inspiring panoramas expanding into the cosmos. Burchfield’s paintings also present evidence of the coal industry’s sulfur-filled streams in Ohio and Buffalo’s polluted ground and skies caused by the steel industry, among other sources.

In a parallel survey, Sequel presents art made by Western New York artists in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Echoing Burchfield’s visionary and realistic views, the exhibition includes photography by Patricia Layman Bazelon, Sherwin Greenberg, John M. Opera, John Pfahl, and Catherine Linder Spencer; sculpture by Christy Rupp; paintings by Robert N. Blair, Scott Dedecker, Michael Herbold, Mark Lavatelli, Claire Shuttleworth, Paul B. Turecki, and Michael Zwack; and prints by Niels Yde Andersen.

Sequel was curated by SUNY Buffalo State graduate students in the museum studies course, “Researching and Presenting Museum Collections,” who include: Justin Dahl, Kirsten Feigel, Steve Groff, Ellen Martin, Hannah Page, Kelsey Reed, Nellie Slocum, Taylor Smolinski, Jennifer Weber, Jordan White, and Evan A. Wright. They worked with Nancy Weekly, Burchfield Penney Instructor of Museum Studies at SUNY Buffalo State, who is also Head of Collections and the Charles Cary Rumsey Curator at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Together they selected artworks that illustrate the duality of the world we live in: nature’s vibrancy and tenacity, as well as the collateral damage of industrialization. Then they researched the artists and related themes, and wrote label texts for both adults and children. Their labels accompany the artworks they selected, and will be added to the museum’s document files for future reference.