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Buffalo State's The Record on Ellen Steinfeld Suspended Motion

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Latest exhibit at Burchfield Penney suspends reality by Colleen Young in Buffalo State's The Record

Students will have the opportunity to get away from winter’s dull gloom when they see the colorful, dramatic sculptures and watercolors on display in Suspended Motion: Sculptures and Watercolors by Ellen Steinfeld, an exhibition on view now through July 28, 2013 in the Charles Cary Rumsey Gallery and the Sylvia Rosen Gallery for Fine Arts in Craft Media at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Both dance and motion fascinate Steinfeld, who creates vivid works in different media that are meant to reflect life at its most exciting moments.

“Art enriches your life and it’s important for students to be exposed to art,” Steinfeld said. “My exhibit is about balance and pushing things to the edge.”

Steinfeld also said that Suspended Motion is the first exhibition of its kind. Burchfield Penney is known for Charles Burchfield’s watercolors, and Western New York is known for steel, so both were combined for her art. “This isn’t the typical approach to watercolors,” Steinfeld said. “I used a variety of transparent, as well as opaque colors. I also used black lines in the paintings to create a window effect. The images you see in my sculptures are similar to my paintings.

“The exhibit is all about color, texture, composition and balance.”

Kathy Gaye Shiroki, Curator of Learning and Community Engagement at the museum, appreciates Suspended Motion's whimsical nature.

“It’s fun to look around at this exhibit,” Shiroki said. “It allows viewers to let loose. I see dancing lines, movement, beautiful arching and nature. “You can almost hear Ellen’s work, with the sounds and seasons coming together. It’s delightful. Dance is about balance and so is her work, even if things aren’t connected.”

Shiroki gave some advice to viewers, telling them to pay attention to more detail to have a better appreciation for Steinfeld’s sculptures.

“Pretend you’re little and play on the sculptures,” Shiroki said. “I like to imagine myself starting at the bottom and working my way up.”

Exhibit curator Nancy Weekly, also a Burchfield Penney Instructor in Museum Studies at Buffalo State, said that though it may seem that Ellen used an odd combination of media for the exhibition, viewers can still see her message.

“The Ellen Steinfeld exhibition, Suspended Motion, is a wonderful interplay between sculpture and watercolor painting to express dance, movement, and a lush, metaphoric landscape,” Weekly said. “You might think this is an unexpected combination of media, but the artist's abstract language of form, volume, space and color speak across three- and two-dimensional means...

“Steinfeld encourages viewers to interpret the works subjectively and individually.” Weekly also said that in honor of Charles Burchfield, the museum is launching a new initiative for watercolors and Steinfeld’s watercolors are the first to be on display for this initiative.

“The Burchfield Penney Art Center is launching an initiative to be an International Center for Watercolor, so this is our first watercolor exhibition to show, in addition to Charles E. Burchfield, our commitment to presenting the art of watercolor,” Weekly said. “I think Buffalo State students will enjoy the fluidity of the exhibition. They don't have to be art majors to appreciate some the underlying concepts the artist expresses.”

Shiroki said that along with this exhibit, there are many more on display at Burchfield Penney, which is a free and fun getaway for Buffalo State staff, faculty and students.

“Come with your friends and dates,” Shiroki said. “Converse and get to know whoever you’re with. It’s a fabulous place and there’s always something going on.”

For more information on Suspended Motion: Sculptures and Watercolors and other exhibitions at the museum, visit For more information on Ellen Steinfeld’s work, visit

Colleen Young can be reached by email at