James Vullo Opening Featured on the Artvoice Blog
Friday, March 9, 2012
James Vullo at the Burchfield Penney
In 1938, when he was just 24 years old, James Vullo’s first exhibition opened at the Albright Art Gallery. Vullo began drawing around the age of eight. He loved the city, especially its waterfront, which is evident in his unique rendering of Buffalo’s cityscapes. After serving in World War II, Vullo attended the Art Institute of Buffalo. He was asked to be an instructor of life drawing and taught alongside distinguished faculty such as Charles E. Burchfield, Edwin Dickson, Isaac Soyer, and David Foster Pratt throughout the early to mid 1950s. Vullo experimented with watercolor, oils, acrylic, gouache, casein, pen and ink, pencil, chalk, wax crayon, and graphite. His artwork was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Butler Institute. He went on to teach at Buffalo State College and other local institutions. In his lifetime he never drove an automobile and was seen riding his bicycle all over the city. He continued to live on the West Side of Buffalo and painted until his death in 1999.
In the aptly titled exhibition Deconstructing Urbania, Vullo’s artworks capture the moods and ambiance of Buffalo by literally “deconstructing” the buildings and textures into cubist shapes and shadows. He experimented with various artistic styles such as ashcan realism, abstract cubism, and landscape minimalism. Through these styles Vullo was able to create landscapes that form an architectural presence while also radiating a specific disposition. The touches of warm colors and gritty textures that Vullo uses help to reveal the aspects of Buffalo that make it an embraceable city: its enthusiastic community and unique urban space.
James Vullo: Deconstructing Urbania will be on view at the Burchfield Penney Art Center through August 26. The exhibit opens with a guided tour tonight (March 9) at 5:30pm, as part of the Burchfield Penney’s Second Friday event alongside the opening of three other exhibits.
Vullo’s work is also on display at Meibohm Fine Arts (478 Main Street, East Aurora) through March 24. The exhibit, Works in Black & White, features minimalist artworks in black and white from 1966-1976.