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Paying attention




There’s an interesting overview of how John Ruskin took the perception of beauty as a foundation for social reform here. His drawings are exceptional; the ones of Venice remind me of Canaletto. I’m not sure I share his view of beauty and his passion for reform: the perception of ugliness often means you aren’t seeing […]

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True blue




A finely written piece, again from The Paris Review, from a young Rochester novelist on how costly ultramarine paint once was. It’s fascinating how an artist using cheaper substitutes would be taking terrible career risks. Now it’s one of the less expensive paints, something I use constantly but mostly to mix with raw umber to get […]

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Unfinishing it




  On my recent visit to the home and studios of Bill and Jean Stephens, I got a look at a wall full of work Bill has been doing. The little grove of trees (where Jean built her human-sized nest of branches and twigs) fascinates Bill, and he’s been doing an extensive series of paintings and […]

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Landscape lottery




Jim Mott, my friend the itinerant painter, has modified his M.O. just slightly. He’s an itinerant painter who now, sometimes, becomes a . . . hm. . .  sojourning painter, I guess. Not to put too fine a point on it, technically speaking, he goes somewhere now and hangs around longer. Until lately, he’s been doing very long-distance laps […]

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Squaring the circle

Some of my favorite paintings by Jean Stephens are the ones she’s done of bird’s nests. I recently visited her home and studio, where she lives and works with Bill Stephens in Honeoye Falls, south of our home in Pittsford–I spent most of my time talking with him and Bill Santelli. It’s a fantastic place, […]

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Reverence for the everyday

The Mezzanine is one of my favorite novels, which is why I like to think of Nicholson Baker as a Rochester homeboy. The entire novel took place on an escalator that once existed downtown here. From the intro to an interview with Baker in The Paris Review: Few other authors would notice, as Baker did in The Mezzanine, that […]

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All about the paint




A nice reflection in Artsy about the Larry Poons show at Danese, one of my favorite galleries in NYC. I saw the last show of his latest work there a while back. Like Thiebaud, he’s as prolific as ever, regardless of age. The work seems somewhere between late Monet and 50’s AbEx, with his color reaching back to […]

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A not-for-sale cat. At least 50 shades of gray.




“It can be such an insane, strange undertaking to be an artist.” –Sarah F. Burns But it can be worth it. To wit, from Sarah F. Burns: David Rosenak has become sort of a mentor (for me) or an example of having integrity as an artist. So, to set the stage for how he has been […]

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Vlad tidings




A portrait of Lenin, from the photograph of him lying in state. This is one of those paintings that makes you want to pick up a brush immediately.  It reminds me of Michael Borremans, who had a knock-out show at Zwirner a while back, stunningly good, but since then. . .  hm.) And this is stronger than his […]

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Proceed slowly: work in progress




This sounds like a great idea, from the email I got: Join us at Makers Gallery and Studio, Saturday May 23rd from 6-10pm for our inaugural show entitled process.  We are located in the Neighborhood of the Arts on the third floor of 34 Elton Street, Rochester (parking is directly across the street).  Avvino will […]

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