A solo show featuring the paintings, drawings, and sculpture of Jacquie Alberga Germanow opened at Geisel Gallery (1 Bausch & Lomb Place) on First Friday. The overarching theme in Germanow's work is water, whether expressed in figurative work, portraits, or symbol-heavy sculpture.
"Clearly the glass forms I have created are for me translations of water energy, and their fluid transparency a metaphor for truth and clarity," she says. But the portraits she paints also have an aquatic element as well, sometimes in unpredictable ways.
In "Transition," a painting of a reclining man, Germanow has given her subject a yellow shirt that is seemingly made of waves of light. The bright, undulating material is as kinetic and chaotic as the sea, while its translucence reveals the powerful form and warm skin underneath.
"The human form is the most complex organization of water than I have drawn into focus," she says. She also links human expression and gesture to flowing water. "Water and spirit are metaphorically inseparable in this works."
Though some of Germanow's art seems to have religious undertones -- such as three crucifix-looking, mixed-media sculptures in the rear space of the gallery -- the artist says this is not intentional. The concepts she's working with are much more universal. One of these, a staff-shaped work, "Forgiveness," can be interpreted as a body distorted by the weight of hate, but striving toward a state of grace. Finger and talon-shaped protrusions sprout from the carved and painted oak form, but as the eye follows upward, the acidic colors calm.
See the show through November 30. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit thegeiselgallery.com.
Richard Harvey and Nancy Valle both have work showing in the Little Theatre Café (140 East Avenue) through November 30. The exhibition, "Reveal," includes Harvey's figurative paintings, collages, and sculptures, and Valle's ceramic sculpture.
"As a figurative artist, I explore the psychological and emotive potential of the human face and figure in a contemporary expressionistic style," Harvey says.
His subjects are less people than they are embodiments of emotions and states of mind, and each confronts the viewer with pared-down countenances of vortex eyes and weatherworn hides. Moon-shaped faces preside in atmospheric skies, features sketched out expressively and conveying a sense of calm unease.
Valle's hand-built work is even more pared down, her figurative forms often composed of head and bust shapes but covered in patterns and textures also representative of human conditions.
"Since beginning in sculpture with clay, a broad theme has been central to my work: the relationship between the physical cycles of the natural world and our place within it," she says. "My new work is informed by observations, memories and ideas about who we are as individuals and how we reveal ourselves within nature, community, and culture. These ceramic figural forms are reactions to traditional portraiture: people represented at milestones in their lives from birth to the obituary photo."
See "Reveal" when the Little Theatre Café is open: Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.; Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 5 to 11 p.m.; and Saturday, noon to 11 p.m. For more information, email email@example.com.
A small exhibit of stencil and spray paint work by Rochester street artist Ax opened at Surface Salon (658 South Avenue) on Friday night to celebrate Surface's 7th anniversary. "Lost Axiom" features eight large paintings on wood panels, each with a not-so-subtle poke at humanity.
In "It's okay, I don't want to admit we are related either" a chimp covers his eyes in shame while holding a sign that with the title on it. Another piece features a beaming graduate in cap and gown, presenting her diploma with the words "Crippling Debt" in austere calligraphy. A painting of an iPhone locked screen shows a line of "Ax News" headlines, all topical tragedies, with the opportunity to "slide to ignore."
It's cool to see Ax pull together work for a gallery show -- you can usually spot his art painted on walls around Rochester on cardboard that he leaves zip tied to fences and posts for people to find and take home. Ax's work will remain on the walls at least through the end of the month. For hours and more information, call 360-4446 or visit surfaceonsouth.com.