AAA into D-Kirk

Thomas Schwartz
DUNKIRK- Adams Art Gallery is spotlighting eight local artists for the Active Artists Alliance Summer Showcase. The gallery, located in downtown Dunkirk is a block away from artist Jason Wolf’s house. The multi-storey gallery, formerly an old church is a non-profit gallery that offers exhibition space as a non-commercial alternative to mass entertainment. 
Wolfe was one of Eight artists with work on display and his art is powerfully political. One of his pieces, entitled Hilla Monster portrays a certain blonde haired presidential candidate with a big green reptilian body that resembled The Ghostbuster’s mischievous friend Slimer. He also submitted a painting of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s face done in red paint titled Accident Waiting to Happen. 
The artists gathered with a few spectators but according to AAAliance member William Thomas, they didn’t promote the show very widely. “We brought most of this stuff in late June. People can come see it for the next few weeks before it’s taken down.”
Thomas’ artwork features a lot of improvised stencils. Bicycle sprockets look like interlocking gears all over William Thomas’ canvases. “I found a bunch of old parts at the bike shop I work at and I decided to use them in my paintings.” Thomas also produced a series piece of five mixed media canvases called Sun Scape. “I did a stencil of an old 45 record to make that shape there that shows up in all five paintings,” he said 
Mixed media was the format for many pieces currently hanging on the ground floor of the Dunkirk gallery. More than a few artists pasted newspaper clippings to mixed media canvases of wood and wallpaper. 
Pittsburg based art student Rachel Renee Stewert showed a couple pieces that emphasized color. One is a white canvas painted with a full spectrum of colors dripping down from a partial skeleton painted in black, another was a smaller copy of a billboard that hung in Pittsburg; a senior project for this Carnegie Mellon University graduate named Splat. “Red is the Fulcrums in the spectrum” she said about the former. 
Stewert’s school website, cmu.edu poetically describes Splat; “the middle of a car's windshield: a beautiful butterfly meets a messy end.”
 Six copies of the Pittsburg skyline with butterfly wings and a big gob of greenish yellow paint hung atop eachother at the Dunkirk gallery. “This constructed scene comes from an interest in opposites colliding, and in this case industrialization meets the environment. No butterflies were harmed in the making of this piece," Stewart said.
Active Artist Alliance’s goal is to create opportunities for artists and students to showcase their work. They have arranged multi media art shows at Ellicott Brewing Company West, in downtown Fredonia. That show featured many of the same artists featured at The Adams Gallery, also The Audience from Jamestown and Fredonia band, The Evener Outters. Poets grabbed the microphone inbetween bands to fill the downtime.
Not many photographers showcased their work. Multi-surfaced pieces amassed from found material seemed to be the stylistic media of choice for these exciting new artists but photography was represented by one artist. Carrie Cederquist’s submitted a set of five pictures of an abandoned, bombed out house; the only piece of pure photography with no paint involved at the show. 
 Aaron Walters mastered the mixed media. He submitted a painting with an image of The Mother Mary and with a chain-link fence layered over her and a fork-lift layered over that called Lift that he said, “was inspired by a walk around the block.” Frig also hung; a 7inch by 7inch piece of wood and papers with different kinds of prints on them. Sticks and natural stuff with pieces of broken lumber, housing material and clay were used creatively.
The show ran from 6-8 in the evening. Most of the works on display are also for sale and contact information is available either at The Adams Art Gallery located at 600 Central Ave. Dunkirk NY, 14048 or activeartist.org.