Over the Fence Showcases Work of Artistic Neighbors
20th Century Works by Bruce Adams and Jackie Felix Engage in a Visual Conversation
Buffalo, NY – Bruce Adams and Jackie Felix were both highly respected members of the Buffalo art community when they happened to end up as neighbors. Adams recalls being surprised and delighted when he discovered that Jackie Felix had moved in. Their mutual admiration resulted in many meaningful conversations in their backyards, over the fence. The two discussed a bit of everything, including art community gossip, stories of success, and of frustration. They discussed the logistics of being painters, a new medium or a way to clean brushes.
In the 1980s, the two artists were somewhat aligned aesthetically and Adams recalls that Felix’s work reaffirmed his own. Bold color choices and dynamic brush strokes almost seemed to attack the canvases, harkening back a bit to German Expressionism.
Even as their styles diverged, each artist shared a reverence for the other. “As we progressed in different directions I would often look at her latest work with a mix of envy and dismay--because it was so good and innovative. I suppose she was one of several local artists that kept me on my feet artistically,” Adams recalls.
Perhaps more interesting than the visual similarities in their work of the time, were the shared inspirations and subject matter. Both Adams and Felix collected imagery from magazines, books and movies and each employed an uncompromising approach to capturing their subject matters. Their paintings dealt with American commerce, religious dogma and the iconic representations of female sexuality.
Over the Fence will open during Allentown’s First Friday Gallery Walk in October, on the night of the 7th from 6pm - 9pm. The exhibition examines the work of Adams and Felix and places the pieces in a visual conversation about real life, politics and human nature. Each artist comes at the same motifs with different solutions and assessments.
Gallery Director Emily Tucker, who will be running a new contemporary space on Richmond and West Ferry in one year’s time, plans to use the long running space on Elmwood to showcase historical work of artists that will fall under her representation in the new gallery. “I think it’s important to remember where artists have come from. I can envision myself hosting an exhibition of brand new work by an artist at my space on West Ferry, while simultaneously honoring earlier work on Elmwood.”
Many artists living locally have large bodies of work which have not been exhibited or promoted locally and nationally in decades, if ever. “Including Bruce’s work is a perfect example of my future plans. At first I thought of curating a show of Jackie’s work alone, as that would be the usual course of action at Benjaman Gallery.” Upon reflection, Tucker felt that there were many interesting ways in which the work of Adams and Felix could interact. “I would love to (re)familiarize people with Adams’ earlier pieces and this was a great opportunity.”
Adams and Felix shared an amazing sense of humor in their work and in their friendship. They remained close until her death. Adam’s recalls a favorite memory he shared with Felix. One day he asked her, "What were the chances that the two greatest painters in Buffalo would end up living next door to each other?" He remembers Jackie saying, "What do you mean two?"