Resource:Art (R:A) is thrilled to announce Beyond the Wall: A Closer Look at the Work of John Baker, Julia Bottoms-Douglas, Chuck Tingley, and Edreys Wajed. The exhibition at Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT) will present the work of the four artists involved in The Freedom Wall, an extensive mural at Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street in Buffalo, NY, commissioned by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Public Art Initiative in partnership with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority earlier this year. Beyond the Wall opens on Friday, November 3rd with a public reception from 6 - 9, as part of Allentown’s First Friday Gallery Walk and will remain on view through Saturday, November 25th. Aaron Ott, Curator of Public Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery will speak about The Freedom Wall at 6:30pm on Nov 3rd.
Beyond the Wall aims to give a deeper context to the Freedom Wall project, by allowing the viewer to learn more about each of the four artists involved. The installation will include both work related directly to the mural project, as well as work representative of each artist’s larger creative practice. In conjunction with the exhibition, students in BCAT’s youth program will be creating work inspired by their personal heroes, a selection of which will also be on view during the run of the exhibition.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
JOHN BAKER (American, born 1964) is a nationally recognized artist, curator, and educator from Buffalo. Baker is a natural storyteller and focuses his production on images designed to elicit emotional responses intended to inspire viewers to learn more about the subject matter at hand. As an artist, Baker has executed murals, participated in solo and group exhibitions locally and nationally, and has engaged diverse communities in a dedicated and lifelong effort to share the value of cultural production. Baker is a multi-talented curator and educator, having developed exhibitions with numerous institutions, each time providing unique visitor experiences, supporting dynamic outreach opportunities, and encouraging inquiry-based learning for all audiences. Baker is a long-celebrated activist for artists in the region, often providing young artists with their inaugural opportunities for workshops and exhibitions. His tireless support of other artists' practices has led to his recent advancement as the president of the newly formed Western New York Urban Arts Collective, a group assembled to provide mutual support for representation in the region, especially for underserved artists and artists of color.
JULIAN BOTTOMS-DOUGLAS (American, born 1988) is a Buffalo-based artist focused on realistic and recognizable representations, using portraiture to give a glimpse of people of color as sensitive, sincere, and multi-faceted; images that the artist feels are often missing in mainstream portrayals. Bottoms-Douglas has previously focused on depictions of men in part because she feels a “certain level of expressive privilege often denied to men by our culture,” giving her the freedom to explore and deviate from notions of accepted but deeply flawed racial stereotypes and distorted gender roles. Recently her work has slightly broadened, focusing less on gender specifics as it turns toward aspects of character in general. Bottoms-Douglas feels that in a culture that so often markets reductive representations of the beauty, grace, and intellect of people of color that it is necessary to produce and promote nuanced and constructive images that actively break that cycle. Bottoms-Douglas proudly asserts, “People of color have been trapped in someone else’s narrative for too long, and when we have tried to write our own, we have often been erased from the mainstream’s history books. I believe it is time for us to use the talents we possess to speak our truth. Our lives are worthy of dialogue.”Bottoms-Douglas has exhibited regionally, including a recent exhibition of her work at the Buffalo Arts Studio, Tinted: A Visual Statement on Color, Identity, and Representation (April 28–June 2, 2017). Bottoms-Douglas is the inaugural artist for the Open Buffalo Emerging Artist Series. She is also a contributing writer for AFROPUNK.
CHUCK TINGLEY (American, born 1983) is a Buffalo-based artist primarily focused on figurative representations through drawing and painting. Tingley’s concentration on realistically rendered figures as subject matter is made dynamic and emotional by relying on the expressionistic application of layers of paint and the inclusion of abstract designs hovering amid diaphanous backgrounds. Tingley hopes that his work connects spiritually and psychologically with his viewers in a way that allows them to plumb their own passions and to build unique narratives based on their individual sensations and perceptions.Tingley’s work has been published in regional publications such as The Public and Spark Magazine. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at the Olean Public Library and El Museo Gallery and High-Temp Fabrication in Buffalo. He has also been included in group exhibitions at the Burchfield Penney Art Center and the Erie Art Museum in Erie, Pennsylvania. Tingley has executed numerous public murals in Western New York, including commissions for Artpark in Lewiston, Glow Gallery in Buffalo, and, most recently, Art Alley in Niagara Falls. In 2015 and 2016, he received Decentralization Grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and in 2016 he was honored by Arts Services Initiative of Western New York as a Finalist for the Artist of the Year Spark Cultural Award.
EDREYS WAJED (American, born 1974) is an artist, educator, performer, and entrepreneur based in Buffalo. Wajed’s most recent series of drawings consist of black-and-white line-based representations often taking the form of expressive yet minimal portraiture. Initially started as a daily practice to expand his creative output, Wajed has created more than 700 individual works in this series. Wajed is well known locally as a multi-talented artist expressing his talents through the creation of jewelry, spoken word, music, and educational activities. Wajed has said of his artistic ambition that his “inspiration is to actually BE an inspiration. I want to be an inspiration to others through my thoughts, words and actions.” Wajed’s unyielding positivity and generous spirit result in a visionary practice that is the culmination of committed and sensitive observation of the world. This provides Wajed with purpose larger than himself; one which he shares generously to inspire those around him to “get real for real results.”
ABOUT THE FREEDOM WALL
The Freedom Wall is a mural project on at Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street in Buffalo commissioned by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery Public Art Initiative in partnership with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority earlier this year. The mural features portraits of twenty-eight influential individuals in the story and struggle for civil rights in the United States. The Albright-Knox explains the selection of individuals on their website:
The list of subjects was generated from multiple public meetings with community members that yielded hundreds of suggestions, featuring a mix of local and national leaders. The success of this mural stems from those candid and inspiring meetings, and the final work is designed to reflect a broad and boundless conversation. A guidance committee composed of local historians, community activists, and artists, including Karima Amin, Max Anderson, Dr. Cynthia Conides, Hiram Cray, Eva Doyle, and Dr. Henry Taylor helped determine a consensus list. In selecting and ordering the final twenty-eight subjects, the group aimed to shape a unique story about civil and human rights work in American history, with an eye toward contextualizing national work and local impact.
The portraits were executed by Baker, Bottoms-Douglas, Tingley, and Wajed. For more information, visit https://www.albrightknox.org/community/ak-public-art/freedom-wall.
ABOUT Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology
The Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT) is based on Pittsburgh’s Manchester Bidwell Corporation, a nationally recognized arts and training center founded in 1969 by Bill Strickland. Manchester Bidwell results indicate that 85% of adults who go through its program attain employment, and over 90% of high school students enrolled in its arts programs graduate from high school. Buffalo is the eighth U.S. city to replicate Strickland’s model.
The mission of the Buffalo Center for Arts & Technology (BCAT), as part of Buffalo’s economic revitalization, is twofold:
To keep youth in school through high school completion so they are able to take advantage of the post-secondary opportunities the “Say Yes” scholarship program makes available to them. We do this by offering high-quality and high-tech arts instruction and studio space.
To assist unemployed or underemployed adults in securing jobs with wages sufficient to support a family. We accomplish this through NYS Education Department-approved training programs that will lead to jobs in the healthcare industry.
Visit for http://buffaloartstechcenter.org/ more information.
RESOURCE:ART fine art consultancy group is a unique collaboration that brings together the talents of three independent Western New York gallerists: Anna Kaplan (Anna Kaplan Contemporary, formerly BT&C Gallery), Elisabeth Samuels (Indigo Art) and Emily Tucker (Benjaman Contemporary). Kaplan, Samuels and Tucker each have extensive curatorial experience and professional relationships with artists working in a wide range of media, including painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, fiber and mixed media works. RESOURCE:ART also manages the execution of site-specific fine art and considers every project as a unique collaboration between the artist and the site, navigating aesthetic, formal, and functional concerns. RESOURCE:ART has collaborated with RESOURCE:ART in the past on Community: The Photography of Milton Rogovin, an exhibition and public mural project. RESOURCE:ART’s most recently installed an extensive exhibition including work by 20 WNY artists at the Hotel Henry. www.resourceartny.com for more information.