Impressive Collection

The Crary Art Gallery is hosting selected and original works from independent curator Gerald Mead’s intriguing collection of artwork from Western New York artists .

Mead is a writer and art collector who teaches in the design department at SUNY Buffalo State in Buffalo, N.Y. and his artworks are in collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y., the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., the Castellani Art Museum in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Oregon State University and the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction in Fort Worth, TX.

A free public opening and reception will be held on Saturday, June 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. with a gallery tour by Mead at 7 p.m. Both “The Collectors Choice” exhibition featuring selected works from Mead’s collection and “Assemblages” by Mead will be at the Crary Art Gallery from Sunday, June 9 through Saturday, July 6.

“It is a great opportunity for us to have these two shows together. We get to show the work of an accomplished artist, but are also highlighting the art collection of an astute curator. And, a surprise bonus for us, this is the first time he has shown his collection alongside his own art. We’re proud that Gerald has brought all this to share with Warren at the Crary,” said Crary Art Gallery Vice President Thomas Paquette.

“The criteria of my collection is specifically artists that have some connection to Western New York meaning from the Pennsylvania line to generally Rochester. That they either lived there, worked there, or taught there or born there, and so it’s actually pretty broad because some of those artists have gone onto international and are really part of the history books in terms of art history,” Mead said.

Mead has selected 43 pieces from his personal collection of over 700 artworks dating from 1880 to present and include artists such as Cindy Sherman, Susan Rothenberg, Charles Burchfield, Philip Burke and Ad Reinhardt.

“As far as collecting, it was a way of me surrounding myself with constant inspiration as an artist but also this appreciation of also being in a museum and being a curator, this appreciation of others work and hopefully developing an eye to discover excellence,” Mead said.

A collection of Mead’s own assemblages and collages from the past two decades that have been exhibited throughout the US and in Australia, Canada, China, England, Poland and Russia, and are published in five collegiate textbooks will also be on display at the Crary Art Gallery.

“I’ve long been intrigued by discarded objects and found images, regarding them as potent and poetic cultural artifacts. Acting in the role of a bricoleur, for years I collected and categorized these materials as resources for my artistic practice. The idea of appropriating objects, detritus and illustrative material and giving them new meaning through a process of recombination has historic precedents in the genres of collage and assemblage, however this strategy takes on new relevance in today’s society a “remix” culture characterized by recycling, sampling, mixing and recontexualizing,” Mead said.

His assemblages and collages are constructed with materials ranging from “vintage prints, antiquated photography equipment, medical slides, and religious ephemera” combined with “images taken from art history and popular print media to create a multi-layered web of metaphors,” he said.

“Having Gerald’s collection at the Crary for a month is possibly the closest thing we will ever have here to a full art museum experience. There is such a range of work, and all of the artists in the show are of historical importance. It is a really great survey of regional art, collected with passion and purpose by one individual,” said Crary Art Gallery Vice President Thomas Paquette. “Gerald’s own assemblages are exquisite and worth a trip to the gallery just to see those. They alone would have made a wonderful month of art at the gallery.”

Mead is also an appointed member of the Buffalo Arts Commission, he serves on several boards and art committees in the region and frequently juries local and national exhibitions. As a leading authority on Western New York art, he has authored numerous essays and articles on art/design associated with the region.