On First Friday last week, Gallery r opened their new collaborative exhibition. The works of two artists with different expertise in their respective mediums have been joined together to create “Leap Into The Dark”. This fusion of Bradley Butler’s paintings and Mitchell Messina’s sculptures tells an uncommon tale. It is a great opportunity for art lovers in the Rochester area to experience quite a unique exhibition. The show continues to display until March 26.

Bradley Butler is an RIT alumnus who received his MFA in 2010. His art
mainly includes landscape-like paintings that he creates “to disconnect from reality and then to disconnect from the act of painting itself”. As he paints to achieve everything within nothingness, he also hints at the space that exists between reality and imagination. He refers to the series of his paintings showcased at Gallery r as the “Darker/Blacker Phase”. In the beginning of 2016, he started to represent his emotions on canvas with the help of bold dark shades. It is his curiosity to the unknown that inspires these paintings, a poetic depiction of the emotional spaces that a mind dwells in.

Photo by Brandon Vick Photography LLC

Mitchell Messina, on the other hand, uses his sculptures to show how technology has affected human interaction. Primitive technology was an addendum of the human mind and body, however, with time this addendum has turned into an impediment that limits communication between two individuals. Messina’s male figures represent the self-consumed state of humanity. He sends a loud message that many have been denying for a long time.

Photo by Brandon Vick Photography LLC

The beautiful paradox of this exhibition is that the sculptures represent lack of human interaction and expression, a darkness if you will, and the paintings search for an expression through the darkness. As the title suggests, this exhibition is indeed a journey into the dark. The credit for the idea of bringing these distinct art forms together belongs to Gallery r Director John Aäsp.

Gallery r is located at 100 College Avenue in downtown Rochester and is open from Thursday to Sunday between 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Check out the Gallery r site for more info.

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