News Column

Inspired by the Ontario Plain

June 29, 2014

By Mia Summerson, Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, N.Y.

June 29--NORTH TONAWANDA -- Anyone who has spent time in the Great Lakes region knows that there is a lot of beauty there, so it's not really a surprise that so many talented artists have developed throughout the area.

Nearly a dozen of the most seasoned and talented artists from along the Ontario Plain have been brought together for a show of their skills. An exhibit called "The Ontario Plain Group of Twelve" is on display at the River Art Gallery through July.

"They're a collective group of artists from Niagara and Orleans Counties," said River Gallery Manager Cindi O'Mara. "Each (artist) is a little different, some do oil paintings, some do water colors and we also have a photographer. It's a really wide variety of things."

The subject matter in the art varies tremendously from piece to piece. There are landscapes, there are highly detailed portraits of Native Americans in traditional clothing and there are snapshots from along the Erie Canal, among other things.

Dennis Stierer took the Erie Canal photos as part of an Erie Canal Series that he has been working on for several years. What makes his work unique is that he makes use of very early photo developing techniques, even using cameras that would now be considered obsolete.

"I use old wooden cameras and make platinum palladium prints," said Stierer, who had previously worked as a newspaper photographer at the Union-Sun & Journal for 15 years. "I like making things from scratch. I've always worked with large film cameras and large sheets of real film. With just a long and delicate tonal scale, the archivability lasts forever."

River Gallery owner Lisa Langer says that the different ways in which the artists handle their media is what makes this unique show so wonderful.

"I love the diversity, you never know what someone else is going to like, so this has a broad appeal," Langer said.

Often exhibits in art galleries focus on a common theme, like subject matter, technique or medium, this exhibit demonstrates more variety. Stierer says that as a show, there really is no common theme, just these artists who are coming together to share their love for art.

"O'Mara is fabulous at putting shows together and keeping things on time," he said. "It's a lot of work, especially when dealing with 12 artists. You have to get the pieces there and put it all together. She does a fabulous job."

Aside from Stierer, the 10 other artists featured at the show are Arthur Barnes, Catherine Brown, Geoff Harding, Manning McCandlish, Linda Parlato, Joan Shaw, Paul Thomas, Joan Turrell, Mark Weld and Anne Zohur. The 12th artist was unable to participate due to illness.

The Ontario Plain Group of 12 exhibit runs through July 12 at the River Art Gallery, 83 Webster St.

"Each artist has been making art for many, many years," Stierer said. "Most of them are members of other elite organizations like the Buffalo Society of Artists. Each do art in a different of a way and each is uniquely talented."

Nothing 'plain' about these artists ... Area artists showing their unique works at the River Art Gallery, 83 Webster St., North Tonawanda, include: Arthur Barnes Catherine Brown Geoff Harding Manning McCandlish Linda Parlato Joan Shaw Dennis Stierer Paul Thomas Joan Turrell Mark Weld Anne Zohur


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Source: Lockport Union-Sun & Journal (NY)

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