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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Charles E. Burchfield is kind of a big deal around here, but until fairly recently I didn't care much for his work. He was a local boy, and Buffalo State College has been home to the world's largest collection of his work, but for a long time the Burchfield-Penney Gallery was housed in an infelicitous setting on campus, and I just never got it. When the Burchfield-Penney moved into a new building on campus I spent a little more time with his stuff, and I started to understand what the big deal was. The fact is, the guy understood the quality of light in Western New York. The other day I was out looking at an accident scene, and taking a few photos. On the right is an example of what November looks like around here. On the left is Burchfield capturing it. Now, I'm not saying that the early winter skies of Western New York are the most cheerful sight in the world, but there is a quality of light here that I don't think I've seen anywhere else, and Burchfield nails it. With music I find that I respect people who listen with big ears. I'm less well versed in the visual arts, but I'm catching on, gradually, and what I am finding is that it is important to look with big eyes.


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