Visual Arts Program

Friday, November 8, 2013 — Friday, December 20, 2013

Dennis Maher

A House's Eye

Fargo Frames and Furnishings

Opening Reception:
Friday, November 8, 2013, 8:00 to 11:00 pm

Artists' Talk:
Friday, November 8, 8:00 pm

Exhibition continues through December 20

The multi-faceted practice of Buffalo artist Dennis Maher has included large and small sculptures, immersive installations, reliefs, photo collages, and drawings. At the center of his work over the past several years has been an ongoing process of recombining and hybridizing structural forms and architectural details into new assembles and configurations. Old detritus moved toward new possibilities.

While Maher's source materials of architectural forms implies that his repurposed works are new "structures," this allusion often gives way to more ambiguous tangents. Fragments of narrative arise in every part of the work, as though to both allude to the materials' past, its actual and curious present, and even to suggest its future form, as most of the work, despite its physical state, seems to be caught in a moment of transformation. There is a palpable sense that Maher's work, as purposefully as it is concocted, is never presenting itself in a finished state. Implications of future growth are abundant throughout the work.

For the last several years, Maher has been using his home on Fargo Avenue in Buffalo as an active art and architectural lab, a petrie dish within which all his previous sculptural tendencies can now inhabit what appears to be their idealized space. All of his structurally-repurposed materials have been replanted and set to bloom within a new (that is, old and itself repurposed) structure.

On the surface, the Fargo House suggests certain manic, hoarderesque tendencies, but that is an effect of its immense and varied details. Considered more carefully, there is rigorous intention visible in all aspects of the interior, the careful choices applied when locating structure within structure. The eye of an architect and artist at work/play.

Which perhaps makes it doubly-curious that Maher's Hallwalls project, comprised of sculptures, wall drawings, and reliefs all derived from the Fargo House is titled A House's Eye. It is a title that underscores Maher's freeform aesthetic and his own willingness to concede to what he perceives to be the needs and desires of the forms he is working with. It is almost as though Maher behaves as a conduit through which the Fargo House is able to reconstruct and reconsider itself.

Dennis Maher  is an artist and architect whose work explores relationships between HOUSE and CITY.  For the past 10 years, his projects have engaged processes of disassembly and reconstitution through drawing, photography, collage and constructions.  In his ongoing Undone-Redone City project, Maher has continually reformulated the structural and substructural remains of houses, conjuring a new urban core from assembled city fragments.  In 2010, Maher established the FARGO HOUSE, a center for the urban imaginary in Buffalo, NY.  Maher was selected as the 2012-2013 Artist In Residence at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.  Exhibitions by Maher have also been presented at such venues as Black and White Gallery and Project Space (Brooklyn, NY), Pulse Miami Art Fair, Real Art Ways (Hartford, CT), Galeria Antoni Pinyol (Reus, Spain), Superfront LA, The Carnegie Center (Covington, KY) and Burchfield Penney Art Center (Buffalo, NY).   Maher is a recipient of the NYFA Fellowship (2013),  the Real Art Ways STEP UP Award (2011), the Black and White Project Space Prize (2010), a NYSCA Independent Projects Grant (2010), and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship (2008).  Maher's work has been featured in NYTimes, Architectural Review, ARCHDaily,  Architect Magazine and on the national radio program Smart City Radio.  Maher is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at SUNY, University at Buffalo, where he has taught since 2004.