Paley, Merritt, Urso part of Fashion Week show – Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

With barely two weeks to go before Fashion Week of Rochester’s inaugural art show, Christine and Paul Knoblauch hosted a dinner at their studio in North Winton Village in the city. Talking over wine and pasta, more than a dozen local artists and their families marveled about the upcoming show and the talent here in Rochester.

“This show is about families,” says metal sculptor Christine Knoblauch. “The community is so good to the artists; this is a way for artists to give back.”

On Thursday, some of Rochester’s best known artists will show their works and attend Fashion Week’s Gallery of Fashion event at the former Merkel Donohue building at the corners of South Avenue and Woodbury Boulevard downtown. World-renowned metal sculptor Albert Paley will be showing his Sylvan sculpture, and his wife Frances Paley will showcase a series of fashion photo prints that resemble water color paintings. Paul Knoblauch is working on a pair of oversized metal chairs with a Dr. Seuss quality to them, and Christine Knoblauch is displaying her latest creation of a metal gate featuring birds and bamboo leaves.

Others involved include renowned furniture artist Wendell Castle and his sculptor wife Nancy Jurs, and painter and sculptor Leonard Urso and his jeweler wife Myung Urso. In total, 22 artists are part of the show, all pledging to donate 40 percent of any sales to Center for Youth, Fashion Week’s beneficiary.

At Paley Studios off Lyell Avenue in Rochester, both Frances and Albert Paley are preparing art for the show. Frances Paley curated a series of her striking art images that combine the use of photographic images with computer enhancements. Each image represents a moment in time with the color taken out to make the background more prominent. The image is then enhanced with color, creating a soulful, surreal piece of art.

A featured art print is Red Hat. It’s a profile portrait of a woman with a tall exaggerated hat in a bright red hue, with the colors and style complementing the theme of Fashion. Albert Paley made the contemporary style frames for his wife’s art.

In the spacious metal workshop, Albert Paley shows the Sylvan sculpture that is ready for Fashion Week. Standing more than 10 feet tall and weighing 1,200 pounds, Sylvan has an organic, fluid quality. Massive in stature, the work represents a non-literal basis of design evoking an emotional dimension, Albert Paley says.

The endowed chair and distinguished professor at Rochester Institute of Technology has been busy working on several projects, including a public work in Breckenridge, Colorado, two large projects in Miami and a proposal for a sculptural house in Cape Cod, which would be the first work of its kind if it comes to fruition. Albert Paley is also artist in residence at Corning Museum of Glass and Corning Inc.’s specialty glass program, working in glass in addition to his metal work. Fifteen staffers work at the Paleys’ 50,000-square-foot industrial facility.

Even though the couple share work space, they work independent of each other, Frances Paley says, joking that her husband sometimes doesn’t give feedback when she seeks his advice.

The art show is a way for artists to give back, Albert Paley says, noting that in the 40 years he has been in Rochester, the community has been very supportive of his art.

And that’s what Fashion Week is about, giving to the less fortunate in the community, says Center for Youth’s executive director Elaine Spaull. Now in its fifth year, the popularity of Fashion Week — and more than $300,000 raised — has enabled the nonprofit that aids the area’s troubled youths to bridge the gap in the loss of federal funding with expanding its services such as the opening of the Crisis Nursery.

It’s fitting that the art theme is family as there is incredible talent in Rochester who are connected, Spaull says. The Gallery of Fashion is where fashion and art meld together, with generations of family showing their work. Glass artist Elizabeth Lyons will be in the show with her parents, Nathan and Joan Lyons. Ceramics artist Stephen Merritt will show his work with his son, photographer Jonathan Merritt. Christine Knoblauch even enlisted her father Joseph Ventura to show at Fashion Week. Retired from Xerox Corp., Ventura, 78, creates carvings and sculptures out of marble and stones.

Christine and Paul Knoblauch say they are happy to contribute their art to a good cause. As full-time artists, it is often difficult to have enough left over after paying the bills to give to local causes, they say. By donating their art, they are giving their time and a little piece of themselves while living by their life’s motto.

“If you do good things, good things will happen,” Christine Knoblauch says.

MCHAO@DemocratandChronicle.com

Twitter.com/MaryChaoStyle

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