Artist Talk: Nicholas Buffon

September 20, 2018, 6:30 pm

Free and Open to All.

Artist Nicholas Buffon highlighted LGBTQ landmarks in Cleveland and Akron in a series of paintings, drawings and sculptures in the FRONT exhibition. In this talk, the artist will discuss his work and participate in a dialogue with members of those businesses and organizations depicted in the work.

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Akron Art Museum Chief Curator Ellen Rudolph said, “By depicting queer spaces in Akron and inserting himself in those scenes, Buffon is showing connection and solidarity with the gay community in Akron.”

“I’ve been thinking of subtle ways to portray resistance in this fractious political moment,” states Buffon. “How I see it, strength and resilience are where community exists. So I’ve started painting slices of my community, starting with gay bars closest to me, both historic and contemporary.”

Buffon creates his imagery from “a soup of online resources” including Google Maps and Street View, Google image searches, Yelp reviews and public Facebook pages, intermingling imagery and details from different periods in his compositions.

Rudolph said, “Because Buffon sources images of locations he hasn’t visited from various online platforms, he is aware that some images are outdated and intentionally combines past and present in his images as a way of embracing the history of a place.”

Buffon often places himself in the drawings, interacting with other people outside the iconic locations or alone, as a humorous observer or visitor. He says, “The figures in the paintings are also a mix of my experiences and a random sampling of strangers that happen to be walking by in source photographs. I used a cartoon of myself to populate many of the paintings. The cartoon self implies an ownership or even assumed affiliation with the building.”

image: Nicholas Buffon, Akron Art Museum Entrance, 2018, acrylic paint, pencil, and carbon transfer on Bristol paper, 9 5/8 x 7 in. Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York

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