March 16th — April 20th
Oxford Gallery's next exhibit is entitled "Legacy" and features the work of Tom Insalaco and eight area artists whom Tom has influenced. The exhibit opens Saturday, March 16 and continues through Saturday, April 20, 2019.
A reception for the artists will be held on Saturday, March 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 P.M. It is open to the public.
Few if any area artists enjoy the technical virtuosity of Tom Insalaco. His technical skills are such that execution never becomes a constraint upon intention. And few area artists can claim a more far reaching understanding of the artists that have gone before them. From Caravaggio to Dali, from Rembrandt to Bacon, Insalaco has studied and assimilated the techniques of many of western art's most important practitioners. Tom's knowledge of past art informs every aspect of his work, giving it a robustness of meaning and a dramatic resonance. His art asserts that true innovation lies in an acknowledgment, rather than a rejection, of all that has gone before it. In his heavily symbolic and, at times, autobiographical paintings and drawings, the art of the past is a living presence.
Tom Insalaco: "Endless," oil on canvas
Like the finest art of any age, Insalaco's paintings do not lend themselves to simple formulations. The power of his paintings lies in the depth of a vision which is at once universal and intensely personal. His entire oeuvre is, in one sense, a biographical journey. At its center lies the image of the artist's contorted face, worked and reworked obsessively in his studies. In the face, we perceive the struggle to comprehend and articulate visually the meaning of a life's experience: a struggle heroic in its aspiration yet doomed by its impossibility.
Insalaco's legacy is more, however, than just the work of his own hand. If his paintings look backward across centuries of fine art, his work as an educator looks to the future. Having obtained his Bachelor of Fine Arts from SUNY University at Buffalo and his MFA from RIT, Insalaco was one of the founders of the art department at Finger Lakes Community College, a program which has produced many of the area's fine artists. When he and Wayne Williams retired from FLCC in 2003, after decades of teaching, the college renamed its gallery the Williams Insalaco Gallery in tribute. He has also given private instruction to many area artists over the years. For Insalaco, his work as an artist and his work as a teacher were never entirely separate. In the words of the artist, "The greatest thing about teaching is that it forces you to clarify your ideas and explain them in ways that are understandable to beginning students – and happily, in the process you clarify things for your own mind."
Jean K. Stephens, "Last Night," oil on canvas
The current exhibit at Oxford Gallery features not only work by Tom Insalaco but also work by several area artists who have, at some point in their careers, profited by an association with Tom. They are the following:
Jean K. Stephens
Although the styles and the artistic idioms of these artists may differ dramatically from that of Tom Insalaco, Oxford Gallery hopes that viewers of the exhibit will come to better understand the way in which the ideas and techniques of one fine artist can be propagated among others: the way in which an artist's work becomes a legacy.