It is a great time to live in Buffalo. While I have spent important years of my life here, I have only recently realized that I am able to experience the types of culture that I really enjoy. Friday night I stopped by Benjaman Gallery on my way to the South Beach-themed Party for the Parks held at the Marcy Casino. It was surprising that a party featuring mojitos and outdoor fire dancing could be set in September, but it was the combination of the evening’s events that got me hot on Buffalo.
Living in New York City for many years, I have learned to appreciate all forms of art, from splatter painting to light bulbs on the floor, to videos of dental surgery. Sometimes though, it is nice to see an exhibition, that is without question, beautiful and well done.
Upon walking into the newly renovated Benjaman Gallery, my first instinct was that I wanted everything. Their current exhibition, “The Color of Life”, features nearly 100 gorgeous impressionist oil paintings, and it is nothing if not transcendental.
When I discovered that the pieces were painted in the 1940s and 50s, and have never before been viewed publicly, it gave the exhibition even more impact. The artist, Chuck Fee Wong, who passed away in 2008, created scenes of New York which could stand up to any of the works created by the best of the “Ashcan School”. Wong also spent years in Provincetown and Rockport. His landscapes of these stunning locations remind me of Carl Peters’ and Emile Gruppe’s. Lastly, his nudes and portraits have a John Singer Sargent quality. Filled with personality and displaying special attention to the background and clothing, I liked those striking examples the most.
I wondered how on earth the young people running this gallery could have stumbled onto such a treasure. After spending time in each room of the thrilling, thematically hung show, I found myself no longer caring. I was just glad they had brought these pieces to Buffalo, for all of us to see.
I am going back again to revisit this esteemed collection again before it moves on November 13th. I advise other connoisseurs to take time out of their busy schedule to visit something this undeniably good exhibit. Maybe you could stop by while on your way to your next big party this fall.
The Benjaman Art Gallery
419 Elmwood Ave
Buffalo, NY 14222