The first time I wandered into 464 Gallery in fall of 2010, it was to interview Marissa Lehner for an article on her “Ripe” installation. I was in college and just getting my feet wet as an intern for BRO, with absolutely no background in art. The combination of Marissa’s unique installation work and owner Marcus Wise’s welcoming personality encouraged me to stick around to see more of what this gallery and its group of emerging artists had to teach me.
Here we are, nearly three years later, and Marcus has yet another expansion to add to his growing list of milestones. On Friday, August 2, Glow Gallery will open its doors on Allen Street in the former location of Space@224. Interestingly enough, the very artist whose work drew me into 464 Gallery will be featured in the opening exhibit at Glow. The gallery’s first show, MicroCosmic, will feature an installation by Marissa Lehner complemented by Marcus’ photographs investigating her creative process.
“I always wanted to have multiples,” Marcus said when I asked why he decided to pursue another gallery space. “Amherst Street is still a growing neighborhood, so I have to constantly have events at 464. Allentown is organically more high-traffic.”
“It also happens to be the very first place I went in Buffalo when I was 15 years old and the space was home to a coffee shop called The Topic,” he added.
While 464 Gallery primarily focuses on emerging artists in Buffalo, Glow Gallery will also welcome those from outside city limits to use the space for exhibitions. “I wanted to expand the opportunities I give my artists here, but the structure will be different,” Marcus said. “I’m not focusing exclusively on local or emerging artists. I want to do what I do here at 464 well by working with those artists, but if I meet someone traveling, I can invite them to do a show in Buffalo without undermining my mission for 464.”
Glow Gallery will also be sharing the space with “The Loop,” Buffalo’s only in-print, LGBT-focused monthly periodical. “We want to embrace the fact that both businesses are gay-owned and operated, and that it gives people from the LGBT community a place to feel welcome,” Marcus said. Glow has also committed to offering at least four opportunities per year for LGBT artists to present curated exhibitions at no charge.
The intimate space that Glow Gallery will inhabit lends itself well to installations, much like Marcus’ Blink Gallery did in the space adjacent to 464. It also has a large backyard that he plans to use for additional installations, live performances, DJs and events. For the opening MicroCosmic exhibit, Marissa will create a life-size, handcrafted tree in the center of the gallery, adorned with the surreal, nest-like creatures that some may recognize from this year’s Allentown Luminaries exhibit and last year’s Luminaries exhibit at 464 Gallery.
“This installation is a musing on the idea of growth of a small microcosm ecosystem involving nest-like creatures, bound and twisted together with string, plants and beeswax,” Marissa said. “These creatures not only have grown from their source of energy, a tree, but also have now consumed the tree itself, bound, wrapped, woven to support the glowing nests. Is this a symbiotic relationship, give and take of each other’s resources, living in harmony? Or has it become one sided, the nests overtaking its creator and redefining it as otherworldly, the unknown, solely supporting new growth with its demise? These nests co-exist in their own cosmos, a tiny slice of this universe, evolving, growing, into our space.”
According to Marrisa, the pieces she uses in her installation work are unique in that they are never completely “done.” She continues to modify them by incorporating more materials, embedding more found objects and changing their structure.
“I’m taking the action of wrapping and binding to another level as well, since I will wrap and sew these nests into the tree, mimicking a web of sorts,” she said. “I’m very excited about the lighting of these nests. I’ve explored everything from single LED bulbs, to solar powered lights, so with this I feel like I’ll be able to create the lighting effect I want closer than ever before.”
Marcus’s photographs will unveil the intricate nature of Marissa’s work and the process she uses to create these unique nests in her studio. “I like to get in really close and do a micro/macro view of things to make them abstract and make people see a different part of the subject—like windows into it,” Marcus said. “I love to work with Marissa—I’ve always been involved in her process and she makes me see things in a different way.”
“I’m hoping that his photographic eye will push me to consider new ideas, more detail-oriented,” Marissa added. “We are both very concerned with light in our own ways, so I’m sure that will come into play as we work.”
The opening of Glow and the MicroCosmic exhibit will take place on Friday, August 2 at 6 p.m. at 224 Allen Street. The event will feature live DJ entertainment and refreshments. More details and updates can be found on the Facebook event page.
Official hours for Glow Gallery have not been determined quite yet, but keep an eye on the gallery’s Facebook page for updates.