Opening reception for new PCCA exhibitions held Oct. 4

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published September 25, 2013

 Joyce Brienza’s “Legacy” will be on display at the Paint Creek Center for the Arts as part of the “Less is and More” exhibition.

Joyce Brienza’s “Legacy” will be on display at the Paint Creek Center for the Arts as part of the “Less is and More” exhibition.

Photo provided

ROCHESTER — Two new exhibits, “Less is and More” and “Stephen Palmer: Found Fish,” will open at the Paint Creek Center for the Arts with a joint reception 7-9 p.m. Oct. 4. Both exhibitions will be on display at the PCCA, 407 Pine St., through Nov. 1.

The PCCA is turning its main gallery over to two artists for “Less is and More,” featuring the work of Joyce Brienza and Matthew De Genaro.

“Their work has this interesting way of fitting together,” said PCCA Exhibitions Director Mary Fortuna. “What they share, I think, is a similar sensibility and a real sense of humor. I find them both to be very odd and very funny.”

Brienza — who uses a collage technique to sample a variety of images, patterns and other elements in her mixed media drawings — is the “more” of the less and more equation, according to Fortuna.

“There is this quality of excess, and of putting a million things in there and finding a way to pull certain things to the foreground and push certain things to the background so that they can sort of coexist in the same drawing without interfering with each other. She has a really interesting way of building and building layers and layers of information,” Fortuna said.

Brienza said in a statement that the pattern found in her works is “a reference to traditional ‘women’s’ handiwork, and questions the duality of high and low art.”

“It provides a grid formation that connects the floating elements (information) together. And finally, it works to disrupt the continuity of the image, placing roadblocks in the way of logic and control,” she said.

On the other hand, Fortuna said De Genaro produces work that is deceptively simple by creating endless sculptural variations on the human figure, abstracting the essential form.

“For years, he has been working with figurative sculptures, but they are all sort of simplified, depersonalized, every-man kind of figures, and he does them in all media in every variation he can think of,” she said. “He just keeps playing with the same very, very simple idea, but it becomes complex with all the repetition and all the different materials that he uses to explore each new series.”

De Genaro, who has created his figures in just about every scale and in every material imaginable, uses everything from cast bronze, cast resin, carved wood, stone, and fabricated wood and metal, to inflated fabric, stacked rubber inner tubes, cardboard and even manipulated living grasses. He said in a statement that sometimes the nature of the material defines the figure.

“At other times, it’s the process of working the material that defines it, and sometimes, the figure dictates the use of material and process,” he said.

PCCA will also present a solo show of recent works by Palmer in its first-floor gallery. After spending many years perfecting his techniques in fused glass and exhibiting his glass works all over Michigan, Fortuna said, Palmer has recently taken on a new challenge — building sculptural fish from found objects.

Many of Palmer’s fish start with castoff wooden crutches, shallow wooden boxes, paddles or other objects, she explained, while golf tees, discarded toys, dominoes, small tins, odd bits of hardware, old kitchen tools, paint brushes and assorted household objects fill out the bellies, fins and heads of his fish.

“There is a little bit of an environmentalist message there. He is talking about the mess that we’ve made of our water and oceans through pollution and everything that gets dumped in landfills, so he sees this as a way of recycling materials and taking them out of the waste stream and turning them into something else,” Fortuna said.

A free gallery talk with the artists will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. The opening reception and gallery talk are free and open to the public.

For more information, call the PCCA at (248) 651-4119 or visit