Muralist goes small for GO-Art! exhibit

Jul 28, 2017

BATAVIA — Stacey Kirby tends to use a lot of paint when she creates her art. We’re talking gallons.

That’s because she’s a muralist. Her paintings are meant to cover the entire wall of a building or the underpass of a bridge

But Kirby’s current exhibit at the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council is much smaller. It features small, en plein air paintings that she enjoys doing in her spare time. The exhibit, “A Nice View,” opened July 11 in the new side gallery and runs through Sept. 10.

“Plein air is what I do for fun; mural painting is more the business part of it,” Kirby explained last week in the gallery. “Plein air is an awesome combination of being in nature and capturing that natural beauty and having something to remember it. Whenever I look at a plein air piece, I get that sensation of relaxation and enjoyment, as well as a sense of accomplishment.”

Plein air means painting outdoors, usually to capture a landscape.

“Painting plein air is just pure fun for me and that’s what I hope to share when I exhibit them,” said Kirby, who graduated from Albion High School in 1998 and now lives in Rochester. “It’s enjoyment of the outdoors, appreciation for the natural beauty around us.”

Of course, murals will be included in the exhibit. Kirby is working on a mural for Beyond Yoga in Brockport that will be added to the exhibit in early August. She will also unveil the mural she created for the Traveling Towpath Troubadours, to commemorate the music group’s concert series along the Erie Canal, at the exhibit’s closing reception. That mural, features the landmarks and scenery of each of the villages along the canal, including Albion and Medina, where the Troubadours performed concerts this summer.

It was actually the Troubadours mural that led the Kirby’s exhibit at GO-Art!. Since the Troubadours received a grant from GO-Art! for their concert series, they wanted to present the mural at the GO-Art! gallery. Director Gregory Hallock than expanded on it to include Kirby’s exhibit at the same time.

The size of Kirby’s plein air pieces is a departure from the murals for which she is best known. They’re smaller, which means less time spent with brush in hand and it’s easy to transport them.

“When I started painting plein air, I started larger, probably three times the size of most of these paintings here,” she said. “Two hours is a very comfortable amount of time to finish a plein air painting and then touch it up in the studio. But when you have a large canvas, it just takes a long time to cover it with paint. This size is much more comfortable to finish and carry.”

To prep for the exhibit, Hallock turned the old dining room in the GO-Art! building into a gallery space by tearing down the old red and gold wallpaper and painting the walls beige to better show off the art.

“I want art hanging on every wall in every room. To do that, we need to make every room a gallery space,” Hallock said. “What was in there was beautiful. It had red wallpaper with yellow flowers, but it wasn’t a blank canvas. And I wanted it to be about the art, not the wall.”

The closing reception is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 7 at GO-Art!, Seymour Place, 201 East Main St.

By Matt Krueger, The Daily News