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Exhibition dates: September 26 – October 30, 2020


Featuring 34 works of art by 19 artists, this exhibition is the outcome of an open call for work that was open specifically to BIPOC artists from upstate New York. This exhibition is a first step to becoming better acquainted with more BIPOC artists in our region as we plan our 2021 calendar and beyond. Artwork in this exhibition includes painting, printmaking, sculpture, drawing and more in a wide variety of style and technique.

Artwork copyright retained by each artist.


Artists included:


DaShon Aubrey (Rochester)

Katherine Baca-Bielinis (Honeoye Falls)

Gabrielle Cohen (Schoharie)

Kalen Fontenelle (Rochester)

Margaret Groton (Ithaca)

Michelle Guerra (Canandaigua)

Devin Hedman (Livonia)

Lauren Jimerson (Rochester)

Della Keahna (Ithaca)

Iris M. Kirkwood (Buffalo)

Amanda Lai (Henrietta)

Dunstan Luke (Rochester)

Kirin Makker (Geneva)

Claudia Mejia-Willett (Webster)

Jina Park (Rochester)

Vaidehi Reddy (Ithaca)

Yaqub Shabazz (East Rochester)

Mizin Shin (Rochester)

Maya Srinivasan (Ithaca)


About the title:


Figure-ground organization is part of Gestalt Psychology, which states that the whole of anything is greater than its parts. We are striving to make our collective whole even more representative of our region of upstate New York.




Virtual walk-through


On Friday, October 2, 2020, executive director and curator Bradley Butler introduced each of the artists included in the exhibition during a virtual walk-though event on Facebook live. You can watch the walk-through event below or on the gallery's YouTube channel.

Dashon Aubrey “Exploring landscape painting in an abstract and surrealist way, keeping colors and forms playful.”


Katherine Baca-Bielinis “As we have become a technology centric culture, our awareness of daily surroundings has greatly diminished, hindering our ability to appreciate the architectural environment that encompasses us. The majority of my imagery attempts to present the grandeur that was overlooked during those urban passages.”


Gabrielle Cohen “A marker of good craftsmanship is often the lack of evidence of human touch, yet pristine and identical objects produced by machine are usually viewed with less reverence. By obfuscating the viewer’s ability to identify work completed by either method, my work challenges the values we believe to be innate.”


Kalen Fontenelle “I like to juxtapose logos and to show my perspective of the world as an Indigenous teenager in predominant white America.”


Margaret Groton “I make figurative work of celestial and grand Black femme bodies. My women are created in the name of portraying spiritual energy through marks that make up the body, speaking truth to the union of the two when our existence is one of pure freedom and expression.”


Michelle Guerra “I am obsessed with capturing the nuances of personality and expression in the human face, especially in faces of color which are too often underrepresented.”


Devin Hedman “I love art in all media and methodologies as it is the truest form of expression and can have different meanings based on the viewer.”


Lauren Jimerson “This work is the embodiment of my Indigenous experience.”


Della Keahna “As a self-proclaimed Indigenous Barbie, I have spent a lot of energy questioning how I wish to represent both my Indigeneity and my femininity. This pinkwashed series of reflections on indigenization and decolonization stems from a refusal to be ashamed of how I present every aspect of my identity.”


Iris M. Kirkwood “Human beings see the world thru their feelings. Moments of joy, sorrow, lost, love, shame tells the story of us all. Using elements of the short story, setting, character, point of view as well as pencil colored pencil, pastels and markers I create visual narratives.”

Amanda Lai “I am a storyteller working with images rather than words. My work explores the boundary between the personal and the interpersonal. Working in a combination of painting, narrative, and digital art, my work touches upon the ‘internal-versus external’ as it relates to social relationships.”


Dunstan Luke “One of the delights I derive from my painting is when I am able to evoke some emotion in the viewer to a point that they are inspired to create.”


Kirin Makker “My work seeks to find resilience in some of society’s most painfully hidden stories, particularly around racialized misogyny. I hope to amplify the unheard in our bodies’ histories, both intimate and societal, and bring awareness social diseases surrounding women’s health under patriarchy and white supremacy.”


Claudia Mejia-Willett “My printmaking journey continues to evolved while working solely with Monoprints and incorporating both Intaglio and Relief methods together. I enjoy using unconventional materials such as styrofoam, plastic, and polystyrene along with discarded and overlooked items. Its exciting to used materials that create textures and can generate new visual interest.”


Jina Park “I express the inevitable pain and beauty of our collective human existence.”

Vaidehi Reddy “Inspired by the culture of the country I grew up in, my artwork borrows heavily from the spiritual, mythical and metaphysical, to help translate human feelings and emotions. Bridging the gap between people—justice and injustice. Because human pain and joy are universal, and art is a universal language."


Yaqub Shabazz “There was a cultural void that inspired my entrance into the world of painting and woodcarving. I studied Sociology and spends a great deal of time writing and exploring the culture and traditions of Africans around the globe. This exploration is reflected my paintings, woodcarvings, prints, and sketches.”


Mizin Shin “My work addresses interdependency throughout

societal systems. Taking economic and industrial ecologies surrounding the manufacturing and distribution of products as examples, I uncover and visualize connections to expose these systems as networks interdependent on a large, continually increasing number of other social entities.”


Maya Srinivasan “My artistic practice explores cognitive questions

surrounding human perceptions of experience and identity. I aim to interpret internal abstract thoughts and narratives into tangible forms. The reoccurring themes of perception, identity, and experience all contribute to my ongoing mission to better

understand and contextualize mental illness and the individual consciousness.”

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