Jack White Returns

Former CNY painter, now based in Texas, in town for CFAC opening:

The 14 paintings comprising "An Ancestral Image," Jack White's new show at the Community Folk Art Gallery on East Genesee Street, seem steady enough when you look at them head on, but tilt your head even a little and they jump right off the wall. White, who just turned 77 in July, is pleased when his work has this effect on people. For this reason, he says, it's important to see his paintings in person -- paintings yes, but also sculptural: intricate, constructed affairs of in-laid and interlocking wood, canvas, incised copper, fabric, even corrugated cardboard on one and a row of nails precisely placed on another. The thinnest of red and gold lines seem surgically, sparingly inserted, and on one work a wonderful turquoise blossoms.

Jack White left Central New York two years ago for Austin, Texas -- the latest move in a lifetime of travel -- but he'll be back in town this Saturday for the opening reception of "Founding Visionaries" and then stick around another week to visit friends and galleries.

Curated by Gina Stankivitz, White's exhibition fills CFAC's front gallery, a companion show to the sculptures, paintings and prints that make up "Celebrating Herb Williams: His Life, His Work, and His Art" in the central gallery -- now named for Williams -- a tribute to CFAC's long-time director, who passed in 1999. The Williams show comes home to CFAC after first opening at SU's Lubin House in New York City in late March.

In 1972 Williams and White - along with Shirley Harrison, David MacDonald, Basheer Alim, George Campbell and Mary Schmidt Campbell Jr. -- founded the Community Folk Art Gallery in the former Elk Bakery on the corner of Salina and Elk Streets on the South Side. CFAC then moved to a store-front at Wood Avenue and Salina and, in the 1980s, to the old Jewish Community Center on Genesee east of Westcott, where it stayed until moving to its present location three years ago.

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