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Installation view of Open House: Domestic Thresholds by Heather Hart, Edra Soto, and Rodney Taylor, featuring Edra Soto's Open 24 Hours (foreground) and Heather Hart's Oracle of Conduction, 2019 (background). Photograph by Brenda Bieger.

#5WomenArtists: Cherry, Droze, Hart, Soto, and Waters Fayle

March 10, 2020

On the occasion of Women’s History Month, and in conjunction with the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ fifth annual #5WomenArtists campaign, we're highlighting five women artists associated with the Albright-Knox each week this month. Today we focus on artists who completed public art projects with us last summer and those whose works are currently on view at Albright-Knox Northland.

Artist Nicole Cherry began painting murals inside family and friends’ homes when she was still in high school. After graduating from Buffalo State College, she has expanded her practice to create numerous indoor and outdoor installations locally. In 2019, Cherry brought her signature eye for exuberant color and pattern to Niagara Street. The two high-wheeled bicycles—the kind first popularized in the 1870s—that burst forth from tangles of flowering vines in 1800s Bikes in Vines were inspired by the building’s use as a bike shop. 

While Augustina Droze has painted several notable murals in the region over the past decade, Green Kaleidoscope represented the artist’s first opportunity to imagine the kind of natural imagery found in her smaller-scale paintings on a massive scale and as a public-oriented project. Based on the riotous coloring and innate artistry of bird and butterfly wings, Droze’s symmetrical patterning in Green Kaleidoscope holds in tension the fragile balance between beauty and decay endemic to the natural world. 

Heather Hart is an interdisciplinary creator of drawings, collages, and participatory installations, including one currently on view as part of the exhibition Open House: Domestic Thresholds by Heather Hart, Edra Soto, and Rodney Taylor at Albright-Knox Northland. Often taking the form of rooftops and built specifically on site, these projects are activated by public programs, led by local performers of color, and audience participation, becoming platforms (in some cases literally) for personal and community sharing, exploration, and reflection. 

Edra Soto creates civically engaged installations and architectural interventions often inspired by her relationships to communities in her native Puerto Rico and the Chicago neighborhood where she currently lives. These include Open 24 Hours, currently on view as part of the exhibition Open House: Domestic Thresholds by Heather Hart, Edra Soto, and Rodney Taylor at Albright-Knox Northland. Such projects address issues of urban space, the legacy of colonialism, and personal responsibility. 

Hillary Waters Fayle based the imagery of her recent mural, Botanical Blueprint, on a series of prints featuring the silhouettes of local plants created by visitors to Garden Walk Buffalo 2019. For Waters Fayle, “plants are a marker of place, a connection to the land and to our past; native or invasive, the plants of our homes feel like old friends to us,” and she draws a parallel between the natural advantages of seeding gardens with many different types of plants and the benefits diversity can bring to our human communities. “The plants in a garden support one another,” she explains, “and they work together to create a unified community. We can use that metaphor to talk about our own communities and to celebrate the beauty in our diversity.” 

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