Buffalo, NY – The Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Public Art Initiative recently installed a sculpture by artist Shayne Dark (Canadian, born 1952) in Bassett Park in Amherst. The sculpture, titled Tanglewood, 2006, was previously installed at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens in 2015, as part of the public art installation Shayne Dark: Natural Conditions.
“We are thrilled to be placing this colorful and thought-provoking sculpture in Bassett Park—a location that will dovetail wonderfully with the artist’s use of natural elements in his work,” said Albright-Knox Curator of Public Art Aaron Ott. “As we add new artworks and site locations to the Public Art Initiative, we are delighted to continue our reach throughout Erie County.”
“The installation of Shayne Dark’s piece will bring a new sense of culture and art to Amherst, and provide several years of enjoyment for our residents and park visitors,” said Amherst Town Supervisor Brian J. Kulpa. “I want to thank the Albright-Knox Art Gallery for joining Amherst in this venture, as well as our Youth and Recreation and Highway Departments for supporting the installation.”
“As liaison to the Arts and Culture in Public Places Board, it is my pleasure to welcome Shayne Dark’s artwork to Bassett Park,” said Councilwoman and Deputy Supervisor Francina J. Spoth. “Our mission is to promote public art and culture and enhance visual arts in Amherst. Tanglewood fits this mission because of its majestic beauty that will be viewed and enjoyed by our residents.”
Since the mid-1980s, Dark has been transforming ordinary materials such as aluminum, glass, lead, steel ball bearings, and wood into atmospheric and thought-provoking installations. Fueled by his interest in the variance between the urban and natural world, Dark states that his work is meant to “stimulate a spiritual or visceral reaction in the viewer.”
Dark has gained considerable attention for his sculptures that use elements found in nature. Through cutting, carving, arranging, and painting, he transforms them into aesthetically compelling objects that are at once familiar, of this world, and otherworldly. While Dark clearly appreciates the raw potency of natural forms, he imposes his artistic will on them, often by covering the work in intensely saturated pigments at striking odds with natural coloration, and thereby transforming matter and meaning.
Just as a flowering blossom grabs our attention, Dark’s work in and around natural landscapes acts as a visual component, drawing awareness towards points of beauty and creation. And, like the blooming flower, Dark’s work integrates into a larger ecosystem, enhancing the inherent beauty that surrounds us every day.
Other recent Albright-Knox Public Art Initiative projects include Muhammad Zaman’s mural Our Colors Make Us Beautiful at 1131 Broadway; Louise Jones’s mural Wildflowers for Buffalo at 465 Washington Street; Robert Indiana’s NUMBERS ONE through ZERO sculptures at Wilkeson Pointe; White Bicycle’s mural We Are Here at 1260 Hertel Avenue; Chuck Tingley and Matt Grote’s mural weego at 1503 Hertel Avenue; Otecki’s (Wojciech Kołacz) mural Work and Play at 617 Fillmore Avenue; The Freedom Wall, completed by artists John Baker, Julia Bottoms, Chuck Tingley, and Edreys Wajed at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street; Betsy Casañas’s mural Patria, Será Porque Quisiera Que Vueles, Que Sigue Siendo Tuyo Mi Vuelo (Homeland, Perhaps It Is Because I Wish to See You Fly, That My Flight Continues to Be Yours) at 585 Niagara Street; Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez’s mural Welcome Wall at 751 Fillmore Avenue; Bunnie Reiss's mural Magic Buffalo at 1322 Hertel Avenue; Shantell Martin’s mural Dance Everyday at 537 East Delavan Avenue; Daniel Galas’s mural 72 Jewett at 74 Jewett Avenue; Amanda Browder’s Spectral Locus installation at three separate locations throughout Buffalo; Alice Mizrachi’s mural Dream Keepers at the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology; Roberley Bell’s Locus Amoenus installation at the Tifft Nature Preserve; Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn’s mural Noodle in the Northern Lights at Shea’s 710 Theatre; Kaarina Kaikkonen’s installation We Share a Dream at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport; Jenny Kendler’s Milkweed Dispersal Balloons and ReWilding New York (Community Seed Stations), a two-fold work that took place over the summer of 2015; Shayne Dark’s 2015 exhibition Natural Conditions and residency at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens; Jaume Plensa’s Silent Poets at Canalside; Casey Riordan’s Shark Girl at Canalside; Tape Art’s Buffalo Caverns, a massive, temporary mural made with low-adhesive drawing tape on the north wall of the Central Library branch of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library; a billboard- and sticker-based iteration of Matthew Hoffman’s You Are Beautiful project, made possible in part through a partnership with Lamar Advertising; and Charles Clough’s collaboratively produced Hamburg Arena Painting, which is installed at the Hamburg Public Library. The Public Art Initiative has also distributed 30,000 art kits to students throughout Erie County.
The Public Art Initiative is an innovative partnership between the Albright-Knox and Erie County established in 2013. The City of Buffalo joined the partnership in 2014. The goal of the Initiative is to create spaces of dialogue where diverse communities have the ability to engage, respond, and cooperatively produce great public art that can empower individuals, create stronger neighborhoods, and establish Western New York as a vital cultural center.
This installation was made possible through the generosity of the artist, Shayne Dark, and through a partnership with the Amherst Town Board.