The Buffalo History Museum will debut a new exhibit by Jackie Albarella, “Artifacts: Burchfield Themed Photographs,” at an opening reception at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7. The exhibit will include a series of 16-by-20 photographs Albarella captured that feature collages of ephemera she assembled from renowned watercolorist Charles Burchfield’s life, including paper items, found objects, natural elements, and other memorabilia. Albarella will also display some of the collage items at the museum, located at One Museum Court, Buffalo.
Albarella grew up next to Burchfield in West Seneca, then moved into the artist’s home when her family purchased it after his death.
“Perhaps it was the pandemic that caused me to go through boxes and envelopes of miscellaneous ephemera and other found materials I had accumulated over the years,” she said. “Having the time to ‘clean out’ also gave me a chance to revisit decades of these loosely described ‘collections.’ A note here, a dried flower there, fragments of a life puzzle – placed together, turned right or slanted left, these pieces began to form pictures. It was a time-consuming, time-wasting and wholeheartedly wonderful exercise. That was the inspiration that led to me giving these materials new meaning by using them as the source material for a new series of photographic images.”
She added, “The unifying characteristic of these collages is the fact that they each incorporate paper items or other objects that are original ‘fragments’ of the life of renowned watercolorist Charles E. Burchfield, an artist I lived next door to as a child. After he passed, my mother purchased the property, and it became our home through the next five decades. I have kept these along with many other pieces and parts of my own journey through life and discovering my art, and I will readily admit that I am a sentimentalist.”
This exhibition of new works consists of a series of eight digital photographs of the assembled collages constructed on a black background.
The museum noted, “Each one tells a story of a different era, such as a time when the written letter was cherished. A willow branch may represent a longing for spring, and a small group of drawings and notes might evoke the minutia of what makes our lives matter. Collectively, the works in this series represent a spirit of nostalgia and remembrance, and the value and meaning that can be assigned to the ephemera we preserve for sentimental reasons.”