Industrial trash becomes stuff of art in TGW@487’s ‘ProFound Objects’ - The Buffalo News

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Industrial trash becomes stuff of art in TGW@487’s ‘ProFound Objects’

You know what they say: One man’s trash is another man’s contemporary post-industrial sculpture.

For almost two years, Buffalo artists Richard Rockford and Robert Then scoured scrap yards, trash heaps and old industrial sites in search of beautiful objects. Some of those accidental sculptures, cleaned up and mounted on metal stands but otherwise unaltered from their found state, will go on view Friday in “ProFound Objects” in Allentown’s new TGW@497 Gallery (497 Franklin St.).

The pieces range from hulking fragments of curved iron that evoke the work of Richard Serra, to twisted pieces of thin metal more along the lines of Alberto Giacometti. The rusty objects, said Rockford, belong to a category somewhere between industrial design and art.

“It’s somewhere in that interstitial area, that in-between area, where something is beautiful because of the accidents that have happened to it,” he said. “There’s always something you see that’s special. It may not have economic value, it may be greasy or dirty, it may weigh a ton, but there’s something about it.”

Rockford said he hopes the show will change viewers’ perceptions about the industrial detritus that they encounter in and around Buffalo, a city with no shortage of source material for his and Then’s work. None of the objects in the show were designed to be admired as art, he added,“but at the end of the day, this stuff’s beautiful.”

The show, part of the monthly Allentown First Fridays gallery walk, opens with a reception at 6 p.m. Friday and runs through June 28. Call 949-6604 or visit

Colin Dabkowski

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