In architectural preservation, "adaptive reuse," clunky term though it may be, is a practice that has served to recast old buildings as vital and fully functioning places in the community. Going architecture one better, Dennis Maher, a University at Buffalo adjunct professor of architecture, has done some adaptive reusing of ordinary junk by making the remains of building and demolition projects that usually wind up in the dumpster the core material of his sculptural pieces.
Maher has been collecting what he calls "urban refuse" for four years now, and on Saturday evening, in a one-night showing that runs from 6 to 8, he will put it to fresh use in sprawling sculptural environments situated in the restored but unused 19th century mansion at 506 Delaware Ave. The display is presented in collaboration with Nina Freudenheim Gallery.
With Maher, waste is not be wasted. Titled "Eternal Returns," his artful abstract arrangements feature old lumber, rumpled siding, heating ducts, roofing, even a parking lot attendant's booth. Junk sculpture has a long and vital history in modern art, but Maher's project is the first in this city to unite the idea with architectural restoration. It is a rare opportunity to see the renewal of one of Buffalo's great old buildings and new art made from old stuff in a dramatic setting.
-- Richard Huntington