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New art exhibitions to remember Kassman's activism

Two exhibitions featuring oil paintings, drawings and thumbnail sketches by the late artist Shirley Kassman will go on view Friday in the neighboring Art Dialogue and Artists Group galleries at 1 Linwood Ave.

Kassman, a longtime SUNY Buffalo State design professor and a graduate of the Albright Art School and Buffalo State’s art education program, was known as an outspoken feminist and advocate for more female voices and perspectives in art. Her work, which includes figures and landscapes, abstraction and realism, was the subject of a 1987 retrospective in the Burchfield Art Center (now the Burchfield Penney).

Art Dialogue Gallery Director Donald Siuta said that his first encounter with Kassman convinced him she was something special.

“I had met Shirley years ago and felt then that she was ahead of her time,” Siuta said in a release. “I don’t think you can separate the artist from the woman’s activist.”

Richard Huntington, writing on Kassman in a 1994 review, called her works abstract repositories not only for feminist themes, but universal ones.

“The figures can stand for the universal struggle for identity,” Huntington wrote. “All of Kassman’s work – even those abstract pieces that seem made for the delights of the eye alone – share this existential experience. It is their enduring strength.”

The galleries will celebrate the dual exhibitions with a reception at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5. The shows remain on view through Oct. 3.

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