Artist: A.J. Fries // Title: "Six Pack" // Up for auction Thursday night at the Buffalo History Museum
The grain silos dressed up like a Labatt six-pack at RiverWorks, the subject of so many overheated social media debates in recent works, certainly don't qualify as art. But this painting by A.J. Fries, an unabashed fan of the structure's commercial transformation, hits the mark.
For Fries, it's the brilliant color that does it, a jolt of blue cutting through the rust and concrete of the surrounding landscape. He drives by the silos on the Skyway almost every day, and found himself obsessed with the they assert themselves.
So, like any compulsive artist worth the brush he paints with, Fries put that obsession down on canvas. The result is a bug's eye view of the bright blue silos rising up like some strange cathedral of Canadian commercialism from behind a curved piece of busted-up concrete. In Fries' symbolism, the silos seem to represent progress after years of stasis.
"With winter approaching, that part of the city is just going to get grayer, and that burst of blue is simply stunning from every angle. I realize how funny it sounds for a colorblind painter (whose paintings are almost exclusively black and white) talk about color, but it's really is a lovely surprise," he said. "The point of view of the painting shows the newly painted and currently-in-the-process-of-getting-rehabbed silos behind a concrete ruin (also in the process of getting reused) in the foreground. In a way it's symbolic of the slow (sometimes glacially slow) rise of the city."
A larger view of the painting: