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Robert Harris, the everywhere artist, receives solo show

Buffalo artist Robert Harris is a reliable fixture at art openings and events. You can usually spot him floating somewhere around the edge, his hair and beard pouring out from beneath his flat cap, his eyes scanning the scene in search – one imagines – of material for his next painting. If he doesn’t appear, something seems off.

But Harris’ work, a substantial and growing collection of colorful paintings bursting with human figures and phrases, is less well-known.

The Castellani Art Museum aims to change that with a collection of his work called “Painting in Progress” opening Jan. 24. A release from the museum calls Harris “perhaps the most well-known unknown artist in the Western New York region.”

“Harris’ works,” according to Castellani curator Michael Beam, “are painted with intentional flatness, purposefully devoid of slick refinement and bound with sturdy black contour lines. His paintings, on occasion, pay homage to historical figures, religious deities and fictional characters. The body of work featured in ‘Painting in Progress’ candidly documents and celebrates the relationship Harris has, or had, with the individuals portrayed.”

The exhibition, part of the museum’s series dedicated to bringing attention to overlooked emerging and midcareer local artists, features an opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 24. It runs through April 24. Call 286-8200 or visit

– Colin Dabkowski

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