Rhythmn and Hues is a celebration of local and international music and showcases a wide range of musical performers, including Cab Calloway, Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Prince, Son House, Frank Deblase, Armand Schaubroeck and many others.
Artists Friske and Cowles have been friends and collaborators for over 25 years. This latest exhibit reflects their shared desire to pay tribute to the music and musicians that have deeply touched and influenced them over the years.
The show features a range of work in mixed media, painting, collage and assemblage designed as traditional paintings and prints to guitar wall hangings and cigar box guitars.
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As one devoted to community, I am inspired by Rochester's eternally vibrant music scene. From its numerous jazz clubs in the 20th century to the enduring presence of the Eastman School of Music, Rochester enjoys a rich musical legacy, claiming the likes of Cab Calloway, Son House and others.
I have always been deeply influenced by the musical contributions of African-American performers without whose creative genius blues, gospel, jazz and rock would be inconceivable. Using the cigar box guitars as a "canvas" was a nod to that legacy. Cigar box guitars were important in the rise of blues music, most of early performers were living in poverty, many could not afford a "real" instrument.
Creating this work which acknowledges a fraction of local and national musicians has been a labor of deepest love and devotion.
I'm proud to be able to share my work with my long-time dear friend and collaborator David Cowles in Rhythms & Hues, our tribute to men and women in music.
Very special thanks goes to my talented partner Bob Luehm for making the guitar necks and the guitar assembly and for his eternal patience.
Music has always been important to me since my childhood, where I was raised on a steady diet of The Beatles. I’ve tended to use the dynamic of the musical collaboration between Lennon and McCartney as guide when I collaborate with others. The idea of somebody bringing something to the table that the other doesn’t have.
When Maria approached me about doing the show together, music seemed to be a natural subject matter. Her idea of using guitars, cigar box and traditional, as our canvases brought a whole new dimension to it for me.
I mostly focused on older musicians for my pieces, which I tend to do anyway, but all are huge talents that I admire. From Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Django Reinhardt, Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, to The Beatles, The Beach Boys and They Might Be giants. I also needed to pay tribute to the recently lost musical demigods, Prince and Bowie. And finally, my perennial muse, Marilyn Monroe, as the singing and ukulele strumming Sugar in “Some Like It Hot”.
Special thanks to craftsman Bob Luehm for the great guitar necks! Hope the show gets your toes a tappin’.
Maria Friske was born in Oneida NY in 1963 and moved to Rochester when she was a child. An award-winning illustrator and designer, Maria has worked for magazines such as The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Detroit News, The Boston Globe, Fast Company, Guitar World, and Scholastic Magazine among others.
Maria also teaches and volunteers in the community, spearheading the creation of Artist Row at the Public Market and more recently the founding of The Fan Club, a grassroots group of volunteers who organized last summer to provide box fans to seniors during the recent heat wave. She thinks it’s important to leave the world, at least your corner of it, in better shape than you found it.
David Cowles was born in Rochester, NY in 1961. An award-winning illustrator and animation director, Cowles has worked for such magazines as Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Fortune, and Time. He has created a pilot for Playhouse Disney and videos for They Might Be Giants and Sesame Workshop, among others. David is currently working on an animated short for Frederator Studios with his daughter Alison.