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Fall 2020 exhibitions at UB Art Galleries

Karyn Olivier, Fortified (detail), 2020, bricks, used clothing, and steel. Installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. Photo by Constance Mensh. Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.

Exhibitions by Karyn Olivier, Dawit L. Petros, Bruce Kurland & Justine Kurland, and Philip Pavia look at what it means to remember and to memorialize.

This fall at the University at Buffalo Art Galleries,  four exhibitions connect the University and the region with urgent and relevant artistic inquiries: through large-scale sculptures, Trinidadian-born, Philadelphia-based Karyn Olivier (born 1968) explores what it means to make a monument; photographs and videos by Eritrean-Canadian artist Dawit L. Petros (born 1972) bring vivid images of legacies of colonialism in east Africa; in an intimate dialog, esteemed photographer Justine Kurland (born 1969) presents new text-based work alongside the paintings by her father, the late Buffalo-based artist Bruce Kurland (1938–2013); an exhibition of drawings and maquettes by Philip Pavia (1912–2005) accompanies the installation of his outdoor sculpture on the UB North Campus. Taken as a whole, the exhibitions ask what it means to remember—our loved ones as well as traumatic histories of a nation-state—and offer a dynamic range of artistic practices and processes of engaging with the past. Appointments to visit either location can be made online, and virtual tours and programs are planned throughout the year to accompany the exhibitions.

To ensure the safety of visitors, staff, and the broader community, UB Art Galleries will implement reduced public visiting hours to Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. All visitors will be required to make an appointment in advance and complete a UB Health Attestation Form before they visit. Appointments can be made online at


About the Exhibitions

Karyn Olivier: Everything That’s Alive Moves

UB CFA Gallery, October 29, 2020–May 15, 2021

Karyn Olivier makes monuments. She investigates scale, public memory, and how they relate to issues of inclusivity and acceptance. The exhibition Everything That’s Alive Moves brings together two themes the artist has focused on in recent years: larger-than-life scale and the minute, modest gesture. An obelisk sculpture, a car made entirely of shoes, and a brick wall built using discarded clothing as mortar are among the works selected to be reimagined and constructed on-site at UB Art Galleries.

Karyn Olivier: Everything That’s Alive Moves is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania and is curated by ICA Daniel and Brett Sundheim Chief Curator Anthony Elms. The Buffalo presentation is organized by Liz Park, Curator of Exhibitions, University at Buffalo Art Galleries.


Dawit L. Petros: Spazio Disponibile 

UB Anderson Gallery, September 24, 2020–May 15, 2021

Dawit L. Petros’s art stems from his research into the complex layers of colonial histories that connect East Africa and Europe. Spazio Disponibile—Italian for “Available Space”—is an exhibition of photo, video, and sound that scrutinizes historical gaps in memory, particularly that of modern Italy. Alluding to vacant advertising sections that appeared in Rivista Coloniale, a widely circulated early twentieth-century magazine and the official organ of the Italian colonial project, the title is also a reference to the colonial gaze that viewed the lands of Africa as available space to occupy and exploit.

Dawit L. Petros: Spazio Disponibile was initiated, organized and circulated by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, in collaboration with the University at Buffalo Art Galleries. It is curated by guest curator Irene Campolmi at The Power Plant in Toronto, and by Liz Park, Curator of Exhibitions, University at Buffalo Art Galleries for the Buffalo presentation.


Bruce Kurland & Justine Kurland – Two Worlds: Illusion & Document

UB Anderson Gallery, September 24, 2020–May 15, 2021

Two Worlds: Illusion and Document features work by photographer Justine Kurland and her father, the late-painter Bruce Kurland. Justine is widely known for her fantastical photographic tableaus of American landscapes as inhabited by real and imagined communities of girls and women. Bruce was a classically trained painter of still life based in Buffalo until his death from cancer in 2013. The paintings on view reveal his unceasing fascination with common objects and what they can say about life and death. In response to her father’s paintings, Justine presents text-based gelatin silver prints. Like pages of a memoir, the prints capture Justine’s memories of Bruce—joy and passion from his small victories as well as stinging pain from his illness and poverty. A formal departure from previous bodies of luscious, color photographs, this new work nonetheless continues Justine’s exploration of the sense of rootedness and belonging through a social unit, which, for all of us, begins with a family, in the widest and the most generous sense of the word.


Philip Pavia: Drawings and Small Sculptures

UB CFA Gallery, October 29, 2020–March 13, 2021

Philip Pavia (1911-2005) was a leading sculptor in the American postwar abstraction movement, and worked alongside Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Arshile Gorky. Organized in conjunction with the unveiling of East Pediment, Sun-up (1965-66), a large-scale, outdoor sculpture that will be installed on UB’s North campus, this exhibition documents Pavia’s process through drawings and small marble sculptures created in the 1950s-80s. 

On Pavia’s work of this period, curator Thomas B. Hess said, “There is a will to shambles. The act of lifting and tilting, countered by the evident heavy pull of gravity, by the weighty mass of stone units, establishes the drama. It is a strong willful kick at the limits of art.”


Support for UB Art Galleries is provided by the UB College of Arts and Sciences, the Visual Arts Building Fund, the UB Anderson Gallery Fund, and the Seymour H. Knox Foundation Fine Art Fund.

Support for Karyn Olivier: Everything That’s Alive Moves has been provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Edna Wright Andrade Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, the Henry Moore Foundation, and by a Tyler Dean’s Grant from Temple University.

Dawit L. Petros: Spazio Disponibile is organized and circulated by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, sponsored by The TD Ready Commitment and supported by Lead Donor Lonti Ebers. Additional support for the tour is provided by Canada Council for the Arts and The Gilder.


About UB Art Galleries:


The University at Buffalo is privileged to have two art galleries dedicated to the university’s mission for academic excellence and service to the community. Each gallery presents a year-round series of exhibitions, providing students and the broader community access to thought-provoking art, visiting artists, and stimulating educational programs. In addition, UB Art Galleries provides professional training for graduate and undergraduate students through internships and curatorial opportunities, and supports faculty and student research.


UB Anderson Gallery: Thursday–Saturday 11AM–5PM

UB CFA Gallery: Thursday–Saturday 11AM–5PM