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A.J. FRIES

b. 1972, American

A.J. Fries is a painter who was born and raised in Buffalo, NY.  A graduate of the State University of New York College at Buffalo, he has been called “unquestionably one of WNY’s most serious, developed, and dedicated artists” by Scott Propeack, associate director of the Burchfield Penney Art Center.       

Fries has exhibited in Buffalo at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo Arts Studio, Hallwalls, and Big Orbit Gallery, among others. His work is included in many public and private collections, including those of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Burchfield Penney. In 2001 he was awarded a 3-month residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York, and in 2007 he received a full fellowship for a month-long residency at the Vermont Studio Center. He is a founding member of Trans Empire Canal Corporation (TECC), a Buffalo-based collective responsible for the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s 2014 multi-year project “Cultural Commodities: As Exhibition in Four Phases,” informally referred to as the “art barge.” Fries was designated one of the Burchfield Penney’s first “Living Legacy” artists in 2012.

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The goal of my work, simply, is to draw attention to and celebrate the sublime in the everyday.  As a child of 7 or 8, I encountered an art anthology that, to put it mildly, affected me.  I was simultaneously terrified and captivated by these static images and became compelled with wanting to replicate that affectation with art in other people. 

My artwork pulls in the static images that we encounter daily, views that we pass by but are too distracted or numb to notice.   A visual junky, I look at the patterns, shapes, angles and light that we overlook and aim to recreate and coalesce them into beauty.  Finding order in disorder, meaning in the simple, and beauty in randomness, there is a story in the mundane, banal history of our everyday lives.   I paint the overlooked and ask people to see the story and meaning in these moments. 

Never a fan of the phrase, “escaping the everyday world,” I encourage people to escape into the everyday world.