Kinetic beauty

On October 2, 2012

The room is anything but still. It's light and airy, with a kind of whimsical elegance that makes you float. The stabiles (ground sculptures), with their moving shapes and parts, come out to play - it is an irresistible invitation.

The mobiles (suspended sculptures), whose steel parts hover and dance overhead instead, make you believe you are a baby again, staring up to the kinetic wonder from your cradle.

This eye entrapping, motion magic is made possible by UB alumnus Graham Sears, 59, of Buffalo.Sears' exhibition - Delicate Balance, his first showcase in Buffalo in 17 years - is currently on display at The Benjaman Gallery in Elmwood Village.

"I studied the things my parents wanted me to study, and it wasn't art," Sears said.

Nevertheless, it was at UB where Sears had his first real encounter with art - not with sculpting, but with poetry instead. After graduation, it dawned on Sears that he wanted to be involved in something beautiful.

His inspiration comes from Alexander Calder, a renowned sculptor who is best known as the originator of the mobile.

"When I started, I was copying his sculptures," Sears said. "I couldn't help it. I love him so much. There's energy and beauty in movement."

It is the everyday existence, ideas and thoughts that capture Sears' heart.  He traces his earliest memories of art and aesthetics to his mother who was a painter, and his high school, where he was exposed to expressions of beauty.

According to Sears, philosophies of the mind are ephemeral, but a work of art can make that permanent. 

He went on to study art in Paris, and his art started getting more recognition all around America and in other European countries like Germany. Places that have sold his works include the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum and the Museum Of Modern Art - all in NYC.

Sears chose the Benjaman Gallery to display his work because it was a space that took art seriously and had a dedicated team of gallery staff who appreciated his work.

"It took us about a week to get everything ready for Graham's show," said Emily Tucker, 30, director of The Benjaman Gallery. "For Graham's show we needed to paint,since shadow plays a very big role in Graham's work. We decided that we needed to change the main gallery room from dark grey to bright 'gallery white.'"  

Tucker and her husband fell in love with Sears' piece, The Dream Time mobile so much they are commissioning him to create one for their new house.

"Graham's work is whimsical and joyful, and I think his ultimate goal is to add fun and movement into people's homes," Tucker said.

The Dream Timehangs from the ceiling near the gallery's window. Bold red, blue, black and amber steel circular pieces are attached to fragile looking metal lines of various heights and lengths.

A single touch from one's finger or a slight blow of wind from one's lips instantly sends the little pieces twirling. They revolve at different speeds, as though they are searching and waiting for the time when they can all be in harmony.

The piece is hypnotizing and nothing outside the window seems to be worth noticing anymore.

Junior nursing major Eugenia Flakwah was awestruck by Sears' sculptures as well.

"I feel like [his art] reflects life ... how we are always in flux with the world around us and how fragile life can be," she said.

Although Delicate Balance officially ends this week, many of Sears' pieces will still be on display at the Benjaman Gallery, together with the new Blair exhibit that opens this Friday.




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