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March 24, 2013

Collecting the works of Josh Iguchi at the Castellani

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University is featuring works by Josh Iguchi in the second of its new series, Western New York Collects. People who attend the opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. today will have an opportunity to meet the artist and hear him talk about his work.

Western New York Collects: Josh Iguchi runs through July 21.

Western New York Collects is a new exhibition series at the museum that highlights the work of a diverse range of visual artists with local connections who have gained significant national and international recognition. Selected from Western New York collections, both public and private, this ongoing series also honors the role of local collectors in creating an enduring artistic legacy for our region.

Iguchi states that his work explores “traditional Catholic iconography as it may appear in a contemporary context. Today, religious services can be piped in via satellite and a week of prayer is advertised in supermarket tabloids. Although this may seem to trivialize religion, it is important because it shows how religion has adapted itself to modern venues of communication. It also shows how religion may have the capacity to change to meet the needs of people today.”

His work incorporates modern devices like neon lighting and contemporary objects such as furniture and clothing, which are used together with poses and gestures drawn from religious renaissance paintings. The result is a combination of the grandeur of historical religious paintings with contemporary media-driven religious imagery.

Dr. Amelia Gallagher, associate professor of Religious Studies at Niagara University, writes: “Josh Iguchi … seems to treat his religious subjects gently, if not reverently … Iguchi’s figures seem almost nostalgic — harking back to scenes of the old masters — scenes of salvation and saintly sacrifice.”

Iguchi was co-director (in conjunction with AnJanette Brush) of Big Orbit Gallery in Buffalo from 1993 to 1996. With a number of well received and supported, landmark exhibitions, Iguchi and Brush transformed Big Orbit into a reputable Buffalo arts organization.

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