“Local Painter Captures Lost Wheeling Architecture” should read the headline for the newest show at Artworks around town opening on First Friday, March 7, 2014, from 5:30 to 8:00PM at the Studio Gallery at 2200 Market St, Centre Market. Francisco Amaya, born and raised in Wheeling, returns with his wonderful paintings and some drawings, many of buildings of Wheeling’s past that no longer exist.
The Sexual Assault Help Center displays their art work in the North Gallery. Art therapy for these victims of abuse results in the creation of some very intriguing artwork. These two shows will open with a reception of light refreshments and an opportunity to meet Francisco Amaya and many Artworks’ artists, as well.
Francisco Amaya, a Wheeling native, returns to delight us with paintings and drawings of nature as well as technology. Lines, created by the commonplace in our visual lives, become important in Francisco’s work. The ubiquitous tree branches, power lines, streetlights and signage take on an importance in Amaya’s work. “I find an element of the sublime in these street corner images. When the sun spectacularly backlights the branches of a tree, there is breathtaking abundance that I try to capture in some of my paintings,” explains Amaya.
Some of Amaya’s drawings have captured images of demolished architecture, which has been lost to all of us. Since 2008, he has created a collection of fuzzy drawings commemorating buildings no longer with us, an important part of our lost urban landscape. After earlier art projects had Francisco creating drawings of lost building in Buffalo, NY and Richmond, VA, Amaya was excited to make similar drawings of lost urban architecture in the area where he was born and raised.
Some lost architecture of Wheeling that is included in this local project is the Eoff Street Temple, Mt deChantal Academy, and the Old Main Linsly building at Thedah Place (Kroger’s). Amaya had also created drawings of some lost Pittsburgh architecture such as Three Rivers Stadium and the Syria Mosque. Using a fuzzy “shady hand” technique, Amaya feels this scribbled method allows for a less distinct outline and emphasizes, “the quality of memories, fading and just out of reach. What remains is a floating and unanchored mass of lines that resolves itself into a pen and ink version of a building long gone.”
Amaya works predominantly in the areas of painting and drawing, but has also produced hand-printed editions of work as a printmaker. He holds a BFA from WVU and a MFA from the University at Buffalo. His work has been exhibited nationally for over 15 years in solo and group shows. He has worked as a college instructor of studio art, art history, and the humanities at WVU, the University at Buffalo and Villa Maria College. Currently he teaches at Fairmont State University.