Last year, as Memorial Art Gallery director Jonathan Binstock was driving along Atlantic Avenue, he passed an artist hard at work on a colorful large-scale mural. City and Sky is part of WALL\THERAPY, a city-wide public art project that is working to energize blank walls in downtown areas. Binstock was so impressed that he asked the artist, Nate Hodge of Brockport, to create a mural for MAG’s first floor galleries.

Beginning April 27, Memorial Art Gallery visitors will be able to watch Hodge at work as the mural takes shape. By late May, they’ll be able to walk into and through his work.

The immersive installation, which will cover two walls and the ceiling, is as yet untitled; the title will grow out of the process, which art critic Rebecca Rafferty describes in her essay for an upcoming brochure: “Using diluted acrylic house paint with sprayers, rollers, and brushes, [Hodge] doesn’t approach a project with strict plans, but works instinctively to create environments in immersive layers, responding to a space in a way that mirrors organic growth.” Adds the artist, “the challenge is to create something that stops people in their tracks, to get them to stop moving and look at the art.”

The installation at MAG is made possible by Ian Wilson, WALL\THERAPY and IDEATION: Funding the Future Memorial Art Gallery.

About the artist

Nate Hodge first began drawing to illustrate stories he made up as a child. As he grew older, the Brockport-based artist gravitated towards paint, at first working out mythical stories and imagined landscapes but recently focusing on an exploration of the painting medium itself, pushing it to expand off of the canvas and inhabit/respond to environments.

Hodge received his BFA from SUNY Brockport and his MFA from the University of Buffalo. He began working with WALL\THERAPY in 2015 after participating in several group shows at the 1975 Gallery in Rochester, which specialized in showcasing the work of up-and-coming local artists.

In February 2016, Hodge was awarded the University of Rochester’s Lillian Fairchild Award for his work with WALL\THERAPY. He’s in good company—past award recipients have included choreographer Garth Fagan, sculptor Albert Paley, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Anthony Hecht.