Sara M. Zak is a quintessentially Buffalonian painter.

Her oil paintings, which mix abstract imagery with depictions of the city’s post-industrial landscape, are about slow but inexorable progress toward an imagined goal. She might spend hours painting a particular part of the scene, only to erase the entire thing with turpentine, leaving the faint impression of a line or brushstroke. Then she starts again, gradually adding layers and figures, until she achieves a final product that serves as a record of progress as much as a static image. The parallels to Buffalo’s ongoing recovery are tough to ignore.

A new body of work by Zak, “A Crowd of Small Metamorphoses,” opens Friday in 464 Gallery (464 Amherst St.) and remains on view through Jan. 8. The show is titled after a quote from Jean-Paul Sartre’s book “Nausea,” which has a particular resonance in Zak’s work and in the city’s current revivalist mind-set: “A crowd of small metamorphoses accumulate in me without my noticing it, and then, one fine day, a veritable revolution takes place.”

The opening reception runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday. Call 983-2112 or visit

Colin Dabkowski