A new two-decade survey of work by the Buffalo painter Rodney Taylor, a quiet but prolific figure on Western New York’s art scene, opens tonight in the University at Buffalo Art Gallery in Amherst.

Taylor’s work, according to curator Sandra Q. Firmin, “employs abstraction and metaphor to convey the experience of contemporary urban life and societal trauma.” His vibrant canvases often contain fragments of recognizable shapes and figures, including limbless bodies and comic book characters, emerging from and receding into otherwise abstract landscapes.

“Produced through a dense combination of muted and lurid pigments mixed with clay, Taylor’s peeling and cracking surfaces are like human skin, worn sidewalks, or arid deserts,” Firmin wrote. “City streets, windows, crisscrossing tree limbs, or prison bars are frequent structuring elements in his work.”

Taylor’s work is in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Bill and Camille Cosby, among many other private and museum collections. A reception begins at 5 p.m. today, and the show will remain on view through May 10. Call 645-6913 or visit

– Colin Dabkowski