Supporting and Promoting Inclusion in the Arts Since 2005

Starlight Studio & Art Gallery

Side-By-Each: Meg McCuen & Kimber Rodgers

Opening Reception: Friday, November 12th, 2021

On-view November 5th-30th

For years, Kimber Rodgers has been modifying manufactured dolls. Of the techniques she’s developed for this, some are straightforward: changing the color of the clothes by adding a layer of paint, making a belt and top from scrap fabric. Others are much more involved: installing new hair with yarn and glue, adding appendages with wire and pulp, installing the figures in a cropped landscape. The original identity of the manufactured doll is often changed entirely in order to become one character or another from Kimber’s universe of myth, fantasy, and comic characters. A Barbie becomes a satyr. A Bratz doll becomes the Venus de Milo. Another becomes a DIY Captain Marvel. Considering the consumer context the dolls come from, Kimber’s modifications sidestep the prescribed roll of the toys and instead use them as forms over which to map her own creative universe. The sum of all her techniques make for endearingly fresh takes on familiar fictional characters, and there is beauty in their ingenuity and in their world-building.
Meg McCuen’s work involves a semi-abstract riffing on various features and conditions of the skin. Ceramic surfaces are minutely textured in ways reminiscent of pores, scars, welts, blisters, bruises, rashes. Other features further allude to the body, with hair neatly falling out of openings and translucent wax coatings that push the ceramic toward flesh. There’s a mutual relationship between the source imagery and the material with which it’s made. There’s enough familiar ceramic beauty that the gnarly elements reminiscent of skin conditions don’t provoke revulsion. But it’s near enough to revulsion that the familiar ceramic elements don’t get too comfortable. That compromise between comfort and discomfort is supported by McCuen’s reflections on skin that inform the work: it is a fascinating and visibly reactive part of the body that understandably transforms depending on the conditions. But it is also a fundamental actor in the world of appearances, where those mechanical functions (and the zits, etc. that come with them) may provoke judgement or cause anxiety.
One connection between the work of Rodgers and McCuen is the reflection on what is needed from a body or from an identity. Kimber’s dolls become the characters she desires them to be and they depart wildly from their manufactured origins in the process. McCuen’s subdued body-horror points out a complex relationship we have with our bodies, but also suggests a willingness to look directly at discomfort, develop perspective, and come out the other side confidently.




Skin; flexible, continuous covering of the body that safeguards our internal organs from the external environment. Skin can communicate things such as our health and emotions. It adapts and changes quite rapidly to help keep the world out and you in. Skin is also a huge part of our identities. Our outward appearance is how others recognize us, how we stand apart. It is a shorthand message of how we view the world and how we wish to be viewed. 


The methods that our skin uses to keep us safe and comfortable are not always very appealing though. Due to societal constructs, there is an 'ugly' side to the function of skin. We are made to feel as though the truly incredible methods our skin uses to adapt and heal are unappealing, grotesque, and unwanted. Things such as scabs, bruises, scars, blemishes, etc., take away from our carefully curated appearances and can be the catalyst for feelings of embarrassment and shame. My relationship with my skin has not always been very positive or empowering. This has affected the way I have viewed myself and, in turn, my interactions with the world.


This malleable, often flawed surface that encases us is what inspires these abstract works. I aim to showcase the intricate details and important functions of skin, and explore the affects that it has on our interactions and experiences.

See More of Meg McCuen's work HERE.



As a young girl, Kimber began rescuing animals on her own, healing them, and setting them free when well. Her love of fairy tales, mythological creatures, and animals are a continuous theme that runs throughout her work. Kimber has a determined and independent spirit that naturally feeds into her artwork. She often combines unusual mediums. Using fabric and clay, teen idols cut from magazines collaged onto fabric, and found objects she creates environments for her clay figures. When asked why she chooses her subject matter, she replies, “to get the happy ending that we all are still looking for.” 

See more of Kimber Rodger's work HERE.


Art Educator and Painter Gives Generous Gift to Starlight Studio & Art Gallery

Joe Fischer of Longview, Washington, generously donated $50,000 to Starlight Studio & Art Gallery, a vibrant art studio in downtown Buffalo that supports adults with disabilities in their artistic development.

Joe Fischer served in the United States Air Force as an Air Traffic Controller and Graphic Artist in the 1950’s and received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oregon in 1963. Fischer has educated and created opportunities for artists across the country including during his almost 30-year tenure as the Director of the Creative Craft Center at the State University of NY at Buffalo from 1965 to 1994.

The Creative Craft Center was the largest Non-academic / Academic craft center in the country. University at Buffalo students and community members studied weaving, pottery, metals, stained glass and photography; Fischer’s focus of instruction was drawing and painting. Jim Puglisi, the next director of the Craft Center added, “Joe was great, I was fortunate to have him as my mentor and friend. He created deep bonds with his students; some he continues to instruct and advise today from 3,000 miles away”.

Mr. Fischer has exhibited his paintings in many galleries in New York State and in the Pacific Northwest; his artwork is in collections across the globe including Canada, Ecuador, Norway, and Sweden. As an educator, he taught at Empire State College from 1975-1994 and at the University of Buffalo from 1970-1994.

Marc Hennig, CEO of Learning Disabilities Association of WNY of which Starlight Studio is a program, says, “Starlight Studio & Art Gallery will use this gift to expand its program and create new opportunities for artists with disabilities in the Buffalo community.” 

Starlight will be creating an enhanced ceramics studio within the space at 340 Delaware Avenue as well as refreshing other areas for greater usability and comfort of the artists. Carrie Marcotte, the program director of Starlight Studio and Art Gallery was thrilled to learn of the donation and Mr. Fischer’s deep involvement in the arts in Buffalo, “We are forever grateful for Joe Fischer’s gift to us.  It was fun to also realize that we had a connection to Joe Fischer through one of our first teaching artists, Carrianne Hendrickson. Carrianne taught for-credit classes in ceramics at the Creative Craft Center and put us on Jim Puglisi’s radar. Jim has continued to be a supporter of our sales and fundraising initiatives. Now with this gift from Joe Fischer we can expand what Carrianne started here back in 2005; we are thankful for this full circle of support!”

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Joe Fischer and his dog

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A recent painting of twins by Joe Fischer

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Starlight Artist, Kelly Evans with her portrait of
Joe Fischer and his dog!

Supporting Starlight Studio & Art Gallery and other programs and services through the LDA of WNY is easy.
Each tax deductible donation will go directly towards enhancing and developing services that support the dreams and needs of the individuals we serve. We know that together we can make a difference in the lives of those who mean the most to us.

Click on Corky the dog to learn more about Co-Artifact 2021

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