Steve Ardo: Monsters
Opening Friday February 9th 6-9PM | INVITE
On View: February 9-28
Gallery Hours: Fridays 5:30-7:30PM, during events and by appointment.

Sugar City Art Gallery is pleased to announce Steve Ardo: Monsters, the first solo exhibit focusing upon the work of artist, graphic designer and local punk Steve Ardo. Monsters will serve as Ardo’s introduction to the wider public within Western New York, and the art community by and large. He has been an avid graphic designer and punk rock enthusiast since graduating from the University at Buffalo with a Bachelors in Fine Arts degree.

Ardo has participated in smaller group shows and several surveys of local artwork in the past – in venues such as Glow Gallery and the Western New York Book Arts Center (WNYBAC) – Monsters will be his first ever solo exhibit, allowing audiences to unpack and unravel his wide-ranging oeuvre and dive deep into his punk rock portfolio. Having worked outside of the mainstream gallery system and the concentric circles of contemporary art practice, Ardo’s work, like the artist himself, retains a sincere heart encircled by rough edges characteristic of many do-it-yourself, queer, punk kids from the City of Good Neighbors.

Monsters will focus upon several branches of Ardo’s multifaceted practice, including the “Buffalo (Hand)Bills” series, a series of hand bills, or fliers, produced on the fly for punk bands; his “Merch Guy” series, a suite of t-shirts designed, screen printed and distributed by Ardo for a number of local bands; and his “Paper Monsters” series, a set of layered, cut-paper creations evoking pop culture touchstones such as Pokémon and Digimon, alike. Additionally, there will be a selection of process works, ranging from sketches done on transparencies, pencil and ink gouaches, and selections from Ardo’s own sketchbook-cum-diary.

Inspired in equal measure by Buffalo’s DIY scene, punk bands, the aforementioned popular culture and the artwork of Keith Haring, Ardo’s work encapsulates the invaluable vigor outsider’s can bring to the fore within contemporary art; watering it and refreshing it anew with outside perspectives, and art gleaned from lonely days of introspection and heady nights of revelry, each. This exhibit also begins to grapple with what is beneath the surface of all of Ardo’s work; work made in the face of poverty, abjection and anxiety is as unfailingly buoyant as Mark Rothko’s signature clouds of pigment on canvas.