Niagara Gazette

July 25, 2013

Thomas Aquinas Daly exhibit opens Sunday at Kenan Center

By Michele DeLuca michele.deluca@niagara-gazette.com
Night & Day

Night & Day — It’s one thing to be a talented artist. It’s a whole other thing to be talented and lucky.

Thomas Aquianas Daly, adopted from a maternity home in Albany by parents who raised him in Niagara Falls, seems to have been lucky from birth.

Along with an acclaimed talent for painting, his life has been beset by serindipty which won him an exhibit in Manhattan and eventually allowed him to quit his job and paint full time.

His big break came in a trout stream, when he happened to meet another fisherman, Bruce Kurland,  also a wildlife painter but far more accomplished, who would change the course of his life. 

Through Kurland, Daly’s work found its way into the hands of the director of the Grand Central Art Gallery in Manhattan, who phoned Daly and said “Send me all your work.”

It was the gallery staff who told Daly to use his middle name, Aquinas, to help his name stand out. Even though the name was a source of childhood embarrassment, he quickly learned about the importance of establishing a brand with the help of a distinctive name.

But even though his work has  been displayed in numerous solo exhibitions at galleries, museums and universities throughout the country and though he’s received a medal for his work from President Gerald R. Ford, the artist doesn’t pay much attention to his own successes.  “Your latest success is history,” he said, adding that people always ask “What’s next?”

In fact, Daly, now living in Arcade, hasn’t done much exhibiting lately, but agreed to do the Kenan Show because of what he knew about the center. “When the Kenan Center called I jumped at the chance to exhibit there,” he said. “I’d heard a lot of good things about the center, art wise.”

The artist, whose family once owned a furniture store and Finn Funeral Home in the Falls, attended Sacred Heart School and Bishop Duffy High School (now Niagara Catholic). “I practically lived in the gorge,” he said. “That’s where it came from — being outdoors all the time,” he said of the pursuits that spurred his art. 

Center director Susan Przybyl is hoping Daly’s work will increase the male presence among the exhibit’s attendees, due to the outdoor nature of his watercolors and oils.

“Daly pulls the viewer into his landscapes by capturing the spirit of a place in a quiet, reflective manner,” Prysbyl said. “We were especially intrigued about the idea of presenting themes that would appeal to the male population. “

The exhibit opens at 2 p.m. Sunday and continues through Sept. 8.

IF YOU GO n WHAT: Opening of exhibit by Thomas Aquinas Daly. n WHEN: 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Exhibit runs through Sept. 8 n WHERE: Kenan Center, 433 Locust St., Lockport n CONTACT: For more information contact the Kenan Center at www.kenancenter.org or call 433-2617