September is a study of contrasts at Aucoscisco Galleries in Portland.

Sean Foley, whose work is in the collection of the Portland Museum of Art, will show new paintings and drawings at the Portland gallery beginning Friday as part of the city’s First Friday ArtWalk.

A former instructor at Maine College of Art who now lives in Ohio, Foley will show his work in tandem with a former MECA student, Joshua Ferry, who recently moved back to Maine from New Jersey.

Their work could not be more different. One is minimalist; the other is almost Baroque. Foley is wildly gestural, creating lavish, cartoon-like layered imagery full of loopy forms and energy. Ferry’s work is flat and geometric; for this series, his central figure is a cross, which he repeats in each painting.

But their use of color connects them. Both create mood and atmosphere with their color choices.

The show is titled “The Crux of the Matter,” and it is on view through Sept. 29. It opens with a First Friday ArtWalk reception from 5 to 8 p.m.

Portland’s monthly First Friday ArtWalk is one of the city’s most popular events and includes not only open galleries, but free admission to the Portland Museum of Art. The event attracts street performers, musicians and artists selling their wares on the street, as well as colorful characters who dress in zany costumes. (Why, you ask? Why not?)

In addition to the Aucocisco show, September’s First Friday will include new shows at 3Fish Gallery, Constellation Gallery, the Portland Public Library, Mayo Street Arts, The Green Hand Bookshop and many more.

Aucocisco owner and director Andres Verzosa had planned to show just Ferry’s work in September. Then he ran into Foley this summer, when the artist was back in Maine for a residency.

Verzosa liked the work Foley was doing, and approached Ferry about sharing his show with Foley, his former painting instructor. Ferry readily endorsed the proposal.

Verzosa likes the combination of work because of the intersection points between the two men. They create dramatically different work and are at different stages in their careers. They are connected by MECA and common friends in the community.

Folks who know and appreciate Foley’s work very likely know and like Ferry’s work too, he said.

“It just shows you how tight the (art) web really is,” Verzosa said. “It really is all about relationships.”

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes