After such an emotional week in Boston, I spent my Saturday actively decompressing: the day began with brunch, followed with a lazy walk through the Arnold Arboretum, and finished with the pop-up show, Somethings, at Gallery 535. Somethings, installed entirely the day of and lasting only one evening, was put on by the students of the Professional Practices class from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. I’m a big fan of shows put on by college classes – there’s something about the synergy that comes of a semester spent discussing art together that always yields interesting results.
The show collected diverse works, but didn’t feel tossed together, a testament to the effort the students put into its curation. Some of the work focused on precision as a vehicle for visual exploration, while others pieces took a more informal route. Bailey Quinlan and Linda Pagani, both talented photographers, chose minimalism as a way to isolate their subject matter. In Cheese and Crytals, Quinlan plays with scale to inject her mundane subject matter with with mysterious meaning. Pagani’s elegant photos meanwhile seem almost like watercolor colorfield paintings. Sky merges with sea, delicately distinguishing itself from the blank page. A balcony juts into emptiness (no.5) like modernist sculpture.
Charlotte Wampold’s sculpture bridged the gap between serious and playful in the form of a multi-media “self-portrait” exploring her personal relationship with, get this, lard. The paintings and food items at first seemed off-putting, but upon talking to the artist, I was taken by her thoughtful and serious reasoning behind each element as it related to her family.
Dayna Safferstein exhibited a series of whimsical drawings paired with third-person descriptions. “Brandishing your crabshell talisman ahead as you walk, you feel the squish of the swamp between your toes. You’re started as a toad springs out of your path […] If you – catch the toad, and attempt a philosophical conversation, turn to page 150.” (Brandishing your crabshell talisman, 2012). The drawings read like isolated pages from a choose-your-own-adventure novel, but with a healthy dose of poetry and existentialism thrown in.
Sibel Levi’s Game of Life took center stage in the middle of the gallery – a series of colored cords and numbered pegs crisscrossed the gallery wall. Gallery goers were encouraged to roll the oversized dice and follow the wall text instructions to participate in the game. I was particularly charmed by the final “rule” on the list: “Reflect on the infinite number of paths not taken. Think about life as art.”