South Boston Open Studios @ The Distillery – June 2

Sunday was hot hot, but I was able to enjoy South Boston Open Studios at The Distillery by taking it slow to take in all the cool art.

The Distillery is a unique space – a historic brewery converted into artist work and live/work spaces. It was strange and wonderful to walk through closets and living rooms and emerge in studios filled with art.

A few painters that stood out were:

Painting by Nick Ward

Painting by Nick Ward

Painting by Cassandra Long

Painting by Cassandra Long


Painting by Khaldoun Hijazin

With her spacious studio hall, the sculptor Joyce McDaniel seemed to be a bit of an outlier in the Distillery, but in the best way possible. Her elegant sculptures soared above visitors heads, immense without being ungainly, their layered-paper construction giving them a sense of lightness.

Joyce McDaniel's studio

Joyce McDaniel’s studio

Of all the work I saw on Sunday, it was Derek Hoffend‘s sound sculptures that truly made me stop and pay attention. Hoffend has previously taught in the Museum School’s Sound department and has a background in electrical engineering, but has studied sound design and sound architecture extensively. Upon entering Hoffend’s studio, visitors were greeted by a pleasant drone-hum coming from the sculpture’s speakers. Hoffend draws his sound samples from sources such as brain-wave tones and notes associated with yoga chakras, these tones then create live and constantly changing music based on a set algorithm.

A geodesic sounds sculpture installed in Derek Hoffend's studio.

A geodesic sounds sculpture installed in Derek Hoffend’s studio.

Hoffend’s sculptures combine geometry, sound design, sacred forms, and healing energy. In a less capable artist’s hands, the outcome could have been hokey or “new-age”, but Hoffend is so sincere and thoughtful in his execution that his sculptures feel like true instruments of healing. Hoffend’s sculptures are polished and professional – healing involves a great deal of trust, and I felt no hesitation when climbing into the sculpture.

Lying inside the sound dome.

Lying inside the sound dome.

I have a chronic pain condition, so I’ve spent a good amount of time investigating non-traditional healing methods, and while I wasn’t expecting to find one at the Distillery, I was open to the experience. Lying inside the sculpture was incredibly calming and peaceful. The mattress base lay on a second lower ring of speakers, which emitted low frequency vibrations that felt wonderful on my spine. Although I only stayed inside the sculpture for around five minutes since others were passing through, it was hard to leave!

Inside the "Incubator" sound sculpture.

Inside the “Incubator” sound sculpture.

I’m glad I made the hot trek to the Distillery for Open Studios, I knew it was somewhere I needed to check out, I just didn’t know quite how full of life it would be!

This entry was posted in Review.

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