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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!