The cold weather didn’t deter visitors of First Fridays over at the SOWA galleries at 450 Harrison St.
I stopped by Ars Libri Gallery first to see Paulette Tavormina’s pristine botanical explorations. (See above) Tavormina is highly inspired by the lighting and subject matter of classical still-life painting, exploding the idea of the bouquet across the square.
Next, I stopped by the Boston Sculptors Gallery, to see Any Moerlein’s “Demise” and Elizabeth Alexander’s “Treacle Well.” Moerlein’s giant stone-crawling creature dominates the first room of the gallery. Despite the heavy materials, the sculpture is dynamic, curving its way across the floor. This main sculpture is perhaps so eye-catching that it draws attention away from Moerlein’s smaller, quieter pieces on the surrounding walls. I am a bit hesitant to embrace Moerlein’s idea of “cultural mashup,” and would have appreciated some contextual text, but his work is strong enough to deserve investigation.
Elizabeth Alexander is a master of shaping paper, delicately slicing out floral designs. I was most impressed by her 3D paper sculptures that twist intricate paper petals into flowing vines and trails of moss.
Something Felix Gallery featured “Give & Get / Have & Take,” a show of paper multiples available for the viewer to take away. The event is paralleled by a sister exhibition in Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K., giving the 20 participating artists (10 from each location) a chance to show different work at the two shows.
Each artist created their own stack of multiples within the size constraints of standard copy paper. The works ranged from whimsical to cynical, incorporating word play and images drawn from the internet. The show plays with the overlap of widespread electronic information and the fleeting nature of the paper take-away.
The Miller Yezerski Gallery is currently showing work by Christian Haub and William Ciccariello, two very different artists. Haub works in brightly colored plexiglass, creating Mondrian-esque cross-hatch patterns.
Where Haub is brightly colored, Ciccariello is almost monotone, using delicate shades of gray and brown with hints of pink and blue to describe the winter landscape. Looking at his paintings, I felt like he had captured the exact feeling of a New England winter forest. Ciccariello fills his canvases with hundreds of tiny branches that are easy to get lost in: the branch patterns become meditative, suggesting a spiderweb, or an overhead map of a river system.
At the Bromfield Gallery Daniel Feldman’s photographs caught my attention. Feldman uses a complex system of post-processing, combining multiple shots not only of the construction site, but also of additional elements not originally present to complete the scene. Although the photos are highly constructed, they read like documentation of a performance. The translucent screen is simultaneously out of place and perfectly natural. It is easy to imagine it being inserted into the scene physically, perhaps with someone hiding behind it to hold it upright. Feldman’s photos are technical and refined, while maintaining the immediacy of a performance.
This was the last First Friday of Kirk Amaral Snow’s residency at Gallery Samson, so I took a spin through his studio the Sub-Samson basement to see what he’d been working on. Snow’s work relies on the inherent characteristics of everyday materials: the neon glow that a piece of colored cardboard created when facing a white wall, the form that plastic objects take when put into constructed situations.
My last stop was Gallery Kayafas, which has up dual shows by Geoff Hargadon and Remi Thornton. Hargadon is best known for his “Cash for Your Warhol” signs.
(Click Image for Full Size)
Hargadon created his ubiquitous signs during the financial crisis of 2008-09, and exhibits the text of messages he received at the listed phone number alongside the signs. Another of his bodies of work displays the oft-overlooked text that would normally be displayed alongside works of art in a museum. As someone who is a great appreciator of museum text, I was thrilled to see these mundane lines placed front and center for the viewer. The irony of a symbol indicating an audio tour when the artwork and museum are absent is especially humorous.
Thornton’s photographs are all taken at night, blackness taking over the edges of the images, while the subject is highlighted by pre-existing artificial illumination. His photos feel like gems of light in a deep pool of black night, pristine and disconnected from reality.
Most shows will be up for the rest of the month, so take a stop by during gallery hours, and I’ll be back next month!