Week two of my attempt to visit (almost) every exhibition in Boston this fall (you can read week one here) I’m off to a bit of a slow start, and I haven’t gotten that far off the beaten path (yet), as you will see. If I missed anything cool, or you have any recommendations for my next round of gallery visits, get in touch.

I missed the opening for “People Watching: Then and Now” at the Fitchburg Art Museum, but I plan on checking out the show soon. If anyone wants to ride out there and visit the show with me, let me know!

Last week I a few people reached out to let me know what they thought of my show reviews. A couple of people thought I was trashing everything, while a few others seemed to think I was going easy on everyone. I think both groups are kinda missing the point of the exercise, so let me clarify things before I go any further. The following post is just a quick reaction to everything I saw. It is meant to be fairly light reading, and to possibly start some conversations, but is definitely not a serious piece of art criticism. If you think I am an idiot, or I totally missed the point of some piece of art, feel free to reach out and give me a piece of your mind. I welcome the feedback, and the chance to dive deeper into nerdy art talk.

So here is round two, five days of art, in the order I saw it.

Day 1

Feeling Feeling

A collaborative exhibition by Emmy Bright & J.R. Uretsky

The Distillery Gallery

I visited this show for the last round of gallery visits, but kept it out of the post because I was thinking about writing a more in depth review of it. Ultimately, I am just not sure I have the vocabulary (or the time) to do this show justice, so I will just say I enjoyed it. Playful and thought provoking, what else can you ask for? That said, the show could have used a little editing. There were a few pieces that jumped out at me, not because they were bad, but because they didn’t seem to fit into the show. It’s a tall order for artists to curate their own work, but the Distillery Gallery has always been a run what you brung kinda spot.

Day 2

Luxury Waters

Pat Falco with Tory Bullock and Robin Banks

Gallery Open

Pat’s work really shines when he takes his illustrations and expands on them into a larger narrative. After seeing this, I am kinda bummed I skipped out on his Boston Campaign Headquarters installation last year.

Day 3

Misadventures of a 21st-Century Naturalist

Mark Dion

ICA Boston

I felt a real kinship to this work, for reasons that I could not really put my finger on. Hearing the artist speak about his work solidified that feeling, and I felt myself wondering if the things he was saying hit with everyone there the same way. Is this a universal thing, or just something that really connected with me.

Day 4

Richard Yarde: Portraits

UMass University Hall Gallery

I did no research other than googling the address before walking into this show. Obviously, I was thrilled to step into a moving show of portraiture. My favorite piece was a small, oddly cropped, untitled piece, that seemed to be a bit of an afterthought. (I stole the image above from their instagram, the piece is on the far left of this pic) I left thinking about how I live in a city packed with universities and I only bother to visit their galleries when my friends are showing.

Sally Ladd Cole

Sloane Merrill Gallery

Apologies in advance to Sally Ladd Cole. I walked into the gallery and immediately got side tracked by some beautiful still life paintings by Shira Avidor. Sometimes a painters technique is so nice that you end up staring at a painting of bread for a solid 10 minutes and forget to look at the main show in the gallery.

Dysgraphia

Katina Huston

Chase Young Gallery

The contrast between the ink washed plexiglass (I think?) and the nice thick strokes of oil paint is really striking. Beyond that these pieces didn’t really do it for me.

Dmitri Cavander

Soprafina Gallery

Nicely painted Bay Area style landscapes. Two galleries in a row that seem to be celebrating thick strokes of highly pigmented oil paint. At this point, I am feeling good, even found myself enjoying a piece that turned out to be an Ipad drawing.

Abridged

Robert Richfield

Gallery Kayafas

Gallery Kayafas always finds a way to make me care about photography. I liked the man vs nature aspect of the photographs. One piece in particular, which depicted people flowing over the bridge, while water rushing below really stood out for me.

Writhe & Resolve: Aspects of Arcadia

Aristotle Forrester

Matter & Light

No idea how long this gallery has been here, because I have never even bothered to go down to this area of 450 Harrison. How lazy is that? It’s like five steps down from the other galleries.

Anyways, these paintings were an orgy of brush strokes. They look like paintings that were created by a fictional artist in a movie scene, just dancing and hacking away with the brush… except I’m not hating them. Some of the compositions are a bit off kilter, but I like the explorations of the different marks and textures that can be made with paint.

Joseph Adolphe

M Fine Arts

Next door to the last place, and again, never even knew this gallery was here. I wasn’t really feeling the animal paintings, but the still life pieces were interesting. At this point am getting hungry and I’m annoyed that I didn’t hate still life paintings (twice).

Raul Diaz

Adelson Galleries

This looks like the art at a really fancy hotel.

POUR. PUSH. LAYER.

Jeannie Motherwell

Rafius Fane Gallery

This gallery has been full of surprises since it opened. Their programming seems to be all over the place, but every time I walk in I see something interesting. I guess I like it here.

I have recently started come to terms with the fact that there is the way I like to paint, and then there is the way that some ideas need to be painted. Along with this realization has come a renewed interest in the different ways that paint can be spread around.

These pieces were really beautiful explorations of the properties of paint and pigments. I should have stuck around and listened to the artist speak–maybe she would have revealed some deeper meaning–but I left happy after simply taking in the lovely surfaces.

Day 5

The Paperweight That Keeps My World From Blowing Away

A Solo Exhibition by Nick Zaremba

Thomas Young Gallery

I feel like I am the only person in Boston who has not seen much of Nick’s work. The show was quirky and fun. The pieces that went beyond single characters and created more intricate scenes were particularly nice.

That’s it for this week.

Summer is over, galleries are coming out of hibernation, and haphazardly thrown together group shows are coming down to make way for more interesting fall programming. No more procrastinating, it’s officially time to re-engage with the (art)world and get to work in the studio.

In general, my inclination is to explore. I like to travel, and whenever I get to a new place, my first instinct is to walk around, say hello to strangers, and just see where luck takes me. On the other hand, when it comes to art, I have come to realize that I am stuck in an ever shrinking bubble. As I refine my own ideas, I have become increasingly interested in seeing related work – at the expense of exposing myself to a variety of ideas.

It is becoming a problem.

It’s becoming a problem because I know that if I put my preconceptions aside and open myself up to different ideas, if I approach art in the same way I would approach other explorations, I will come out the other end a better person for it.

With all that in mind I have decided to visit as many exhibitions as possible this winter. Boston has a relatively small community of galleries, museums, and other art spaces. There is no reason (other than apathy) that I can’t see 90% of what happens here. So, this winter I am going to do just that.

I can find the museums and mainstream galleries. But If you organize a pop up show, please let me know. If you are running a gallery out of your living room, please invite me over. If there is an interesting alternative space that I might not know about, please reach out. Seriously. I want to engage with as much art as I can, and to keep myself honest, I am going to write a little bit about everything I see.

To start things off, a rundown of everything I managed to see last Friday. Organized in the order that I visited.

It Can’t Rain All The Time

Solo exhibition of recent work by Anthony Palocci jr.

How’s Howard

I always make How’s Howard the first stop when I visit the galleries in the South End. This spot has been putting together great shows since day one, but when I saw the kitschy macho imagery of Anthony’s new paintings, my first reaction was negative. This is a perfect example of why I need to slow down and listen, instead of jumping to conclusions. The paintings felt incredibly honest and sensitive, despite my pre-judgements. The pieces are small, beautifully painted, and they really do a nice job of examining the burden of simple moments. Nice work, it played with my preconceptions and brought me somewhere interesting. Definitely worth a visit.

Reconfigure

Featuring work by Lavaughan Jenkins and Ariel Basson Freiberg

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery

I was pretty excited to check out Lavaughan Jenkins’ pieces in this show. I really enjoyed his paintings at Kingston Gallery last spring, and the leap to three dimensional work seems like a logical one for a painter employing so much texture. The sculptures did not disappoint, as they managed nicely translate the energy and feel of the two dimensional pieces. That said, the sculptures (3D paintings?) didn’t seem like fully realized pieces of art. Instead, it felt like this was the next step towards something greater. Looking forward to see where Lavaughan goes next with this. Very cool.

Similarly, Ariel Basson Freiberg’s paintings felt somewhat incomplete for me. Interesting explorations, but the concepts hit me with a heavy hand, and the execution did not seem fully resolved. Is my instinct to over work the shit out of every painting clouding my judgement here? Maybe the paintings would have worked at small scale, but there just wasn’t enough information to fill the large canvases. Would love to hear from anyone who had a different experience with these pieces.

–update–
For anyone looking for another take on this show, and a more favorable look at Ariel Basson Freiberg’s work in particular;
check out this piece on Big Red & Shiny.

Thisness

Work by Angela A’Court

GalleryBOM

Still life drawings, simply rendered in pastel. I have to admit that it takes a lot to get me excited about still life painting at this point, but these images are fairly striking, and they grabbed my attention as I walked by. The bold flattened compositions and earthy tones worked together to create something that commanded a second look. On closer inspection though, the texture of the soft pastels is just too much of a turn off for me.

First Light

Paintings by Bernard Chaet

Alpha Gallery

I had the exact opposite experience here, than I had next door at GalleryBOM. These pieces were all about the texture, all about the beautiful application of paint for me. The compositions were somewhat dry from a distance, but the closer I looked the more I was pulled in by the siren song of the energetic brushwork. Strangely, when I stepped back and looked at the show as a whole, it appeared to be painted by 2 or 3 different artists (each of which was heavily influenced by some other, more famous artist). I don’t know anything about this painter, but I would guess he is probably a well-respected professor who has spent too much time with his students absorbing historic paintings.

Brian Zink

Miller Yezerski Gallery

Whenever I walk into a show of work that is super clean and minimal like this, I feel like the art is judging me. It seems to smirk, “You could never be this tasteful Nick, what are you painting Master P album covers?” I don’t know, It just isn’t my thing.

I couldn’t find any information about the show, or any current images of the work on the galleries website, so I just grabbed an image of a random piece. Maybe they are still on summer vacation?

Also at Miller Yezerski: more Ariel Basson Freiberg?

I don’t understand why two galleries within spitting distance are showing the same artist at the same time. Is this the best that Boston can do? I was a little hard on her paintings before, so I want to be clear that this shouldn’t be taken as a shot at her. But really. Seriously though. There are what… 20(?) galleries in Boston? And I am looking at the same art in two of them on the same night?

Wholly Idle

Sean Downey

Steven Zevritas Gallery

Large scale paintings. Bright colors. Exploring the role of photography, film, imagery in our society. This show has everything I normally like, but it just didn’t connect for me. Maybe I was just running out of steam after visiting a handful of other shows. I don’t know but this just didn’t do it for me. I will have to go back for a second look with fresh eyes.

Immigrancy

Samson Projects

A show about immigrants, refugees, expats. By the only gallery in town that could pull it off. I saved this show for last, because I expected a compelling experience and I wanted to finish my night on a high note. Then I walked in the door, picked up the information sheet, and was greeted by the news that this would be Samson’s final show.

I honestly had a hard time even focusing on the show. This is one of the few spaces left in Boston that is consistently putting on interesting, engaging, and challenging exhibitions. While the people behind this gallery will undoubtedly still be doing great work, the Boston art world will be worse off without this space.

In any case, it was cool to see the work of local folks hanging next to some international big name. In retrospect, this show feels like a bit of resume. This is what Samson does, don’t forget us, we will be back. I will be sure to visit one more time – before it’s too late – to give this show the attention it deserves.

Wait, did I just see another Ariel Basson Freiberg piece? I guess I can’t hate on the hat trick.