I have not made it out to as many openings and exhibitions as I normally like too. Part of that has to do with adapting to my new role as a parent, part of that has to do with moving a to the outskirts of the city, but a lot of it has to do with the downward trajectory that this cities gallery scene has taken in the last few years. Spaces were closing, programs were slowing, I was having a harder time picturing a place for the kind of work I like here. Things were just getting less exciting.
Lately though, things seem to be turning around. New galleries are opening, existing spaces are relocating and gaining momentum, things are getting interesting again. Lately, I have been heading out to see art around Boston again, and I have been coming home renewed motivation. With that in mind, I wanted to do my small part to help fuel the energy that I am feeling lately by talking a little about a couple of the shows I visited this weekend. Now, my audience isn’t huge, somewhere between a few hundred and a few thousand read my posts, depending on my luck on any given day. But I think that starting conversations is important, and I want to continue to follow my own advice here. So I am going to keep it short and simple, but I am going to throw my opinions out there.
Thomas Young Gallery has always been a favorite spot of mine, and it seems to really be hitting its stride. I have to admit that in general, the lowbrow-ish, educated artschool outsider, whatever you call it aesthetic does not appeal to me much these days. Not to say that there is not a lot of interesting work that falls into this category, just that we seem to have reached saturation with this style, and a lot the art being made just ends up feeling a little too lazy.
Anne Buckwalter’s work escapes this trap (maybe it doesn’t even fall into this style at all?). It’s good. When I met her at the opening, I tried to explain how much I enjoyed her work, in comparison to how disappointed I would normally be by similar pieces… Which landed about as well as you would expect.
The work draws you in with intimately scaled drawings that are packed with details. The figures repeat and evolve across large sheets of bright white paper to create larger compositions. In my mind, the effect is similar to a repetitious musical hook, but Anne insisted her intent was quite different. In any case, it worked. The work had that feeling of immediacy that everyone loves, without hiding the fact that it was obviously labor intensive and quite structured. It felt quick and loose, without feeling like a study for something better (a sweet spot that so many artists seem to fall short of finding). If you didn’t manage to make it out on Saturday, it’s worth the trip.
Darlin Frometa – Fighting Superstition
I don’t think anyone who reads this site is going to be surprised that I liked this show. It’s no secret that I love intense, visually interesting paintings, and the centerpiece of this show falls right into that category. The work in this show features classically inspired compositions starring big bellied men, dressed in elaborate feminine attire. The effect is playful and inviting, and once you get pulled in, the pieces reward you with an abundance of details and allegories to explore.
I love art that gives enough away to be accessible and engaging for most everyone, while still holding deeper secrets for those who are knowledgeable enough to uncover them. This work does that. My only complaint is that there were not more paintings from this series included in the show (the drawings are scaled more appropriately for this particular space, so I think I understand the choice). Again, it’s a show worth seeing, at a gallery worth supporting.