This holiday season we are excited to bring back Accessory, a trunk show featuring new work from our talented group of jewelers. Join us from 12-4 pm on Sunday 12/9 for refreshments, a chance to meet the artists behind our fantastic jewelry collection, and of course some unique holiday gift shopping! Last year’s event was great fun, and this year will be another perfect opportunity to treat yourself or someone special in your life. And don't forget, all jewelry is 10% off as part of our Holiday Sale.
Together with the Arlington Commission on the Arts and Culture and Arlington Public Art, 13FOREST Gallery is pleased to continue Outside|In, a series of artist talks about public art along the Minuteman Bikeway. Last year’s program featured several compelling public art projects, which you can read about here.
For its second year, APA, the Arlington Commission on the Arts and Culture and curator Cecily Miller have commissioned temporary works of art for a section of the Bikeway in Arlington's newly designated Cultural District. Artist Resa Blatman and environmental educator Ellen Reed have collaborated on a set of cards with portraits of ExtraOrdinary Birds and tips to encourage birdwatching on the Bikeway and to help birds in your own backyard. Christopher Frost has created Colony, an enchanting miniature village perched in the branches of a large tree at the Linwood Street entrance to the Bikeway. Please join us on Saturday, 10/20 from 4-6 pm at 13FOREST Gallery to hear Blatman and Frost speak about their projects.
Schedule of Events
Sun 10/21 - Sun 11/4: Coco Cultures: The Raver’s Altar window installation at 13FOREST Gallery
Sun 10/28, 4-6 pm: Día de los Muertos - The Raver’s Altar opening reception and events throughout Capitol Square
Sun 11/4, 2-4 pm: Coco Cultures: The Raver’s Altar - artist talk with Auddie Rodriguez
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a holiday of reverence for one's ancestors that dates back to the Aztec celebration of Mictēcacihuātl, Queen of the Underworld. Though Día de los Muertos originated in Mexico, people across the Americas have adopted and modified the tradition with their own unique cultural contributions. Each October Capitol Square brings Día de los Muertos back into focus with Latinx memory altars, food and live music. For this year's Día de los Muertos festival 13FOREST Gallery is pleased to highlight the work of artist and designer Auddie Rodriguez, who will install The Raver's Altar, part of her ongoing project Coco Cultures, in our window.
Coco Cultures is an appropriation of subcultural identities through the use of Auddie’s alter ego “Coco.” Through design branding, multi-media art production, photography and video, Coco shares the lifestyles, passions, and preoccupations of the five different subcultures she embodies. For Auddie, this multi-media presentation of Coco is a tool that interprets the ego of personal identity, while simultaneously appealing to the ego of creativity.
Auddie’s long-term, immersive project began with an exploration of five subcultural identities: the gamer, the collector, the skater, the survivalist, and the raver. For each identity Auddie, as Coco, had to acquire the knowledge, skills, and accoutrements necessary to become a member of that group. Coco manifests a gamer’s obsession with completionism, a collector’s meticulous hunt for Durand glassware, a skater’s repetitive practice of an Ollie, a survivalist’s conviction for TEOTWAWKI, a raver’s vigor for catching the moment when the beat drops, and places these crafts on the same level of importance as the obsession, meticulousness, practice and conviction that goes into the act of creating as an artist or designer.
Auddie began Coco Cultures in her final year of the Graphic Design and Interactive Design program at The School of Visual Arts, approaching the project from the perspective of a designer and not an artist. For her thesis presentation of the project, her professor challenged her to find a way to put her project out into the world. Auddie decided to kill off one of Coco's iterations; the raver was her victim. As her final presentation, Auddie had an obituary printed in a newspaper for Coco the raver, and designed a traditional memorial prayer card.
For our Día de los Muertos window installation, Auddie is constructing an altar to commemorate the life of Coco's raver persona. The altar will play with the traditions of Día de los Muertos while incorporating elements specific to the raver subculture.
Speaking about the scope of her project, Auddie explains that "Coco Cultures is for everyone or for one person, it doesn’t have a deadline and will continue until my own death, it can take many shapes, it can live anywhere, it serves the narratives of individuals and their passions; because that is what subcultures do - they display the complex blooming of the human experience with tenacity."
About the Artist
Auddie Rodriguez is an artist and designer currently based in Boston. Originally from New York City, she was raised in the tri-state area and all over New York State. Auddie graduated with an Associate's Degree in Graphic Design from Bronx Community College in 2010, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the School of Visual Arts in 2013.
As an artist, Auddie has sought to develop work through the lens of her upbringing and experiences. She uses her nickname, Auddie, to erase common first impressions of race and gender in her art and design work. She identifies, first and foremost, as a woman because she has spent most of her life balancing multiple socio-cultural identities. As a second generation Puerto Rican-American, Auddie grew up having turkey for Thanksgiving and pernil for Christmas. Coming out as a bisexual woman in the early 2000s, she has spent years switching between masculine and feminine demeanors.
Auddie plans to create future work that brings into view narratives often forgotten in art and design, such as the history of colonization and immigration of Puerto Ricans, closeted bisexuality, the intersectionality of cultural identities, and stories of substance abuse, among others. Auddie continues to push emotional risk-taking in order to reminisce, realize and say something in her work.
Congratulations to Wilhelm Neusser, whose new body of work will be featured in Field Trip, a solo exhibition at Galerie Knecht und Burster in Karlsruhe, Germany from September 15 to October 13, 2018. Watch Neusser give a tour of his studio and explain the new paintings, which depict his first American landscapes, in the video at right. Fortunately as he was preparing for the Germany show, Neusser made a few extra cranberry bog paintings for our P-town Pop-up, 13FOREST at 444 - see below.
With Nicole Duennebier's second solo exhibition at 13FOREST Gallery, View into the Fertile Country, soon coming to a close, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some thoughts about her work and how it can be understood through View into the Fertile Country and another exhibition currently featuring Duennebier, Pushing Painting at the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University.
Gallery Director, 13FOREST Gallery
Nicole Duennebier’s first solo show at 13FOREST Gallery, The Great Season, celebrated a particularly prolific time in the young artist’s career. The show was populated with paintings that at first glance appear to be seventeenth century Dutch still lifes. However closer inspection rewards the viewer with simultaneous pleasure and revulsion at discovering Duennebier’s imaginative subject matter: biologic forms that glimmer and ooze in an alluringly repulsive manner.
Duennebier has become known for her signature style of painting that renders surreal and at times grotesque subjects with the attention and rigor of an Old Master. 13FOREST Gallery owner Jim Kiely previously interviewed Duennebier to gain insight into the process behind this highly recognizable work.
With her latest solo exhibition View into the Fertile Country, Duennebier continues to mine historical influences, but expands the scope of her painted subject matter to introduce new vistas that define the broader universe her work occupies. Duennebier has also expanded the type of work that she is presenting as her finished product, making her delicate and highly detailed drawings a significant component of the show. With this new imagery and medium, Duennebier challenges herself artistically and invites her viewers deeper into her imagined worlds.
Duennebier’s work as a painter is characterized by a voracious approach to historical influences. Visually her paintings evoke a keen understanding of Dutch still lifes and the Old Masters, and conversations with the artist reveal a deep breadth of knowledge that informs her work in ways both subtle and overt. A primary influence on the body of work on display in View into the Fertile Country was an article about the effects of the disease scurvy on sailors traveling to previously undiscovered lands. The article, “Scurvy and the Terra Incognita” by Jonathan Lamb, discusses the phenomenon of the “scorbutic eye,” a condition brought on by scurvy that heightens the viewer’s sense of vision to the point of surreality. To sailors affected by the scorbutic eye, the world around them took on a highly decorative quality such that the visual world became completely overwhelming, sometimes causing the sailors to lose consciousness.
In her artist talk for View into the Fertile Country, Duennebier revealed that she sees herself as possessing a scorbutic eye when it comes to her painting; she seeks out the decorative aspects of her subject matter and heightens those details until they become almost too much to take in. Duennebier further characterized her work as having the engorged quality of someone being fed too much. Duennebier’s awareness of engaging the senses in this manner is apparent in the highly sensual nature of her work, which brims with details, textures, and environments that give the viewer plenty to feast upon.
With this new work, Duennebier pushed herself to explore landscapes as a new subject matter for her paintings. The decision to pursue landscapes came from her desire to challenge herself to work with a lighter color palette in a major departure from the darkness that her previous still lifes were usually situated within. Paintings like Landscape with Pink Folds and Folded Landscape at Dusk evoke Rococo-esque grottoes with their pastel tones and intricate scenery, while Still Life with Nasturtium and Brush Fire uses landscape sparingly in the background, grounding the painting in a more familiar reality while also contrasting the fantastic scenery in the foreground.
Duennebier also addresses landscape with her immaculately detailed drawings, work that she is displaying in a gallery context for the first time at 13FOREST. In her artist talk, she discussed her decision to pursue drawing more seriously for this exhibition. While she had always used drawing as a preparatory process for her paintings, she admitted that she had never before found them to be significant enough to present as a finished product.
Drawing offered a completely different kind of experience than painting for Duennebier. She described the process of drawing as feeling very frail and vulnerable, like walking a tightrope. Although her method of painting allows her to go back and repaint sections that she has trouble with, with drawing every mark is final and therefore must be careful and deliberate. Duennebier’s highly studied approach to her artistic process is evident in her drawings as much as the paintings. In her talk, she explained that “I felt as though with the drawings I had to do a lot of looking at other drawings and learn those marks…if I had an angle that I was trying to understand I feel like I had to go through a lot of different source material to kind of figure out how other artists worked it out.”
With the titles of the drawings, Duennebier’s multi-layered historical references become even more obvious. Most of the drawings are referred to as cartouches, which are decorative elements with the appearance of a scroll or an oval that were incorporated into tablets or drawings; they also bore inscriptions or highlighted important names in Egyptian hieroglyphs. The concept of a cartouche appealed to Duennebier as it conveyed the idea of an element that was meant to be filled in and become part of a decoration. She explained that a cartouche could also mean a cartridge that is filled with ink; to her mind it represents a space that is filled with possibility.
For Duennebier calling her drawings cartouches invoked the intriguing idea of using an absence as decoration, and yet she also saw it as a way of downplaying the drawings; she explained that the titles were “in a silly sort of way like trying to say this is a quaint little decoration.” With the decision to name her drawings cartouches, Duennebier reveals her highly intellectualized creative process, showcasing the multiple approaches she takes to understanding her work.
Duennebier’s extreme commitment to her influences and subject matter is further evident in her use of models when creating her paintings. During her artist talk Duennebier explained that since she often paints scenes that exist solely in her imagination, she finds it useful to create clay models to refer to while she is working. She originally began making the models as a way to counteract a certain flatness she was observing in her work. Creating a three dimensional model allowed her to actually physically navigate the scenes she was imagining. Duennebier is a true technician in her approach to painting. She used oil on the models to emulate the sticky, shiny, and repellent textures that she sought to create, using the model as a basis to render the most accurate representation of the shadows, points of reflection, and unique textures that she was trying to convey.
When asked about the seventeenth century and Old Master influences that are so present in her work, Duennebier admitted that “consistently looking back as far as I do, I don’t know if I have a good excuse for it other than I think I learn the most from Old Master paintings…there will be something there that I don’t know how to do and I’m always learning from that.” Her self-described “obsessive love” with that historic work allows her to experiment with the ideas of great artists and reinterpret them through her own lens. While Duennebier might not believe she has a good excuse for bringing clear historical references into her work, curator Ian Alden Russell found that quality to be a particular strength of her practice.
Concurrent with View into the Fertile Country, Duennebier is featured alongside painters Elise Ansel and Duane Slick in the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University in an exhibition titled Pushing Painting. The exhibition, curated by Russell, serves to bring Duennebier’s work into context with other painters who filter art historical touchstones through a contemporary vantage point.
In her review of the exhibition, Boston Globe art critic Cate McQuaid offers a deft summary of the work of Ansel and Slick. Ansel takes on titans of art history such as Caravaggio’s Conversion on the Way to Damascus, using the same color palette but rendering the painting’s familiar forms with energetic swaths of paint. Ansel’s abstracted brushstrokes, according to McQuaid, “don’t flatten masterworks into formal notions, but caress and celebrate their forms, as a lover might, so they blossom anew.” Duane Slick, professor of painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and member of the Meskwaki and Ho-Chunk Nations, “seeds the modernist grid with Native American spirits.” His approach to the stark geometry of Modern painting imbues it with fresh meaning as he layers in Native American imagery, bringing western art into conversation with cultures rarely recognized by the art historical canon.
Duennebier’s work in the show is an excellent example of her Dutch still-life inspired work, including the six paneled series Hydnellum Myriorama, pieces of which belong to different collectors and have not been exhibited together since their debut in The Great Season in 2014. McQuaid writes that “Like her Dutch predecessors, Duennebier’s glistening realism captures bounty and menace, allure and mortification. Unlike them, she offers no moral instruction – just astonishment at paint’s possibilities.”
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Russell about the motivation behind his latest exhibition and his interest in Duennebier's work. With Pushing Painting, Russell began with the idea of organizing an exhibition of regional painters. He explained that New England has a remarkably long history of painting and several notable painting schools such as the Hudson River School, making the region akin to parts of Europe or England in terms of the breadth of historical influence to draw upon. It was his observation that with New England’s rich history of painting techniques, it is incredible that artists in this area are still finding ways to innovate with the medium and keep it feeling contemporary and relevant. He particularly honed in on painters who found ways to pay homage to the history of image making while still working from a fresh or different perspective that made their paintings feel as contemporary as other avant-garde types of images.
With Duennebier’s work, Russell was initially drawn to the rigor and commitment he saw in her technique. Her dedication to fidelity and acutely representing textures and light is remarkable, and for Russell, was a sign that Duennebier was someone to pay attention to. Her mastery of acrylic paint was also particularly noteworthy. While her paintings fool many people into believing they are painted with oil, a medium often associated with more detail and depth, Duennebier is actually working exclusively with acrylic paint. Her expert application of acrylic paint and varnish allows her to convey a broad range of textures, from shimmering pearls and airy gauze to oozing and disintegrating molds, with the weight and seriousness of an Old Master working in oil. According to Russell, viewers mistaking these paintings as seventeenth century oils gives the paintings an aura of history while also leading the viewer to think differently about contemporary mediums.
For Russell, the three artists in Pushing Painting are united by the way they open up historical images for continued discussion and reinterpretation. Within the canon of art history the meaning of art movements and interpretation of an artist’s oeuvre can feel established or determined in a way that can be restrictive. However through the work of Ansel, Duennebier, and Slick, Russell demonstrates his view that “the history of the painted image is something that is constantly becoming and is renegotiated.” These artists are “intervening to try to collapse and simultaneously open and expand” the distance between contemporary viewers and historical influences, making room for history to live again in our contemporary consciousness. Regarding Duennebier’s work specifically, Russell stated that her work reminds him that when encountering any creative work, no matter the time period in which it originated, “there is a contemporary opportunity and a contemporary moment to be open to what that [artwork] might mean, what that image is saying…how might that [artwork] catalyze conversations with others around you.” While Duennebier seems to think primarily in terms of what she has to learn from Old Masters, Russell points out that there is much to learn about art history from Duennebier: “[she] helps me think differently about seventeenth century Dutch still life painting.”
With Pushing Painting and View into the Fertile Country on view simultaneously, followers of Duennebier’s work are afforded a unique opportunity to consider her already impressive career. Her dedication to history provides ample inspiration for her imaginative paintings, while giving viewers the opportunity to engage with moments from art history that might feel outdated to contemporary audiences. Duennebier’s masterful rendering of texture provides an opportunity to experience the visceral pleasure of looking, as viewers take in the delightful and repulsive details that give her work its signature vibrancy and liveliness.
Please join us on Saturday, July 7 from 4-6 pm for cocktails to celebrate the closing of Nicole Duennebier's solo exhibition View into the Fertile Country.
More common in the Golden Age of Exploration, the "scorbutic eye" refers to a heightened sense of vision caused by scurvy, which made the world appear highly and overwhelmingly decorative. Explorers travelling to new lands who were afflicted with the scorbutic eye would sometimes faint from the visual intensity of their surroundings. Inspired by this bizarre phenomenon, Duennebier paints and draws imagined landscapes that invite viewers in to explore features that are simultaneously beautiful, intricate, and grotesque.
Come experience the scorbutic eye for yourself! We'll have a signature cocktail and some snacks to celebrate. Read more about View into the Fertile Country here.
Artist Nicole Duennebier is featured in online art magazine Wonderland to mark the opening of her solo exhibition View into the Fertile Country at 13FOREST Gallery on May 19. Writer Greg Cook visited Duennebier's studio earlier this month to get a sneak peek of the work for her upcoming show and to learn more about how her artistic process and influences have shifted in this latest body of work.
Cook writes that Duennebier is "one of the most sumptuous painters around." Her latest work draws on 16th century Dutch still lifes and French rococo gardens, but also incorporates grotesque elements like mold and oozing meat. Duennebier explains that “Pushing people to find something attractive that they wouldn’t normally is always something I’m working towards. I think artists are always looking for something people haven’t found beautiful yet.” Read the entire profile of Nicole Duennebier here.
We were honored to be featured in an upcoming episode of Museum Open House, a wonderful program on Newton's public access station, NewTV, that highlights museums and galleries throughout Massachusetts. Thank you to host Jay Sugarman for the engaging conversation about our current exhibition 13WOMEN, on view until May 11. You can catch our interview on Thursday, May 3 at 9:30 pm on NewTV, or watch it online here.
Left to right: Museum Open House host Jay Sugarman, 13FOREST co-owners Marc Gurton and Jim Kiely, Gallery Director Caitee Hoglund
Last spring our first-ever From Flowers to FOREST event was a huge hit! It was so enjoyable for us to see our artists inspire other creators to make some truly lovely floral arrangements. We are delighted to be partnering with Derby Farm Flowers & Gardens again this year to bring you another fun and festive floral event during Capitol Square's annual Spring in the Square celebration on Saturday, April 7.
From Flowers to FOREST will begin with a workshop at Derby Farm from 12-2 pm. Derby Farm will give you some pointers and blooms, and you'll design a floral arrangement prompted by a work of art from our current exhibition 13WOMEN. If you're looking for ideas, see some of last year's creations below.
When you’re done, bring your flowers across the street to display next to their inspiration at 13FOREST Gallery and enjoy refreshments at our exhibition reception from 2-4 pm.
The workshop is for any ability level, and there are limited spaces available but we will do our best to accommodate drop-ins. The price of the workshop is $40 and includes instruction, vase, and blooms. To register for the workshop please call Derby Farm at 781-643-0842.
Please feel welcome to join us at the reception even if you did not participate in the workshop. Come help us celebrate spring!
Clockwise from top left: Catherine Graffam, Self-Portrait with Two Eggs and a Handkerchief, oil on panel; Nancy Popper, Maid of Orléans, etching, drypoint, and chine-collé; Asia Kepka, Bridget & I: Conversation, c-print; Mary O'Malley, Pollinator Mandala #1, gouache and ink on paper