State of Awareness

Dorothea Van Camp, Frosty Heart, screen printed oil and wax on linen over panel

Dorothea Van CampFrosty Heart, screen printed oil and wax on linen over panel

13FOREST Gallery’s current exhibition State of the Union features paintings, prints and installations by six artists who capture a portion of the confusion, antagonism and alienation that currently define our nation’s political landscape. We are indeed a nation divided. Citizens are turning away from each other along lines of race, income, religion, gender, sexual orientation and other differences that could otherwise be the nation’s source of vitality. It is a situation with a result that makes the problem only worse.

On Saturday, November 4 from 4-6 pm we invite everyone to a special two-part program that outlines our political reality and a means to alter it for the better. Following refreshments, artists taking part in State of the Union will discuss their work as portrayals of the ill of contemporary America. Following them, we will present Baruti KMT-Sisouvong, Director of Cambridge’s Transcendental Meditation Program, who holds that, if there is to be change, it will arise from personal peace, openness to possibilities and ongoing contact with others – particularly people unlike ourselves. This event will be challenging in its political diagnoses and no less so in its appeal to personal action.

 

About the artists:

Andrew Fish studied at the School of Visual Arts, New York and Middlebury College. He lives and works in Somerville, Massachusetts. Fish is interested in depicting and responding to his surroundings as a documenter of contemporary life. As an artist living in an Instagram world, Fish reacts to the ephemeral nature of digital photography by celebrating its popular motifs and rejecting its immediacy.

Joe Keinberger grew up in Hingham, Massachusetts, before attending Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. He now lives in Somerville where he paints and illustrates out of his hidden studio deep below the earth's crust. Keinberger works primarily in ink and acrylic, doing loose ink drawings on top of built up texture of acrylic and assorted dry media.

Ted Ollier is a printmaker and conceptual artist working in Medford, Massachusetts. Ollier teaches letterpress and design through the Harvard Extension School at the Bow & Arrow Press in Cambridge, and  is the Pressmaster of Arbalest Press in Charlestown. Ollier's work is concerned with consensus reality and how it is affected and shaped by data.

Dorothea Van Camp studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and the College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning at the University of Cincinnati. She currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Van Camp focuses on the printed mark in her work, using vector-based computer drawings to suggest the intersection of the body with technology.

James Weinberg is a designer, illustrator, and artist based out of Somerville, Massachusetts. Weinberg creates silkscreen prints inspired by natural history, folk-art, printed ephemera, op-art, and old advertisements. His work has been featured on book jackets, posters, and music packaging. His work has been featured in the AIGA BONE show and 50 Books/50 Covers.

 

About Baruti KMT-Sisouvong:

Baruti and his wife, Mina, serve as co-directors of the Transcendental Meditation Program in Cambridge and the larger metropolitan area of Boston, Mass. He is also the founder of Radical Scholar, Inc., a non-profit educational corporation that brings together information and diverse thinkers to develop critical questioning as well as positive personal and social change. Baruti is the researcher, producer and host of Connecting the Dots (ConnectingtheDots.org), a podcast exploring surprising connections between spirituality, science and world affairs.

After a few years in the corporate environment, including stints with CIGNA and MassMutual, Baruti matriculated at Georgia State University, where he received Bachelor degrees in History and Sociology and served as president of the school’s Black Student Alliance. In 2009, Baruti earned a Master’s degree in Vedic Science, the Science of Consciousness, from Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, where he is now completing his Doctoral dissertation on Mystical Experiences among Early and Modern Freemasons and Rosicrucians. As Baruti continues his research, it is his sincere hope that many will develop a new appreciation for early ideas, idea generators and their associated mystical experiences as valid points of examination and action for continued evolution; both individually and collectively. Baruti may be found on social media at the following locations:

YouTube.com/BarutiKMTSisouvong
Linkedin.com/in/baruti
Facebook.com/baruti
SnapChat: @IAMBaruti
Instagram: @baruti
Twitter: @baruti

Does Anybody Know...Elizabeth Murray?

            On Saturday, October 28, as a part of the 2017 Arlington International Film Festival, 13FOREST Gallery hosted a post-screening reception for the film Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray, featuring a Q&A with the film's director Kristi Zea. Gallery Director Caitee Hoglund gave a short talk before the Q&A that situated Murray's work within the larger context of art history in the second half of the twentieth century. You can read the full text of Hoglund's talk below. 

Caitee Hoglund and Kristi Zea

Caitee Hoglund and Kristi Zea

            After watching the film Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray I did some research on the artist, because in spite of the assertion of its title, until I saw the documentary I did not actually know Elizabeth Murray or her work. In all my years of art history education, she had never been mentioned. I found a review of an exhibition of Murray's work that seemed to encapsulate many of the challenges that Murray faced as an artist, and perhaps explained why I had never heard of her before. The critic categorized Murray as an artist "whose approach is personal and intuitive rather than theoretical or art-historical." In that simple dichotomy, the critic sums up an argument that has been used to marginalize the work of women in the arts since art history began as a discipline. In the hierarchy of "good art," personal and intuitive will always come second to theoretical and art-historical, and how could the work of a woman be anything but feminine, and therefore personal and intuitive?

Jackson Pollock, Lavender Mist, 1950

Jackson Pollock, Lavender Mist, 1950

            Elizabeth Murray came into her career as an artist at a time when painting was a particularly fraught medium. After the domination of Abstract Expressionism in the forties and fifties, when Jackson Pollock's splattered canvases and Mark Rothko's vast color field paintings were considered the pinnacle of theoretical advancement, artists began to turn away from painting completely. The sixties and seventies witnessed an explosion of experimental movements that abandoned the making of precious, individual art objects.
Pop artists like Andy Warhol mass produced images of mass produced goods, while conceptual artists rejected physical objects completely, embracing performance and language-based work. In deciding to become a painter, Murray had to take on the difficult task of re-establishing the medium after it had been whittled away by decades of apathy from critics and theorizers.

Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962

Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962

Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1965

Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1965

Elizabeth Muray, Painter's Progress, 1981

Elizabeth Muray, Painter's Progress, 1981

            Looking at Murray's work, we can see all the ways that she was navigating the complicated history that painting had acquired in recent decades. She began working in the style of Minimalism that was popular after she finished school, but eventually abandoned clean lines and geometry for the organic, balloon-like, colorful forms that would characterize the height of her career. Her work challenged many of the theoretical dichotomies that art historians had imagined for painting; while her work included recognizable household imagery, the images were fragmented and abstracted in ways that often rendered them unrecognizable at first glance. She extended this interest in abstraction to her canvases, disrupting the picture plane with complex, sinuous constructions that supported her vibrant and colorful imagery. The size of her work was monumental, while her subject matter was familiar and personal. Her work exhibits an intense focus on color, shape, and line, while also conveying personal meaning drawn from her own life. Murray's paintings were difficult to categorize because she was crossing well-established boundaries between formalism, humor, and the personal. Her refusal to limit herself to one interest or another made her an incredibly courageous artist, but also subjected her to the gendered criticisms that typically plagued women in the arts.       

          

            By insisting that Murray's work came from a place of intuition rather than intellect, the critic I mentioned earlier reinforced the harmful stereotype that women are primarily emotional, intuitive beings, as opposed to their male counterparts who are dominated by reason and logic. This assessment not only undercuts Murray's education and keen awareness of the historical moment in which she was working, but serves to place her at a permanent disadvantage in the hierarchy of art history. Over and over, reviews of Murray's work insisted upon the femininity of her style and imagery, saying that her depictions of cups and kitchens rendered her work irrevocably female. Murray herself challenged this criticism, arguing that Cezanne, one of the primary influences early in her career, was never accused of being feminine when painting still lives of fruit and dishes, nor was Van Gogh when he painted flowers and babies.

Elizabeth Murray, Dis Pair, 1989-1990

Elizabeth Murray, Dis Pair, 1989-1990

Vincent Van Gogh, A Pair of Shoes, 1885

Vincent Van Gogh, A Pair of Shoes, 1885

            Murray wanted to be seen as more than just a woman artist; she wanted her work to transcend her gender, just as the work of men was not seen as being inherently tied to their gender. However work by a female artist the employs household imagery and personal subject matter was immediately deemed feminine and homey, labels that prevented further critical engagement with the work. Van Gogh's portrait of peasant shoes launched a thousand thought provoking critical essays by art history's greatest minds, but when Elizabeth Murray painted shoes they were seen simply as a woman recreating her own small,  domestic life and nothing more. Despite the way that critics portrayed her work, Murray refused to compromise her artistic interests and create paintings that would be seen as less feminine. Throughout her career and personal life, she displayed an admirable determination to paint and live her life as she saw fit, rejecting the notion that one could not be a woman, mother, and a great painter.

Caitee Hoglund and Kristi Zea next to a print that Elizabeth Murray gifted to Zea for her birthday.

Caitee Hoglund and Kristi Zea next to a print that Elizabeth Murray gifted to Zea for her birthday.

            Kristi Zea's documentary Everybody Knows...Elizabeth Murray does the important work of bringing Elizabeth Murray out of the margins of art history, where she had been placed by critics and historians who refused to see past her gender. Zea and Murray met each other as members a group of female artists who connected in the late eighties to commiserate over the challenges of trying to make art and raise families in a society that did not value the contributions of women in either field. In addition to celebrating Murray's life and career, Zea's film serves to bring Murray into our collective cultural awareness.   

- Caitee Hoglund

In the Presence of Absence

A Cuban-American artist commemorates Día de los Muertos at 13FOREST

Still from the video In the Presence of Absence - Jose Maria & Ike

Schedule of Events

Fri 10/27 - Sat 11 /11In the Presence of Absence window installation at 13FOREST Gallery

Sun 10/29,  4-6:30 pm: In the Presence of Absence opening reception; Capitol Square's annual Día de Los Muertos celebration, activities throughout the square

Wed 11/8, 6-8 pm: In the Presence of Absence: an Exploration of Cultural and Ecological Loss - artist talk with Allison Maria 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. This year, with financial support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, 13FOREST Gallery is pleased to present the work of Cuban-American artist Allison Maria Rodriguez who will commemorate Día de los Muertos with In the Presence of Absence.

In Rodriguez's words, In the Presence of Absence is a multi-channel video installation that explores the personal, yet collective, experience of cultural and ecological loss embedded in contemporary reality. It merges two primary conceptual concerns of her practice: her personal Latinx identity and environmental conservation. Through portrayals of her hybrid Cuban-American identity, deceased family members, extinct animal species and climate change, Rodriguez creates an interdisciplinary installation that navigates between worlds. In doing so, she draws attention to the emptiness we encounter when we are disconnected from our respective cultures and other species, and to the acts of appreciation and mourning that help keep collective memory alive.

Dress included in the installation In the Presence of Absence

On view through Saturday, November 11, 13FOREST Gallery will feature In the Presence of Absence as part of Capitol Square's Day of the Dead celebration on Sunday, October 29, 4-6:30 pm. In addition, the gallery will host a reception and talk by Rodriguez on Wednesday, November 8, 6-8 pm, titled In the Presence of Absence: an Exploration of Ecological and Cultural Loss.

About the Artist
Allison Maria Rodriguez is a Boston-based interdisciplinary artist working predominately in new media, film/video and installation. With themes ranging from human migration to species extinction, her work converges on a desire to understand the space within which language fails and lived experience remains unarticulated. Rodriguez’s work has been exhibited in traditional and non-traditional art spaces internationally, throughout the United States and across New England. Rodriguez's award-winning 16mm experimental film “In Between” premiered in New York City at the NewFilmmakers Spring Festival, and went on to screen in various venues across the country. Her most recent projects include several large-scale public art video installations commissioned by Boston Cyberarts and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

Artist Allison Maria Rodriguez

Rodriguez received her MFA from Tufts University/The School of the Museum of Fine Arts and holds a BA in Language, Literature and Culture from Antioch College in Ohio, obtained also through study at Oxford University in England and Kyoto Seika University in Japan. In addition to being an artist, she is an independent curator of local group exhibitions and screenings, and a participant in artist collectives such as the Boston LGBTQIA Artists Alliance. Rodriguez has also been an artist-in-residence at The Studios at MASS MoCA and, in New York, at Arts Letters & Numbers and The Wassaic Project.  This coming January and March respectively, Rodriguez will be the inaugural artist-in-residence at the Dorchester Art Project and a resident at The Ragdale Foundation.

 

 

 

 

In the Presence of Absence is funded in part by a grant from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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Elsewhere - 13 Paintings by Wilhelm Neusser at the Goethe Institut Boston

On Friday, September 8 at precisely 6 pm the Goethe Institut Boston opened its doors for the public to walk through an installation of 13 large-scale paintings by Wilhelm Neusser. People who knew the artist had been aware of the preparatory work he had undertaken while in residency at MASS MoCA at the beginning of the summer, and then in the solitude of his Somerville studio through the remaining months. But no one had anticipated how the final paintings they were about to see had transformed the Goethe’s interior of ornate ceilings and rococo whiteness into a bright meditation on the spirit of Berlin’s suburban landscape.

ELSEWHERE - provincial perspectives, which will run through September 30, is based on Neusser’s understanding of Berlin as a sexy environment of big politics and avant-garde culture in contrast to its suburbs – the Province – in which buses run irregularly and “the local library is managed by volunteers in their mid-seventies who have trouble with the online catalog.” People are born there, come of age and then move to the city to make their mark on the world, often never to return. With an empathic brush, Neusser defines the Province's melancholia of abandoned swimming pools, vacant hayfields and empty roads without irony or harsh comment. His paintings construct a portrait that is severe, lush and psychologically complex.

During the weeks leading up to his opening at the Goethe Institut, I had visited Neusser in his studio and seen 13 variously sized paper surfaces evolve from an initial state of yellow underpainting to finished works of art. When he said he had been working at the feverish pace of one painting a day I thought he was joking. But he was serious. He also said that when doubt crept in he could sometimes dismiss it by referring back to a cardboard model of the Goethe’s interior that he had built during his residency at MASS MoCA. It was replete with photographic wallpaper of the building’s interior and the dimensions of existing plaster wall frames into which each of his paintings would eventually have to fit. I would leave his studio impressed but nervous over his looming deadline.

After attending the September opening, painter Nicole Duennebier praised her colleague’s preparation and execution as follows: “Wilhelm's perfectly composed paintings fitted within the filigree panels of the Goethe Institut's walls prove the undeniable beauty of difference. Although his paintings are modern in execution and content they look as though they have always lived there.” It is an apt description for the environment Neusser has so painstakingly planned and created.

In terms of stylistic evolution there is something else to be found as well. With this body of large-scale work Neusser has moved the center of what he has previously described as a necessary balance between “the notion of what a landscape really is and reference points to it as a painterly, materialistic appearance on a flat surface.” At the Goethe Neusser's act of painting is recorded onto paper in strokes and thick swipes of paint that had been more typically found in his smaller-scale work. In contrast to the melancholia of the artist's new German landscapes, there is joy in their surfaces, a push/pull between what Neusser depicts and how he has depicted it.

Anyone interested in Neusser, contemporary landscape painting or the Goethe Institut should visit ELSEWHERE - provincial perspectives before it closes on September 30 and before the institute itself closes for renovations through the fall. Neusser has transformed an environment of ornamentation into one of meditation and meaning.

- Jim Kiely

 

All photos used with permission of the artist.

Call for Proposals

DoD residency combo_FLAT.jpg

DEADLINE:
September 15, 2017

EXHIBITION DATES:
October 27 – November 4, 2017

LOCATION:
13FOREST Gallery, 167A Massachusetts Ave, Arlington MA

 

 

 

ABOUT:
13FOREST Gallery seeks a Boston-area Latinx artist to create a temporary window installation at 13FOREST, timed to coincide with National Hispanic Heritage Month and Capitol Square’s annual celebration of Day of the Dead. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated throughout Mexico and beyond with lively and colorful traditions that honor departed loved ones. This project endeavors to celebrate the cultural significance of Latinx artists and their histories, which are underrepresented in Boston-area institutions. In conjunction with the artist, 13FOREST will design and implement programming around the installation to advance public education and engagement.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency. The artist will be awarded a cash stipend of $450. 

Michelle Garcia, Dia de los Muertos Installation 2015

Michelle Garcia, Dia de los Muertos Installation 2015

PLEASE NOTE
– Artwork may be from a variety of disciplines, but must include a physical component to be installed in the window of the gallery.
– Performance art will be considered as a component of the installation. There may be some limitations based on gallery hours, physical space, or other factors.
– Artwork must fit in the window display space, the footprint of which is approximately 41" by 41".
– Artists are responsible for transporting work to and from the gallery.

 HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR WORK:
– Please write an installation proposal no longer than two pages, preferably including example images or sketches.
– Include examples of previous work, submitted as JPEGs (maximum of 5 images).
– Each JPEG should be named as “NAME_#.jpg” where # is the submission number and NAME is your last name.
– Include an image list in your submission email, indicating submission number, title, size, process, and year.
– Please include a short biography, website links, resume/CV, and contact email address.
– Send submissions to Caitee Hoglund, Gallery Director, at caitee@13forest.com.

 CALENDAR:
• Deadline for entries: September 15, 2017
• Notification: September 29, 2017
• Artwork installation: October 25 and 26, 2017
• Exhibition dates: October 27 - November 4, 2017
• Opening Reception: Sunday October 29, 2017, 4-6 pm
• Artist Talk and other events: To be scheduled

 
Dimel Rivas, Dia de los Muertos Installation 2016

Dimel Rivas, Dia de los Muertos Installation 2016

 

 ABOUT THE GALLERY:
13FOREST Gallery searches New England for outstanding artists - established and emerging - to offer the very best in original art and contemporary craft. We are a dynamic gallery space that features rotating exhibitions every 6 to 8 weeks, as well as a number of public programs designed to inform and inspire creative minds.

Reflecting on Transition of Power: 2017

Although the transition of power to the new administration is officially complete, there are many questions and frustrations still lingering since the inauguration in January. 

In the face of this uncertainty, our recent exhibition, Transition of Power: 2017, has served as a catalyst for some important conversations about the nature of activism and the future of democracy in America. Over the course of the exhibition, which ran from January 21 to March 11, many members of our community came to the gallery to voice their opinions and fears about our current political situation. We greatly appreciated the stories and perspectives that these exchanges contributed to this exhibition. Although Transition of Power: 2017 closed last week, we hope that visitors to the gallery will continue to add to the community we have developed here.

Jessie Rossman and Carl D'Apolito-Dworkin speaking at 13FOREST Gallery on February 25.

Jessie Rossman and Carl D'Apolito-Dworkin speaking at 13FOREST Gallery on February 25.

Community was one of the central themes of a talk on Saturday, February 25 given by Jessie Rossman, staff attorney for the ACLU of Massachusetts, and architect Carl D’Apolito-Dworkin, as part of our programming for Transition of Power: 2017. Rossman and D’Apolito-Dworkin engaged everyone in the overflow crowd with their insight and passion; their spirited talk was certainly one of the highlights of the exhibition.

Rossman began by providing some helpful perspective. Although we now see oppression in every part of our lives, from airport detentions to bathroom bills and the restrictions on media access, Rossman reminded us that resistance can become a part of our daily lives as well; we can find ways to protest with our everyday actions. Rossman spoke about the many stages of involvement that we can have in federal, state, and local governments. Each level of government offers unique opportunities to speak out, protest, and organize.

Ted Ollier, Pernicious Nostalgia, letterpress on paper

Ted OllierPernicious Nostalgia, letterpress on paper

At the state level, Rossman emphasized the importance and pride of Massachusetts becoming a leader for the rest of the country. One example she provided was the legislative fight over ICE detainers, which are written requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that require law enforcement agencies to hold people without providing due process so that ICE can begin the deportation process. The ACLU in Massachusetts is arguing that these ICE detainers violate the state constitution because they prevent the ACLU from being able to give their clients the best legal representation they can provide due to the threat of deportation. Hopefully Massachusetts will be able to continue to be a leader in civil rights for the rest of the nation by fighting these harmful immigration holds, regardless of the federal precedent.

Beyond specific cases, Rossman emphasized the importance of getting involved in local government and local communities. One way that local government can stand up to President Trump’s executive orders on immigration is to become a sanctuary city. Currently Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Newton are sanctuary cities, and Arlington is considering the measure as well. According to Rossman, becoming a sanctuary city sends an important message that we as a community value the safety and contributions of immigrants and refugees.    

Above all, Rossman reminded us that the most important thing to do is simply to show up and be present. The sheer number of people who protested the first travel ban issued on January 27 demonstrated how strongly that ban violated our core principles as Americans, and gave force to the court decisions that halted the executive order. We must continue to stand together as a community and voice our passionate dissent when we feel an oppressive government attempts to restrict our civil rights.

D’Apolito-Dworkin continued the talk by speaking about the increasing importance of politics and community in the realm of art and architecture. Although traditionally architecture has been primarily concerned with design elements such as light, form, and space, it is becoming increasingly hard to ignore the impact that architecture has on politics and protest. Many architects are shifting away from older modes of thinking that insist on a separation between art and political engagement. D’Apolito-Dworkin asserted that architecture is art that plays out in the political realm: it provides the civic space that we use for protest.   

D’Apolito-Dworkin offered numerous examples of architects who are finding new ways to bring communities together through architectural design. He cited architect Teddy Cruz, who believes that citizenship is not simply belonging to a particular nation-state, but rather the creative act of investing in the community. The Breathing Lights project is one example of a creative community endeavor that sought to reinvigorate cities through artistic collaboration. The project involved lighting the windows of abandoned structures in Albany, Schenectady, and Troy, New York, literally bringing light and warmth to forgotten places in those communities.

Asia Kepka, In Memory of Goshka #1, archival inkjet print of digital photograph on metal

Asia KepkaIn Memory of Goshka #1, archival inkjet print of digital photograph on metal

Architect Alejandro Aravena made another powerful political statement through his installation at the 2016 Venice Biennale. He constructed the entrance rooms to the annual art fair entirely out of waste materials from previous biennales. Aravena’s entrance rooms drew attention to the amount of waste that the biennales generate, and successfully used architecture to make a political statement about how to thoughtfully use building materials in order to generate less waste. Through these examples and many others, D’Apolito-Dworkin demonstrated that architecture is becoming more politically-minded and community-focused.

Rossman and D’Apolito-Dworkin showed us the many ways that we can invest in and contribute to our communities through art and political engagement. We hope that Transition of Power: 2017 helped to expand and strengthen the important dialogues that we must have as a society so that we can continue to defend our rights and the rights of those less privileged than us. Transition of Power: 2017 highlighted a range of political perspectives, demonstrating the myriad ways that Trump’s administration affects us and our communities:

Transition of Power: 2017 at 13FOREST Gallery

Transition of Power: 2017 at 13FOREST Gallery

Asia Kepka’s work exposed the grief and suffering brought by insufficient health care, while Dimel Rivas offered a pointed critique of President Trump’s assertion that he would “drain the swamp.” Ted Ollier focused on the hard facts of the election, visualizing the exact difference between votes for Trump and Clinton in the popular vote. While eBay’s darkly humorous take on Trump’s relationship with Putin is difficult to misconstrue, John Campbell offered a more allegorical take on politics through his representation of Sisyphus and the Ship of Fools. Transition of Power: 2017 was our small act of resistance in response to the shock of the 2016 election. We hope that you will also find ways to resist yourself and with your community.