THE NEW ENGLAND COLLECTIVE IV
Galatea Fine Art, Boston, MA
August 1st- August 28th
by Marjorie Kaye
Although the jurors for this exhibition did not follow a theme consciously, there are themes that run through the exhibition. They became apparent as the show was being prepared for hanging. One of these themes is in relation to the aspect of urban neighborhood; it is the experience of transforming this environment or reacting to it. This is apparent in Tom Acevedo’s painting “Leaving Paradise.” This self-portrait is indicative of the abandonment of a personal Eden, perhaps echoing the notion leaving behind innocence as one adjusts to the realities of existence. However, upon perceiving the painting more closely, one gets the idea that the subject could be climbing back into the picture frame, entering once more this paradise, symbolizing the cycle of birth and re-birth.
The jurors also selected a large body of atmospheric, abstracted, textural paintings, which also speak of the perception of the human experience. Many of these paintings present portals, transitioning back and forth along the surface and deep within as well.
Boston and New England have a peculiar pulse when it comes to its unique representation of art and artists in the area, beyond the traditional and into the progressive. It is rooted in a unique character forged from the region’s history, places of higher learning, tough spirit and the indefatigability of its inhabitants. The New England Collective IV is a selection of works reflecting the energy of its heritage.
“We approached reviewing the 337 entries for “New England Collective IV” the same way we begin the process of reviewing our coverage options in planning each issue of ArtScope: We searched for work that looked and felt fresh, interesting and well-done as well as work that told a story and had the feel of the subjects and locations it portrayed. As we go through hundreds, if not thousands of images in a given week, it upped the ante in works needing that something special, something unique, something spectacular quality to be selected…
Some insight into what went into consideration during our selection process:
Whether the work is a detailed drawing of an ewe (Cheryl Polcaro’s “Ewe”, a painting of coins (Tess Barbato’s oil on canvas “$4.20”), a well-compositioned photograph reflecting current events of a soldier back home alone in the woods at night (Alejandra Carles-Toira’s “Thomas in the Woods” archival pigment print), or a quick but sturdy study of a plane (Christine Goodwin’s ink on paper “Plane in Flight, Study #1”), accompanied with the artist’s observing or rendering of the subject — everyday or unique, its message — secret or mundane; it is that the work selected deeply communicates with the viewer — and in the communication instantly invokes the movement or stillness of the observer and the observed, transforming into an immediate awareness of our lives, the ultimate process of art reflecting life. — Kaveh Mojtabai
While we weren’t given a specific theme for curating this show, along with selecting my favorite overall works in a series of genres, I chose a series of works that I felt captured the feel of the Back Bay/SoWa neighborhood. The idea originated in Beverly Rippel’s oil on canvas “The Pru Skyline (from #401 @450 Harrison)” painting, which I first saw just after the Boston Marathon bombings and felt like it captured an area we may never see the same way again. It’s perfectly complemented by Zsuzsanna Donnell’s “Distraction,” an abstract acrylic painting with a multi-layered feel of a hot, hazy summer day amongst cold concrete, endless buildings and big city apartments interspersed with minimal, but passion pulling colors.- Brian Goslow