Sunday, October 19, 2008

Open Studios: Fort Point

On Saturday the Fort Point Artist Community had an open studios event. They have a large, brick building near the Fort Point Channel with a great view of downtown. It had a vaguely winding interior layout so I felt like around any corner I could find another artist.

It was my first time ever going to one, and I was a little nervous but really enjoyed it. For those of you who haven't heard of this, open studios events are when a group of artists in a certain area organize a free showing of their works inside their studios. This gives them a chance to share their art without gallery liaison, focusing on whichever they choose to exhibit and sometimes including in-progress pieces as well. It's pretty laid back; you can look around quietly or interact with and question the artists (I shyly opted for the former). Some people had free food and drink (lots of Halloween candy!), and some economically-savvy girls were selling baked goods in the hallway. Open Studios take place in cities all over, so if get a chance look for events in your area.

My first stop was to see my drawing professor, Bob Siegelman. He works in different media, first showcasing large abstract prints with beautiful colors and a mesh of twisty splotchy lines. Then on to small ink-and-oil paintings with evocative atmospheres. Sorry, I have no pictures of these.

He also works in photography, trying to "express the need gay men often feel to create a sense of identity, within one's self and culture." They often focus on graphic sexual imagery, but the graininess of the shots lends them a certain softness.

I popped by the studio of Linda Huey, whose gorgeous, organic sculpture caught my eye from the hallway. She has small- and medium-sized pieces that draw from natural, floral forms thematically influenced by "the relationship between growth and decay". Many of her pieces are intended to be in gardens, shown by accompanying photographs of them within different leafy locations. Many of them had an almost alien feel, due to the larger-than-life bulbs and glossy vibrant colors.

Painter Dan Osterman has lovely, expressive landscapes of beaches and mountains. His slightly abstracted viewpoint and free linework make for very striking images. He also had this awesome spinning metallic sculpture hanging from his ceiling that I found fairly mesmerizing.

Bruce Rogovin creates surrealistic self-portraits by repeating his body multiple times in one image. My favorite was one of him sitting on a couch in a rather dank living room, with several nude, translucent versions of him placed around the room. It was sort of Sandy Sklogund-ish, with that suggestion of parallel dimensions. Of course I could find no pictures of them, I'm sorry, but keep an eye on him I guess and hopefully he'll put some on his website.

Bubble World! Martin Berinstein takes bubbles and fluid movement as his inspirations, photographing the effects of dyes and air in liquid mediums. Their extreme close-up compositions make for detailed, intriguing images.
His series "Air, Water and Dyes" was put on large display, as well as a mix of other works, with several focusing on spheres.

Though Laura Davidson works in a variety of media, most of her pieces on display all took a travel theme as the subject. Upon entering a wooden case with many little shelves hanging on the wall caught my eye. It featured little wooden birds and small objects scattered throughout, reminiscent of a Joseph Cornell assemblage but more twee. She had lovely small mosaics of buildings and ancient pottery in etched copper frames.

Her main output seemed to be hand-made books and cut-paper tableaus, or "tunnel books". One book I flipped through, called Mapping My World, Buildings and Bridges, illustrated various places she'd visited. It had hand-drawn maps and pop-up bridges sprawled across almost every page, along with icons of monuments and found vintage stamps.

The tableaus were multi-layered in the way of Dali's Little Theater. Laura was probably my favourite of the artists I visited; the love and attention she put into every piece was to me very apparent, so I could not help but love it too.

The last leg of this artistic journey was a visit to Lenore Tenenblatt's studio, within which I saw wonders done with wood and paint. Her assemblage-like sculptures are full of texture and depth, with interesting shapes and interplay of color. They seemed to have a comfortable familiarity that istantly drew me in, probably due to the materials she uses.

She works with both wall-mounted pieces as well as freestanding. She had some photography and painting on display as well, but I was mostly focused on the sculpture. Also the room smelled like chicken soup. Mmmm.

Other artists I checked out were bookmakers Mary McCarthy and Philip Manna and painter Caroline Muir. I picked up a pile of artist post cards, so all in all a day well spent! If you're in the Boston area, keep an eye out on these artists for future exhibitions. They're having a group show until October 24 in their gallery. Several of the Fort Point artists also teach and run workshops at the Fort Point Studio School.

No comments: