Part studio, part lounge, part home, but mostly gallery, The Fresh Collective at 93 Sheridan St. in Jamaica Plain has found a way to subvert art scene norms, and build a bridge over the moat that seems to separate the established exhibition gallery venues of Boston from their own home grown contemporary culture.
In their Saturday salon exhibition, “Where Have All the Dinosaurs Gone?” over 20 different artists exhibited work accompanied by live jazz and DJ Star Trakk. Some of the most compelling work incorporated cultural references relevant to the contemporary urban culture and the artists themselves: A cubist inspired painting of Nefertiti-esque head with pieces of Marge Simpson’s features jigsaw puzzled in the space of her face and an iPod knit out of wool, both by multimedia artist Pat Peltier, new scenes from the ink and pen comic strip, “The Shrimps” by French cartoonist Alize De Pin, and a black and white acrylic painting of Chewbacca on a naked, busty woman’s body by Rob Walton all stand out.
Many of the pieces use a language not heard frequently in the esteemed galleries of the city or perhaps not spoken as fluently by more established, exhibited Boston artists. The Fresh Collective gives voice to a younger generation of artists looking to see something of themselves reflected in the Boston art scene.
The collective, comprised of ceramists, painters, cartoonists, and textile designers just to name a few, cleared any trace of their having inhabited the space as a home and put on a show that continues at Fresh Collective through August 30th. The Fresh Collective hosts a basement show Wednesday August 29th from 7-10 featuring local bands, Saralee, Gero & Ide, The Needy Visions and The Carters and moves thevisual exhibition to Ula Café on August 31st. While the members of the collective rotates, some of the atmosphere is derived from the effects from the Mass Art students who have been renting the space for the past 10 years still remain.
In the a large studio space of about 1600 square feet spanning the ground level of the three story building where many of the artists live, you’ll see a silk screening station, a wall of shared supplies but most importantly – a long work table at which these young, motivated, contemporary Boston artists are building their own bridge over that moat. Taking matters into their own hands- the collective has developed a space in which these artists can work and live together, helping each other to create, and yes, sell their own work.
One year ago, collective member Pat Peltier started the trike bike Fresh Cart. He and the other members of the collective load a bike (that looks like it might vend hot dogs) with work incubated in Boston’s underground urban art hearths and bring it back down to the city’s streets for sale. Like an epoxy to the Fresh Collective, the cart brought the artists together and like cells in a petri-dish a culture has emerged.
An opening one might expect to draw strictly 20 somethings with neck tats drinking Pabst was in fact heavily attended by an older crew of art enthusiasts, eyes wider than most on Sunday afternoon in the Linde family wing at the MFA. Maybe that’s because it felt like a legitimate invite to a party at your kid’s dorm, or just because of the thrill you get when you get the chance to walk into the heart of an artistic space more intimate than any major Boston gallery.
Projecting it out and reflecting it back, Fresh Collective is a bright light for the future of contemporary Boston.
DIY and go check it out while it’s still up: Wednesday 7-10 you can see it and hear it. Four Bands play sets in the studio space. Bands include: Saralee, Gero & Ide, The Needy Visions and The Carters.