By Puloma Ghosh
Boston, MA — The Boston Sculptors Gallery’s current exhibit, “Ovid’s Girls: Boston/Berlin,” is striking at first glance in the variety of technique and form displayed by its artists. Each piece invokes Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” in its ability to take any material and transform it into a unique form that makes you almost forget its original structure. It also represents the journey of the artist’s soul and how it is transformed by every piece, and how every artist takes that same journey, whether in Berlin or Boston.
The exhibit is a collection of work by 12 women, half from Boston and half from Berlin. Several years ago, curator Anette Schwarz, who has spent many years traveling between Germany and the United States, stumbled upon the Boston Sculptors Gallery. “I was struck by the similarities between the sculpture I saw here and the sculpture I had seen in my time in Germany,” she said. As a result, she conceived this exhibit to showcase the overlapping and innovative ideas and brought together the artists that make up “Ovid’s Girls.”
Many of the pieces use everyday materials shaped into artwork, remodeling them beyond the forms we are accustomed to seeing. Anke Ellergerhard’s “Kitchenqueen international” are not, at first, recognizable beyond being colorful little sculptures. Upon closer examination, however, the contours and nozzles of everyday cleaning supplies begin to emerge. Each bottle of cleaning fluid is covered in a layer of silicone rosets, like icing on a cake. The delicate work changes the objects with a very simple but effective technique.
Michelle Lougee’s “Dinoflagellate” requires a double take to fully realize its material. What at first seems like a large, round basket, is actually comprised of woven plastic bags. Lougee was inspired by the harm plastic bags do to marine life. “I did a series of recognizable marine life, such as the octopus, and then began to work on microscopic creatures that take a more abstract shape,” she said.
The piece, which she estimates is made up of about 500 plastic bags, although appearing abstract at first glance, is actually a large-scale model of the microscopic dinoflagellate, as the title indicates. The large, deliberate shape created by this time-intensive process shows Lougee’s dedication to her craft and her cause.
Alexandra Deutsch’s “Raices Negras” also draws inspiration from nature. From the black textile head of the piece hangs long, pink tipped tendrils. While at first it gives the appearance of a tentacled creature of sorts, the way the tendrils hang until the drag on the ground soon give the appearance of leaves. “When I was in South America, in the villages there were trees and nature everywhere,” she reminisced. The sculpture, inspired by the hanging vines and deep roots of the foliage she had seen on her travels in South America, can also be used as a performance piece, with a dancer weaving through its vines.
The journey of each technique and material featured by the work at “Ovid’s Girls” brings the pieces together. The atmosphere is open and inquisitive, each artist having a unique story to tell about how she transformed her work.
(“Ovid’s Girls: Boston/Berlin” is on display through August 3 at the Boston Sculptors Gallery, 486 Harrison Ave, Boston. The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. It will also be open for this month’s First Friday on July 11 from 5-8 p.m. For more information, call (617) 482-7781. A smaller, coinciding exhibition, “Ovid’s Girls Micro: Boston/Berlin, is on view through July 26 at Gallery Kayafas, 450 Harrison Ave., Boston.)