By Puloma Ghosh
Boston, MA – For 12 nights a year, eight New England artists come together to share in an evening of creative dialogue. Currently at the Boston Sculptors Gallery, these artists have collected to show the work that they have critiqued and collaborated on during those evenings in “Twelve Nights.” Going up the little flight of stairs into the gallery, the first thing one is greeted with is a board of sketches and notes by the artists. Those little scratches planted the seeds for the evolution and transformation of ideas into artwork.
One of the small pieces of paper tacked onto the wall by the entrance is a plain white sheet eight-and-a-half by 11-inch sheet with straight lines of color streaking diagonally across it. Todd Antonellis did this little sketch some evening past. Entering the gallery, we are met with a large high definition monitor full of vibrant, streaking colors in motion, all over the screen.
This “Light Beams” video series by François-Xavier de Costerd is heavily edited video of traffic beams, part of a series that de Costerd had been working on for the past six months. The beams dance back and forth through the screen, mesmerizing the viewer with its patterns. The video takes the raw feeling behind Antonellis’ little sketch, and transforms it beyond its initial premise into a fully developed work of art.
“The premise of this show is to demonstrate what happens to eight artists working independently but giving feedback to each other,” Antonellis explained. “This came out of a topic we were talking about in connections and light and movement.” He gestured towards the drawing that inspired de Costerd.
The connections between the artists flow easily through the gallery. No two pieces are the same, but many carry similar undertones and feelings. The eye makes an easy transition from de Costerd’s light beams to one of Liz Shepherd’s three wooden Ferris wheels, which have beams silkscreened in different bright colors. The theme of movement and weightlessness carries to the pattern of birds also printed on each Ferris wheel.
The vitality present in all of the work is represented quite literally by Leah Gauthier’s small sculptures that have woven elements and living plants potted into them. The pieces, such as “2456714.01616, Some Bring Gifts,” which has live succulent planted within it, are all made completely from natural matter Gauthier collected. They all carry on the conversation about connections with the way each portion of the sculpture is delicately woven to the other.
Like Gauthier, many of the artists were inspired in some way to work with the materials they had in front of them, and Kelly Anona Kerrigan, when trying to make a shift in her artwork, began painting on top of dance magazines she had. The resulting body of work consists of small-scale paintings of surreal dancers. Some parts of them have human features, while other portions are objects and animals. Yet, regardless of what the dancer’s limbs are made of, the idea of movement is carried throughout. Each figure transcends its two-dimensional, still medium by projecting its own inner sense of motion.
Creating motion from stillness is something Stephanie Cardon explores successfully through overlapping pattern in her three-dimensional pieces. Cardon uses layered fibers to tease the eye so that an illusion of movement is created when one looks through the planes. “Lyre,” two parallel rows of yellow threads held stiff by cinderblocks, at first seems perfectly suspended in stillness. However, as one walks around the piece, looking through the parallel threads, the whole piece begins to vibrate for the viewer’s eyes. Although Cardon has an extensive background in photography, her current work looks explore the concepts of space and composition explored in photography in the more tangible dimension of sculpture.
As one continues to walk through the gallery, these subtle connections between the works pop up like thin threads tying the whole exhibit together. “Twelve Nights” is an intriguing display of what can happen with a group of artists get together and discuss their work, and the ways in which they can swap ideas and enhance their art.
(“Twelve Nights” continues through August 24 at the Boston Sculptors Gallery, 486 Harrison Ave, Boston; the gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon-6 p.m. For more information, call (617) 482-7781.)