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Brittany Marcoux, The Birthday Tape, archival inkjet print, 15” x 19”.

Brittany Marcoux, The Birthday Tape, archival inkjet print, 15” x 19”.


by Franklin W. Liu

Cambridge, Mass. – Regardless of the prevailing generational societal values we identify with, is there an artist’s natural inclination to negate what came before in producing art that will be seen as a significant departure from previous generations’ work?

The Cambridge Art Association (CAA) ponders these social dynamics when presenting the works of a select group of emerging artists aged 18 to 30 years old in its first exhibition of 2016, “30. Below.”

Twenty-five artists were selected from a total of 150 artworks submitted for CAA’s consideration in what is CAA’s first emerging-artist exhibition bracketed by age category. Tinti was especially excited about “the breadth and diversity of eclectic materials, media and motiva- tions of the submissions,” and was further impressed by numerous works in which the artist sought to experiment and to push the established boundaries in art.

Kristi Beisecker’s “Olivo,” a black and white 22” x 28” photographic image, is stark and intriguing. A stand-alone image that challenges viewers to make sense of what they are seeing, it appears to be time-lapsed in motion with light bursting in multiple directions. A bit organic, a bit alien, floating in a void of darkness, she pushes the limits of traditional print photography.

In a striking departure from Beisecker’s abstract image, Anthony Febo’s, “The Patriot Act” is a literal commentary on Good battling Evil.

This 16” x 20” digital print is part of Febo’s series “Captain America vs. The Universe.” The image shows a plastic toy figure of the beloved patriotic supersoldier, Captain America, resplendent head to toe in his familiar American flag motif: blue form-fitting body suit with a white five-point star centered on his muscular chest, the indestructible shield, red boots and gloves topped off with a black eye mask. Captain America is just as you remember him from your own childhood reading Marvel Comics and playing with the tiny plastic action figure, when you imagined being whisked away to some distant locale where evil must be confronted and destroyed.

In Febo’s digital print image, Captain America has vanquished an enemy who lies dead on his back at the superhero’s feet. This scene is set on the life-sized tray of a child’s high chair, allowing the viewer to momentarily regress to his own childhood sitting and playing in that high chair. This is quite the nostalgic image, effectively triggering a stroll down memory lane; memories and connections to our own past are made, where a black-and-white world kept in abeyance any nuanced under- standing of morality and ethics until our eyes become wide open in adulthood.

In a similar vein, happy memories of joyous birthday celebrations as captured on a videocassette tape are recounted by artist Brittany Marcoux on “The Birthday Tape,” a 15” x 19” archival inkjet print. The notion is that happy days may be preserved and rewound and relived whenever we want. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if happiness could be summoned instantaneously at our fingertips? Alas, we all know that happiness cannot be stored in a corked bottle any more than clouds in the sky can be leashed, but delightful ethereal musings are, in fact, everyone’s privilege; all it takes is imagination.

“Could Cloud 3,” Christopher Abrams’ 7” x 5” x 4” sculpture, is composed of copper, wire and styrene plastic. The color of the cloud is a dark shade of navy blue that might be alarming if it were actually seen in the sky; large bubbles and ripples spread out and rest on semi-circular wire supports. The viewer is invited to ponder what they are seeing, including the meaning of the sculpture’s beguiling title, “Could Cloud 3.”

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