For its ninth annual juried show, “New England Collective IX,” Galatea Fine Art, located in the heart of Boston’s SOWA District, enlisted the expertise of Marni Elyse Katz to jury the show. The show features over 50 artists including Bredt Handy, Elizabeth Pogor and Laura Fischman.
Katz is a freelance design journalist, a consultant and an art curator that sources art for private collectors; she is the main blogger for stylecarrot.com and is a contributor to The Boston Globe, Design New England and Boston Home. In this exhibition, Katz does a stellar job of selecting pieces that are not only strong in their own right, but are complementary to the other works hanging on the walls of the gallery.
In this exhibition, one can observe that Katz was drawn to works that are slight abstractions on everyday objects and scenes. Each piece deals with subject matter tied to daily life, but adds an element of abstraction and whimsy to it, in one way or another.
Fischman’s “(Un)Still Life” is a painting of what appears to be some pears. However, it is difficult to identify this at first because she painted the still life as if the pears were moving and made to look blurry and out of focus. This approach allows Fischman to take a new approach to the tried and true process of painting fruit. The title adds an element of humor to her painting. Instead of it being an act of rebellion and irony, the viewer is able to interpret it as a tongue-in-cheek way of reimagining what a still life painting can be.
Another example of this abstraction on the everyday imagery is Pogor’s piece, “Morning View.” This oil painting appears to be of an outdoor scene with a couple of lone birch trees in the foreground. The rest of the image is hard to make out because of the artist’s decision to allow the colors and shapes to almost melt and fade into each other. However, after studying this painting, Pogor’s reasoning behind this artistic choice is fairly evident. When one arises from bed, their vision can be a bit blurry because their eyes are still adjusting to the flourishes of light. This painting was Pogor’s way of truly mimicking and portraying what someone sees when they first wake up. Not just seen, but the way in which a person would naturally experience it.
A great compliment to “Morning View” is Handy’s “Trace.” This acrylic painting appears to be an abstraction of a field of grass and other plants. Handy takes the opportunity to create a truly immersive experience in his depiction of a field of grass blowing in the wind. The strokes that represent the grass and other plants are intertwining and bent as if they are being pushed around by a gust of wind, allowing the viewer to imagine feeling that breeze while surrounded by a grassy environment.
Despite the numerous amounts of submissions, Katz was able to successfully curate an exhibition with strong and cohesive work. The experience of walking through this show is met with great ease and one can expect beautiful and challenging pieces throughout the gallery.
(New England Collective IX is on view from August 1 through September 2, 2018 at Galatea Fine Art, 460 Harrison Ave, #B-6, Boston, Massachusetts. The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon-5 p.m.; for more information, call (617) 542-1500.)