A variety of art from over 200 artists resides in SOWA, the South End’s art district and this sunny weekend, the artists open their doors for an excursion that the whole family can experience. Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm marks the start of the fall season of open studios, where visitors can wander through old factory buildings which have been renovated into artists’ studios. This is a unique event to meet artists behind their craft, whether it be painting, wire art, jewelry making, or repurposed natural materials. Visitors can observe artists in their creative environments and discover the process of a piece’s creation or purchase a piece that speaks to them.
In studio 219 of 450 Harrison Ave, Ann Strassman, displays realistic acrylic paintings on corrugated cardboard that reflect everyday portraits of street life. She recycles cardboard in her own way in her wide open studio by giving the people in her paintings new life and envelops their character through each wrinkle and gesture. Each artwork displays an entire story read through Ann’s careful brush strokes. Her artistic process involves photographing individuals on the street without them knowing. This captures their natural state and Ann explains that they will “lose their body language” right away if she were to interact. In “Soho XV,” for instance, two men sit on the edge of a metal rim while dressed similarly in black jackets, blue jeans, and brown combat boots. Still, readers can ponder their unique stories through small differences like the talking man’s black bomber jacket compared to the other man’s fleece-collared pullover and how the piece is cut in half, but arranged together.
In studio 314, Paul Pedulla, whose art appears on the open studios pamphlet, showcases his acrylic paintings of seaside landscapes, beach houses, and curved roads leading to the horizon. In “Curve Left,” a new 6” x 36” piece he just hung up, the two yellow lines of the road curve as grass covers the ground on each side of the pavement and the airy blue sky accounts for more than half of the canvas. His artwork adds a summery, nostalgic feel to any space. Visitors can recall summer road trips, a vacation home, or time spent in nature. Blue skies fill the expanse, even in “Shotgun with Yellow Door,” where the windows frame the sky within them. Paul’s art travels to the homes of people from Maine to Germany, acting as a connection to a memory, a breath of fresh air.
A few blocks down in studio 15c at 59 Wareham St, Luanne Witkowski invites visitors to view her abstract artworks inspired by nature and incorporating natural materials like wood and clay that she gathers herself. Luanne utilized clay in “Immersion” to create a paper-like texture of uneven lines and spaces of blues, yellows, and earth tones. Though the piece remains abstract, viewers’ minds can explore their own associations with the artwork such as the blue representing a body of water and a vast field in the foreground. The textures on the surface also add life to each piece with all the ridges and valleys in the clay medium. Her creative process is one of observation and taking time to be present with nature, which translates into viewers telling their own recollections of nature.
Visit SOWA’s Open Studios this weekend to recharge by admiring art from some of Boston’s established artists and their working process.