Looking out onto the water where sailboats glide towards the Boston skyline, lies ClipArt Gallery, tucked away in the new luxury Clippership apartments and condos of East Boston. Its debut exhibit, “East Boston: Present Tense,” curated by Marjorie Kaye, the founder of Galatea Fine Art in Boston, showcases juried work from East Boston artists in a small space, where “a variety of different mediums are represented.” Currently open exclusively to residents and viewable by the public on Saturdays, ClipArt Gallery invites guests to escape into the art, away from the bustling city in the distance.
A patchwork of collaged earthy oranges, greens and blues coalesce in Dominick Takis’s “Picasso’s Byzantined Brains,” the first artwork to greet viewers. The 40” x 40” work is a maze for the eyes as they get lost in the rough textures, colored tiles and cut-outs of faces, inspired by Picasso’s Cubism works. Takis utilizes lichen in this work, a plant where fungus grows around the algae and is symbiotically fed. He finds this relationship metaphorical in essence because lichen “create their own existence, yet are attached,” similar to his Sicilian ancestral roots. The “Byzantined” title also draws upon the Byzantine Empire’s legacy of preserving Greek and Roman culture. This historical and natural element runs through the artwork as the tiles could represent little windows of homes or buildings, but they remain connected through the constant of lichen and twigs decorating the border of the piece.
“Glove Globe” by B. Amore tells a unique, yet similar story with its bronze cold cast gloves fastened to a raised circle among stipplings of navy blue and white in the background. This piece, a part of Amore’s Street Calligraphies series, questions the gloves’ histories and who they belonged to, but nevertheless, they rest together on the circle, expressing the connectedness of individuals on earth. The gloves all show different hand positions as if stopped in time. Some are crumpled, some have bent fingers, and the glove in the center has all fingers confidently outstretched. The work gloves add dimension and texture to an otherwise barren surface, a ball floating in space, surrounded by the universe.
Bo Petran’s “Bohemia Lies in the Sea #46” explodes with white bold blue color, almost resembling layered pansy petals. The more guests observe this piece, the more they can see the almost watercolor effect of blue merging into white and the bubbling that all relates back to the aquatic title and suits the waterfront gallery. “Bohemia” embodies the wandering freedom of the colors inside the black frame. The encaustic medium Petran chose to apply utilizes hot wax mixed with pigment and curator Kaye explains that this is an ancient medium, dating back to the Egyptians, who created Fayum mummy portraits with wax. Though this piece is more abstract, it links with an underlying theme seen in many of the exhibit’s works, which is that of interconnectedness of all humans, despite location or time period.
Two outdoor steel sculptures are also displayed on the property. including Volkan Alkanoglu’s Islands, “inspired by the historic transition of five natural islands (Noddles, Hogg, Apple, Bird and Governors Island) into a manufactured peninsula which is now known to us as East Boston,” connected by “dirt and landfill,” he explained. The ever-changing tubes on which the islands attach to rotate with a transformational energy.
(“East Boston: Present Tense” remains on view through January 2020 at ClipArt Gallery, 65 Lewis Street, East Boston, Massachusetts. After this exhibition, the gallery will hold a photography exhibition with the theme of water).