An annual tradition upended by a move to a new home on the Framingham Center Common, an April 2018 merger with Framingham State University and a worldwide pandemic, the 2022 return of the Danforth Annual Juried Exhibition is much needed both as a place where artists can show their work and as a place for both artists and art lovers to get out and see each other again.
Featuring 72 works by 72 artists, the show was juried by Jessica Roscio, director and curator of the Danforth; Brian Bishop, professor of art at Framingham State University; and Juliet Feibel, executive director of ArtsWorcester. Most of the entries came from Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The show is a diverse collection of artists and styles that took three days to install until it had the right feel, so it’s only right to give installers Tim Johnson and Frank Graham a shout-out, because the end result is an exhibition that feels like at least a dozen smaller shows thanks to the assemblage of the works, either right next to each other or in approximate view.
A few stood out immediately.
Joe Landry’s mixed media construction piece, “Hotel Beavclair,” pulls you right into its well-detailed miniature world with a frosted glass window on the door to its Hansberry Rooms, the keys on the wall of the check-in area, the painting over the seats in its waiting room and the darkly- shaded front entrance. It’s part of an ongoing series of Landry works that take approximately a month to construct. It follows stages in the progress of an anonymous character and leaves it to the viewer to invent the narrative.
Merill Comeau’s “Mother They Daughter” — made from a vintage child’s dress enhanced by paper bag snippets cut from journal entries of self-exploration of what she wished she had received from her mother, offspring’s hair and embroidery – dances from the ceiling on a vintage hanger. The outside of the dress holds stitched phrases that Comeau said hold, “all I wished to bring to mothering — things I have done and things I hope to continue to do as a mother,” adding “I hope viewers are able to find an entry point into the work, engage personally, and connect to human concerns and/or experiences.”