Welcome to Artscope’s first issue of 2024,
In my formative years of 1964 and 1965, I benefited from my mom bringing me to the New York World’s Fair, with its motto of “Peace Through Understanding” backed up by exhibitions from countries around the world introducing visitors to their culture and people, be it Michelangelo’s “Pietà” in the Vatican pavilion, Thailand’s ornate roof replica of the Mondrop of Saraburi Buddhist shrine, and through its singing marionettes dressed in costumes and performing songs in their native languages, Walt Disney’s “It’s a Small World” in the Pepsi-Cola Pavilion helped showed us that it was, indeed, “A world of laughter, a world of tears …”
Our goal as a publication has always been to introduce our readers to artists making work that touches our hearts and hopefully yours and — in many instances — introduce you to people from cultures different than yours, with stories and pictures that provide a bit of understanding, appreciation, curiosity and interest you might not have had previously.
We continue working towards that goal with our first issue of 2024, spotlighting 10 artists to seek out in the year ahead, five more whose timely work serves as a reflection on the world we’re living in and a report from Art Basel Miami Beach.
I first got to know Joanne Mattera through our coverage of the annual International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown; we finally met in person at the original Fountain Street Gallery in Framingham and subsequent encaustic conferences. This issue begins with a “Cornered” profile in which she and I discuss her recently self-published book, “Italianità: Contemporary Art Inspired by the Italian Immigrant Experience” and its complimentary exhibition in Manhattan.
Speaking of Fountain Street, in early December, the SoWa Boston-based gallery announced that it would be closing this spring after three final exhibitions. This coincides with Beacon Gallery, located a few blocks away, rebranding and transitioning to a non-profit gallery called ShowUp. Marjorie Kaye, who recently moved to the Berkshires after serving as neighboring Galatea Fine Art’s director since its inception, updates us on what’s in store of the affected artists and area.
One person who’ll be playing a key role in SoWa’s transformation is Chenoa Baker, who’ll be ShowUp’s associate curator and who we’re lucky to have as an Artscope contributor. I’ve been energized watching her Instagram reports of her visiting artists and exhibitions around the country, bringing an invaluable fresh set of eyes to all seeking timely, inspirational artwork. Her “Five Artists for Apocalyptic Times” perfectly complements the 10 artists we spotlight in this issue.
Elizabeth Michelman visited the Maine studio of Penelope Jones in advance of two exhibitions of her oil painting and collages this spring and fall while Majorie Kaye dropped in on Alison Pebworth at her North Adams, Massachusetts workspace to document her career of conceptual old-time medicine show styled projects and her installation exhibition scheduled for Mass MoCA this fall.
Meredith Cutler wrote me to say that I should make sure to check out Bethany Noël’s “Aphasia” exhibition at the Open Door Gallery at theWorcester Art Museum, noting, “Love the tie in with Open Door Arts, advocating for access to the arts for the disabled and advocacy for disabled artists.” This issue features Cutler’s writing on Noël, with her beautiful paintings, the artist said, “heavily influenced by my experience of chronic migraine disease and neurological symptoms.” You can also see her work at Three Stones Gallery in Concord, Massachusetts.
I’d been watching the artistic growth of portrait photographer Chelsea Bradway and am excited about her current series that integrates street signs and women, making a statement about what they say “yes” to or not at all, as their decisions are their decisions alone; it was great to interview Bradway about her creative process and how it compares to her professional business shoots.
I also exchanged questions with Emmanuel Manu Opoku. Born in Ghana and now an Adjunct Lecturer of Studio Arts at Assumption College. His “We Ourselves are Shared” show at ArtsWorcester in January will make you smile through their playful portraits enhanced by fabulous Ghanian fabric patterns that give his work a unique touch.
Marguerite Serkin visited the home studio of Brattleboro artist Myles Danaher to talk about his evocative but not derivative landscape paintings of Vermont and the American Southwest in a warm range of approaches and styles, some of which are on view in January at the Oxbow Gallery in Easthampton, Massachusetts. Aviv Hirsch, our fall intern from Lesley University, reviews Joseph Grigely’s “In What Way Wham? (White Noise and Other Works, 1996-2023)” exhibition at Mass MoCa while Linda Sutherland profiles landscape photographer Carl Austin Hyatt, whose unique images can be seen in early 2024 at Van Ward Gallery at the Cliff House Maine.
Beth Neville was inspired by the collection of prints, sculpture, painting, pastels and books featured in Nomi Silverman’s “Palpable Process” exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, Connecticut that she earned for having been awarded Best in Show in CCP’s 2022 Annual Members’ Exhibition. The work is a powerful exploration of the stress of modern life and the extreme stress of peoples’ migrations from one locale to another.
Participation in the Fine Arts Work Center’s Visual Fellows program is one of the most coveted artist-in-residencies in the world; Laura Shabott profiles Finland’s Tinja Ruusuvuori, currently in Provincetown for her second year presenting experimental broadcasts as part of what she calls her “radio of uncertainty” project.
Elayne Clift reviews two powerful Southern Vermont Arts Centerexhibitions: Nayana LaFond’s “Portraits in RED: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Painting Project” and Cat Del Buono’s “Voices” video project that aims to raise awareness about the epidemic of domestic violence.
It’s always exciting to introduce new writers to our magazine pages. Reggie Woolery debuts with an introduction to four artists who’ll be showing their work in the “INTERCESSION” exhibition at the New Art Center’s Corridor at Trio Gallery in Newton, Massachusetts. The exhibition, part of its BIPOC Cultural Program, aims to provide opportunities for established and emerging curators to showcase local talent as well as artists in and around greater Boston.
After months of trying, I finally got to meet sculptor Madeleine Lord at an artist talk at the White Room in Worcester, where she’d mentioned she was interested in writing. Her first story for Artscope looks at the history of the Whitin Mill in Whitinsville, Massachusetts and how the New England Sculptors Association formed a partnership with its Spaulding R. Aldrich Heritage Gallery operated by ValleyCAST.
We say goodbye to 2023 with a look back at Art Basel Miami Beach. Claudia Fiks notes that the international festival allowed its patrons “to traverse seamlessly through the best works of the past, engage with the vibrant narratives of the present, and catch a tantalizing glimpse into the visionary artworks that will shape the future,” adding, “It is a celebration that transcends time and space, leaving an indelible imprint on the hearts and minds of all who immerse themselves in its captivating offerings.”
We hope that our first issue of 2024 will have that same effect on you.
Brian Goslow, managing editor