Works by Charles Hawthorne (1872-1930), Hans Hofmann (1880-1966), Edward Hopper (1882-1967), and artists taught and inspired by them, are on exhibit at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum through August 29. Curated by Christine McCarthy, the show pulls from the museum’s collection. She said “It has always been a passion of mine to showcase PAAM’s permanent collection… The holdings of local and regional art are extensive and dynamic, comprising 4,000 works by over eight hundred 20th Century and contemporary artists who have worked in Provincetown and Cape Cod.”
I confess that I am a huge fan of Richard Neal. His powerful and provocative works always draw me into their theatrical mystery. (Indeed, I’d like to create a new label for his work: dynamic existential constructionist art! Art Deca.)
The “Jones House” exhibit at Miller White Gallery shows Neal’s quintessential uniqueness. From constructed pieces, to pieces about construction, moderately abstract to discernibly figural, the work uses many means and methods.
“Essence” at 13FOREST Gallery in Arlington brings together 15 Boston-area artists in celebration of Juneteenth. Being the first year that Juneteenth is officially recognized on both state and federal levels, the show sends an especially powerful message about diversity to the wider art community. Curated by artist Cedric “Vise1” Douglas, “Essence” celebrates the joy, spirit and resilience of the Black community while simultaneously honoring the many Black artists who live and work here.
At the entrance to the exhibition space devoted to “Uncommon Threads: The Works of Ruth E. Carter,” a clip plays on a continuous loop. It features the Springfield, Massachusetts-born costume designer accepting the 2019 Academy Award for Best Costume Design for “Black Panther,” the first entry into the Marvel Cinematic
Universe to star a Black lead, the late Chadwick Boseman. The thrice Academy Award nominated Carter —previously for Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” in 1992 and Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad” in 1997 — gave a brief and gracious shout-out to Lee (who jump started her film career in 1988 with “School Daze,” and to “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler) before nodding to her mother, who she called her superhero.
Change is coming. Some is already here as people, newly vaccinated, explore the world again, get comfortable in their own skin and long to interact.
I spoke recently with gallerist Arlette Kayafas about her vision moving forward because of her years of perspective given that hers is among the longest continuously running galleries on Harrison Avenue at Thayer Street in Boston’s SoWa Art + Design District. Its galleries are places to enjoy art without an admission fee and to learn about art in ways that help unlock and make sense of the meaning of the world we inhabit. Each gallery leans into that responsibility differently and so, among SoWa’s galleries, there is really something for everybody. For some, going to SoWa to look at art will be a new experience and for others a reactivation of familiar ritual. In any case, there are many contemporary art galleries here, artist studios and related businesses abundant.
It’s another First Friday, 6 p.m., and the clouds are finally lifting to liberate the sinking sun’s pale gleams. Since Covid arrived, I’ve rarely visited SoWa except briefly and alone. Now, on June 4, 2021, I’m fully vaccinated and ready to risk a crowd in Boston’s South End. Clad in sneakers and studio jeans, I trail a stylishly shod, light-skinned woman in long black culottes and a three-quarter-sleeve charcoal silk jacket down the steps into Beacon Gallery.
Two women holding glasses of Chardonnay are chatting with gallerist Christine O’Donnell. Four others inspect the fresh summer light of Lori Mehta’s oil paintings. I feel for my mask and cross to a safer corner. A headless torso there impresses me just as it did two months earlier, when I interviewed Mehta at her Cape Cod studio. Crisply framed by the chill Atlantic waters and a corner of cerulean sky, the white shirt, warmed by the sunset, embeds a pair of eloquent hands touching fingers to palm. It’s not the subject-matter that transfixes but the violet, rabbit-like shadow balancing its mass.