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OnlineJun 18, 2024

What to See at New England Galleries this Summer

From summer pop-ups to gallery mainstays, these are the twelve exhibitions our editors are most excited to catch from the Vineyard to the Berkshires and everything in between.

Feature by BAR Editorial

Installation view, “Double Threshold,” Winter Street Gallery, Martha’s Vineyard, 2024. Photo courtesy of Winter Street Gallery.

When summertime rolls around, Boston becomes quieter without the buzz of students. Our art scene, too, seems to shift without the round-the-clock calendar of programs, lectures, and openings usually tied to universities. After debuting our guide to must-see museum exhibitions this season, our editors were eager to share the smaller spaces, pop-up shows, and artist projects that are pulling us across the city and across state lines.

Installation view, “Yušká: Uncoil, BCA’s 27th Drawing Show,” Boston Center for the Arts, Boston,  2024. Photo courtesy of Boston Center for the Arts.

BCA 27th Drawing Show—Yušká: Uncoil,” May 11–August 3, 2024
BCA Mills Gallery
551 Tremont St., Boston

Since 1979, the Drawing Show has been a hallmark of the Boston Center for the Arts’ programming. The last iteration of the juried show happened in 2019. Since then, our cultural landscape has evolved significantly, prompting us to reevaluate how we view art, activism, and the intersection of the two. The show is juried and curated by multidisciplinary artist and educator Erin Genia, Sisseton–Wahpeton Dakota, who pulls from the Dakota language for its title Yušká, which means to untie, uncoil, and set free. The works on view explore how we view medium and mark-making as constructs in drawing and conceptually dives into untangling the politics of ecology, identity, and injustice. The extensive collection of works seamlessly flow through each of these themes, creating a narrative that reflects the winding coil painted on the floor near the gallery’s entrance. Genia has invited artists to create new drawings in response to these themes, evoking the interconnectedness of the artworks and the issues they address. This thoughtful curation transforms the Mills Gallery into a space for communion, highlighting the care and consideration behind each piece on display.

—Kaitlyn Ovett Clark

Mason Owens, shadow play on Walnut Hill, 2024. Egg tempera on panel, 8” x 8”. Photo courtesy of Steven Zevitas Gallery.

 

Mason Owens: morning to midnight,” May 17–July 6, 2024
Steven Zevitas Gallery
450 Harrison Ave. #47, Boston

I’m a morning person. And so I know well the way that the sun can pour through my windows thick and golden and dancing with dust while the rest of my street sleeps. I often wonder what I’m missing though—especially in the summer—when I’m turning in before full dark.  Baltimore-based artist Mason Owens has a more expansive view of what constitutes a day. His first solo show “morning to midnight”—on view at Steven Zevitas Gallery—features small egg-tempera paintings that chart its progression, from my familiar butter sun in “breakfast with bo” (2024) to the arcing torchlit revelers in “shadow play on Walnut Hill” (2024). Informed by his seven years working as a farmer, gardener, and landscaper and composed of pre-ground, natural earth pigments, the fifteen works on view bask in the moments of magic offered as we wheel around the sun and the moon makes its own elliptical loop. Who knows, perhaps I’ll stay out a bit later this summer.

—Jessica Shearer

Installation view, “Jungil Hong: The Time Being,” ODD-KIN, Boston, 2024. Photo courtesy of ODD-KIN.

Jungil Hong: THE TIME BEING, May 18–July 21, 2024
ODD-KIN
89 Valley St., East Providence, RI

Jungil Hong, a longtime artist based in Providence, defies categorization with works that span various scales, mediums, and the continuum between representation and abstraction. At first glance, you may not initially assume these works are all from one artist—a large screen print, multiple textiles displayed in various sculptural configurations on the floor and wall, arrangements of found objects, and a series of photographs. Although the parts appear disparate, they are interconnected. To view the sum of these works is to perceive her career holistically, spanning the past twenty years. Hong’s artistic journey involves a continual reimagining and balancing of her older works, such as her elaborate jacquards, through new perspectives that reflect an evolving identity. This transformation is evident in her recent series of photo self-portraits, which blend the familiar with exploring the past and future. By undoing and redoing her art, Hong expands her sense of self and the concept of labor, keeping time fluid and responsive. This exhibition offers a unique opportunity to witness the evolution of an artist who continually reinvents her narrative, using diverse materials and techniques to explore the complexities of identity, time, and personal transformation.


—Kaitlyn Ovett Clark

Hazel Glass, After Dark Our Dreams Collide, 2019. Handcut paper, 2″x4″. Photo courtesy of ShowUp.

Cutting Edge: Contemporary Papercutting,” June 7September 1, 2024
ShowUp
524B Harrison Ave., Boston

524B Harrison Ave., Boston Paper may be mere micrometers thick, but the medium of papercutting has plenty of depth, not to mention a long history in China, Mexico, Eastern Europe, and beyond. Now contemporary practitioners are in the spotlight with this show, the inaugural exhibition of the ShowUp Curatorial Incubator Program. Curated by Puerto Rico–based papercutter Rosa Leff, it highlights works from six artists, including Swoon (aka Caledonia Curry), known for elaborate immersive installations, and Boston’s own Rebecca Rose Greene, a prop maker and set dresser for the likes of Knives Out and Little Women who transforms found and recycled materials into wild feathered and scaled creations.

—Jacqueline Houton

Installation view, “Double Threshold,” Winter Street Gallery, Martha’s Vineyard, 2024. Photo courtesy of Winter Street Gallery.

Double Threshold,” June 7–July 7, 2024
Winter Street Gallery
22 Winter St., Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard

“Try that on for size” is the name of the game at Winter Street Gallery’s latest exhibition where an impressive collection of work by twenty artists toys with scale, perception, and categorization. Cleverly titled “Double Threshold,” viewers are invited to engage with an exhibition within the exhibition thanks to a one-to-ten scaled reproduction of the gallery where artists were invited to produce works in miniature. (A nod to Shelter in Place gallery perhaps?) Eric Oglander chose to replicate his sculpture to an exacting miniature scale while Charlotte Edey and Cindy Ji Hye Kim created works that nodded to their contributions in the main gallery.

Co-curated by gallery director Ingrid Lundgren with artist Elizabeth Jaeger, “Double Threshold” pulls together an eclectic group of artworks that invite us to question what terms like “monumental” really mean. Throughout the gallery (and the model gallery) the varying scales invite viewers to constantly shuffle between close and distant examination. A standout is a curious button or brooch measuring in at just one and three-quarters-inches in diameter by surrealist Gertrude Abercrombie from 1950.


—Jameson Johnson

Brienne Brown, Spring Moon, 2024. Dupioni silk, cotton batting, linen backing, cotton and silk threads, 51” × 36.5”. Photo courtesy of Gallery NAGA.

Address to the Moon,” June 7–July 12, 2024
Gallery NAGA
67 Newbury St., Boston

It’s been a big year for the moon. The eclipse? I mean come on, give that girl an Oscar after that one. “Address to the Moon,” the title of which is based on the Nathaniel Hawthorne poem, reminds us that the moon is not just a celestial body controlling the patterns of our oceans—it’s a guide, a symbol, a muse. Organized by Powell Fine Art Advisory for Gallery NAGA, the exhibition has been a wish-list show for founder Hadley Powell for years. Featuring the work of eighteen artists, the flow of the exhibition is organized into sections that consider the moon either representationally or conceptually. Lizzie Gill’s Still Life with Amphora (Prima) (2023) greets visitors with a floral tablescape—the light creamy moon poking through arched windows is not the focus, but a strong presence. Cig Harvey captures a glowing round mirror held against a face at dusk. Antonin Anzil’s meticulous depictions of moon phases made from pulled paper are a showstopper. And Brienne Brown’s stitched silk quilts are enchanting little worlds where the presence of the moon is felt even in the pieces that don’t prominently feature it. 

I’d like to believe we’re all born with an innate connection to the moon. Personally, I make a point of trying to catch every full moonrise over a body of water. My girlfriend and I have become professionals at capturing the moon between our hands for photographs we call “moon pinches.” I was glad to be in the good company of moon lovers at Gallery NAGA.

—Jameson Johnson

Coral Woodbury, Nude Model, 2024. Oil on canvas, 34” x 40”. Photo courtesy of Abigail Ogilvy Gallery. 

Coral Woodbury: One Eye Closed,” June 19–August 4, 2024
Abigail Ogilvy Gallery
450 Harrison Ave. #29, Boston

You might know Coral Woodbury from her Revised Edition series, which has her painting 617 sumi-ink portraits of women artists onto pages pulled from Janson’s History of Art, a tome that completely omitted women from its first twenty-nine printings. Research for that ambitious ongoing project helped inspire the new oil paintings in this solo exhibition, which likewise aim to prod at the Western canon and shake out untold stories of women in art. One painting imagines a class of nineteenth-century sculptors using a cow as their muse at a time when women were forbidden from viewing nude models. Another envisions a meeting between Victorine Meurent (herself an accomplished painter) and Suzon, two of Manet’s favorite models, as they dish on their employer. I’m excited to see what else Woodbury has in store as she brings her wit and scholarship to wider canvases in full color. 

—Jacqueline Houton

Cathy Della Lucia, Trolling (strawberries and burnt tongues), 2023. Fishing rod mount, tennis overgrip, wood, ceramic, glaze, underglaze, stain, paint, acrylic rod, 31″ x 15″ x 13″. Photo by Gregory Rubin. Courtesy of OVERLAP.

Peripheral Decoys,” June 19–July 27, 2024
OVERLAP Gallery and Project Space
112 Van Zandt Ave., Newport, RI

In her latest body of work, “Peripheral Decoys,” Cathy Della Lucia brings her signature style to a new collection of quirky, abstract sculptures. Pieced together with myriad materials—various types of reused wood, ceramics, and paraphernalia from her favorite pastimes (e.g. racquet sports and freshwater fishing)—these textured sculptures make for a fascinating viewing experience regardless of the angle at which you look at them. In that looking, one gets the sense that Della Lucia intends for the pieces to be touched, picked up, taken apart, and put back together to form something different entirely. Indeed, her practice is as much about disassembling as it is about assembling. This ability to shapeshift is not only integral to the integrity of the work but to Della Lucia as a Korean American woman, the sculptures acting as not only a mirror image of a fragmented identity but as an extension of the artist herself.

—Ava Mancing

Jay Stern, Exposed Fall House, 2024. Oil on canvas, 29” x 28”. Photo courtesy of the artist and Grant Wahlquist Gallery, Maine.

Jay Stern: Awning,” June 22August 17
Grant Wahlquist
Gallery
30 City Center, 2nd Floor, Portland, ME

Jay Stern’s bold compositions of the everyday feel like peering through a prism. This summer, Grant Wahlquist Gallery in Portland will host the Mid-Coast Maine-based artist’s first solo show in the region, titled “Awning,” promising a space for pause and reflection. In the tradition of still life and the era of romanticizing your life online, Stern focuses on tranquil, domestic scenes, creating a sense of familiarity. Yet these oil paintings require a double take: through a dizzying blend of abstraction and representation, Stern captures the magic of fleeting moments one may otherwise forget. Grant Wahlquist cites Cézanne as a major influence, and early modernists John Marin and Milton Avery as forebears, but Stern seems to be channeling a bit of cubism as well. “Awning” is an ode to slow living, mapping Stern’s experience of living at the edge of northern New England.

—Karolina Hać

Haleigh Collins, Bunch, 2024, oil on canvas, 60 x 35“. Photo courtesy of Zeshan Ahmed.

Edwin Arzeta, La Luna Sobre el Mar, 2024. Prismacolor pencil on paper, 25″ x 19″. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Haleigh Collins & SR Lejeune + Edwin Arzeta: Green and Violet Blue,” June 29–July 28
North Loop
112 Water St., Williamstown, MA

In Williamstown, North Loop is returning for its third summer season in an 18th-century mill outpost. This month, a collection of paintings, paper pulp sculptures, and works on paper by Haleigh Collins, SR Lejeune, and Edwin Arzeta, respectively, will enliven the space.

Brightening up the walls with vibrant color, Collins’s works on sanded canvas are developed through “silk-screening, pouring, sliding and printing with oil paint.” The artist moves everyday objects across the canvas to create glossy compositions. In the same exhibition space, Lejeune, who primarily works with machined metal and paper for their sculptures, offers up a series inspired by photos of the city sidewalk called witness marks. To create the work, Lejeune used different pulled sheets of paper layered and worked on in the wet studio and pressed into singular sheets. witness marks is a phrase that nods to “visual indicators of the fabrication processes” and is also a term used in surveying, both of which relate to location. Using a variety of media forms—from poetry to TV to signage around Los Angeles—Arzeta’s lyrical drawings are studies in color and pattern. Arzeta’s show, Green and Violet Blue—the title of which comes from the 1988 song “Love is a Sign” lyrics—aspires to “expand a viewer’s experience of recollection, longing, and empathy.”

—Jacquinn Sinclair

Installation view, “Nicole Wilson: National Debt Project,” Praise Shadows Art Gallery, Brookline, 2024. Photo by TJ Proechel. Courtesy of Praise Shadows Art Gallery.

Nicole Wilson: National Debt Project,” August 16–September 29
Praise Shadows Art Gallery
313A Harvard St., Brookline

Nicole Wilson is known for her deeply conceptual, process-intensive artworks, and National Debt Project is no exception. It began almost fifteen years ago (after the 2008 financial crisis), when Wilson began writing one letter every day to the US Department of the Treasury, dispatched with change she found on the streets and in her pockets, effectively building a national debt relief fund from discarded/lost pennies. It’s a gesture that’s both modest and grand, and meaningful for its attempt to address an issue that feels astronomically larger than any one individual. For the project’s first-ever gallery presentation, Praise Shadows will present a monumental installation of the accumulated 5,479 mail receipts from Wilson’s letters, porcelain sculptures that reinterpret the concept of a “piggy bank,” and both in-person and virtual participatory elements, including a website that allows anyone to pitch donations and receive receipts in the form of NFTs.


—Gina Lindner

Marley Freeman, ice glistens, 2023. Fused glass 30 ¼”  x 19 ½”  x ⅝”. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Night Gallery at Dunes, August 3–end of September
Co-presented by Dunes, Portland, ME and Night Gallery, LA
251 Congress St., Portland, ME

Portland, Maine may already be on your list as a culinary and cultural destination for this Northeast summer. Stop by local artist-run space Dunes as they partner with LA’s Night Gallery for a late summer group exhibition that flees the bustling city to embrace the quiet hum of coastal landscapes, forests, and interior life. While Mid-Coast Maine’s artist communities and late 19th-century pastoral movement are the backdrop and inspiration for Night Gallery at Dunes, these painters—all with relationships to LA or Maine—more broadly explore retreating from “contemporary life” and devote themselves to the beauty found elsewhere in both their personal lives and artwork. Among about a dozen artists are Danielle Mckinney, known for painting Black women who surface from darkness in solitary scenes of home, as well as Lynn-born Marley Freeman who creates “color fields” where pigment becomes the “perform[er].” I am curious how this exhibition engages with the fraught and idealized (art) history of landscape painting and US colonization of Indigenous lands, however it is worth seeing how this group of cross-country artists indulges in the possibilities of escape.

—Niara Simone Hightower

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