Review of the 20 Artists of Worcester Show by ArtScope Magazine
FINAL WEEKS TO SEE 20 ARTISTS OF WORCESTER EXHIBIT AT THE PRINTERS BUILDING
Tuesday, January 13 2009
20 Artists of Worcester … and Their Work Spaces Davis Art Gallery Printer’s Building 44 Portland Street Worcester Through January 23 This exhibit, and its coinciding eponymously named book, spotlights a cross section of Central Massachusetts artists from the well-established – including Stephen DiRado, whose “Comet Hyakutake, Looking Northwest, Edgartown, MA” graces the construction awning of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Howard Johnson, who’s shown at Boston’s Howard Yezerski Gallery – to new names equally deserving of your attention.
The book, the brainchild of professional photographer Scott Erb, whose “Beauty Knot” C-Print of a woman’s duel reflection melting together in a warm perfect cube greets visitors to the gallery, features portraits of the artists in their studios. They’re displayed here with mostly new works. Jonathan Lucas is shown constructing the plaster castings of molded cameras which provide the backdrop of his huge multi-media “Love’s Protest 1,” which is fronted by a digitally printed woman’s face on vinyl, her eyelashes pulling you into her face to contemplate whether those closed eyes are sleeping or in deep meditation. Around the corner, classically (and Montserrat) taught Scott Holloway’s “Dreaming of the Original Sin” features a jawless skull underlined with two crossed bones surrounded by sparkling gold paint that melts into a glossed palate holding eerie, barely decipherable writing. It’s a format that’s made for much desired t-shirts designs that have introduced him to new audiences.
Oil painter Tom Grady beautifully captures special, universal moments. He’s seen in his workspace surrounded by a mini-gallery of his work (a subliminal marketing tool, I suspect), working from a digital image in creating “Toys,” an oil painting featuring his wife holding their doll-clutching daughter, their aqua and purple sherbet colored clothing melting together as they dance on a toy filled floor. Helium balloons reflect other objects in the room while the rear wall holds the shadows of the room’s windows plants and vases in a crowded, but peaceful scene of solitude.
I adored Veronica Hebard’s acrylic graphite on wood “32nd and Madison,” where a reddish haired and headphoned girl, green handbag by her side, is blissfully oblivious to the Manhattanites rushing around her. Other local illustrators getting their rightful due in a gallery setting are Derek Ring, whose “You’re Lucky I Love You So Much” looks great in its round oval frame holding its meaty skeletons sharing an affectionate moment, and Andy Fish’s ink on paper “Dracula.” Open to much interpretation, Scott Boilard’s “Don’t Stop Here” oil on board painting features a stop sign in an unlikely riverside setting, the carved metal sign reading “stop war.” The statement’s contrasted by the peaceful blue sky behind the sentiment. Boilard said he didn’t set out to create a protest piece; he saw it as a variation of a scarecrow, only meant to scare humans.
I got cheek-to-cheek to Antonio Fonseca Vazquez’s “The Man Snake and the Apple Tree,” a huge charcoal, pencil, watercolor, surny ink and soft pastels on paper work whose apples I almost felt inclined to lick off their branches. That was, until I noticed the flesh of the fruit melting into the flesh of its two human characters, their veins and pulsating muscles not unlike the smaller twigs and lines around them.
Other favorites: Landscape painters Brian Burris (“Segnal Levant”) and Cynthia Woehrle (“Tree Tops”) are worthy of further exploration; Agnes Wyant’s “Bless Us and Save Us: Boys Town Series” watercolor painting, which enhanced the familiar Christmas Seal stamps with some creative ballpoint pen work; Rosalie Old’s “God’s Gift” clay statue; and photographer Erika Sidor’s “Dog Park Holga #1” which captures two cheerful rotweilers out for a walk, providing, as all great art does, a fresh interpretation of a much-stereotyped subject.
Brian Goslow (firstname.lastname@example.org)