The art and the technique of Erica Licea-Kane in Over and Over

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Erica Licea-Kane, Small Disruptions, 1, 2017, 12” in diameter, pen, burn tool

For my solo exhibition, Over and Over, now up at the Kingston Gallery, I wanted to push myself in ways that I hadn’t before. Aside from exploring large shaped works with the familiar extruded medium, I decided to produce a series of round drawings. These works, 12” in diameter, started with a series of pen line drawings that have decorative patterns based on and dependent upon the grid. The drawing component to these works took about 5 months of working in the evenings to create the repetitive fine lines. These drawings became a meditative task for me as I was not aware of the hours that passed as I worked.

I chose the round shape because I knew that I wanted to burn holes in the center openings. I also knew that I wanted to burn the surfaces as well…….I just wasn’t clear about how at the beginning of the process. As I started the burning process, I realized immediately that I wanted to create patterns on the surface knowing all along that my intention was to defy the preciousness of the original surface. The juxtaposition of both surfaces and their differences were always what I had imagined.

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Erica Licea-Kane, Small Disruptions, 2, 2017, 12” in diameter, pen, burn tool

I discovered that using a metal shape guide helped me to create the layers that I wanted. I also learned other ways of shaping and covering with the burn tool that resulted in a sepia surface of many values. Ultimately, I realized that working this way was not that unlike my other work, as it also involves layers of repetition and embedded imagery that you discover upon close inspection.

– Erica Licea-Kane, July 2017

Join us for a closing reception for Over and Over, along with Drawings by Brian Littlefield, and E. Orleans by Joan Baldwin, on Sunday, July 30, 3-5pm.

All about E. Orleans by Joan Baldwin

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“The space in Kingston Members’ Gallery is just the right size, where the viewer is in the middle of the terrariums which are on the walls and the installation, Too Many Babies which is all around the room. The viewer is surrounded by my impressions of the E. Orleans walking paths along Pleasant Bay. I’ve included the beauty of the area as well as the unfamiliarity and deterioration. While walking on the paths, it is routine that I come across dead and deteriorating animals, but it seems part of the reality of the marshes and natural. The paintings in the terrariums are preserved at a certain time in their existence but the cocoons and moths in the installation are more in the present, very much alive and growing, with life in the future. The mother moth in the installation, Too Many Babies can only watch as the babies are behaving instinctively, investigating and flying all over. There’s no use trying to keep them in line.

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“The procedure of making the terrariums involved a series of steps. I painted the backgrounds with oil on Masonite and then incorporated found objects. The natural objects are from the area near the water at Pleasant Bay. In the installation I used fabrics as well as hair and hair accessories. The cocoon attached to the stick and some of the baby moths are moving with the air currents in the room, giving them a special effect. In order to put the show together, I relied on skills that I’ve used in the past, which are sewing, window display design and of course painting. I had to imagine how the entire show would look and feel when installed in the members’ gallery, since my studio is a much larger and different space.”

Joan Baldwin, July 2017

The exhibition E. Orleans is on view in the Kingston Members’ Gallery through July 30, 2017.

Meet Jennifer Moses

This article is being re-published with permission from the Boston Voyager. We thank the Boston Voyager Editorial Staff and Edward Clark for the original feature and for supporting local art in Boston.

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Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Moses.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jennifer. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My story is the story of a group of talented artists who had the vision to start a gallery. The Kingston Gallery is a dynamic, contemporary exhibition space located in the heart of the most densely populated gallery district in Boston, SOWA.

Founded in 1982, this artist run cooperative gallery provides its member artists with the freedom to develop and curate their own exhibitions. It was conceived to be a space where the membership actively support and encourage experimentation and development within each member’s ongoing body of work. The membership is comprised of 24 artists working in a variety of media from painting to photography, installation art to the sculpted object.

Beyond solo exhibitions of member artists, we host national juried exhibitions, present group exhibitions by both member and non-member artists, introduce emerging artists, and sponsor other exciting cultural events and projects. The gallery remains committed to presenting a broad range of contemporary styles and media and to providing an alternative and complement to Boston’s museums and commercial galleries.

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We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It is pretty amazing that the Kingston has remained a strong dynamic presence in the Boston Gallery scene since 1982. It is Boston’s second oldest such institution presently in operation. There have been over 60 artists who have cycled through the gallery since its inception and it can be challenging to uphold the mission of fostering experimentation and change (two qualities not usually associated with financial success) while remaining financially solvent. So far we have prevailed and we maintain a good balance but it can be tough in a city where rent continues to skyrocket.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We specialize in presenting diverse ideas and art idioms in our exhibitions. We are proud to be critically acclaimed artist run business.

What were “you” like growing up?
Kingston Gallery is an artist-run cooperative incorporated in 1982, Boston’s second oldest such institution presently in operation. It takes its name from its original location at 129 Kingston Street near Boston’s Chinatown. In 1997, the gallery relocated to the South End (now 450 Harrison Avenue #43), in Boston’s largest gallery district a short walk from the Boston Center for the Arts.

Residency: Linda Leslie Brown on Haystack Mountain School of Crafts

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Haystack, photo by Linda Leslie Brown

“Haystack Mountain School of Crafts has recently begun offering a two-week residency program for artists. I applied, although I wasn’t sure my work would qualify in the crafts category, and I haven’t made anything out of ceramic clay since undergrad. To my grateful surprise, I was accepted. I had no real structured plan of what I might do there, and as it turned out, many of the resident artists in the program were also there to experiment with media new to them, including working in the Fab Lab with laser cutters and 3D imaging.

“I had heard so many wonderful things about this place, since Mass Art brings students there every Fall. The location, far out on Deer Isle on Jericho Bay, amid rock islands covered in pine and fir trees. Architect Edward Larrabee Barnes called Haystack his “happiest” project, and it is a joyous meeting of building and environment. The spare, 60’s modernist buildings float over a huge granite outcropping, connected by a system of walkways and stairs of pressure-treated lumber. Cabins are very basic and simple, uninsulated and unheated. My roommate and I shared the tiny bathroom.

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Jericho Bay, photo by Linda Leslie Brown

“Unprepared for the chilly night temperatures, I spent a frozen first night, awakening to the amazing beauty and silence of early-morning coastal Maine. I took a stroll on the walking trail winds through the Haystack property, among trees sheltering oval pads of brilliant green moss a foot thick. Breakfast was ample, fresh, and made right there in the kitchens. The food is locally sourced where possible, healthy and tasty. The chef wowed everybody daily with fresh baked cookies and outrageous cakes.

“We residents fell into a rhythm of long days and nights of work in the studio. The weather continued cool (I seldom removed my down vest) and changeable. When the sun came out it’ was brilliant, and (almost) warm out. Then, in would roll massive clouds, signaling a spectacular thunderstorm. I acclimated to the weather, acquiring more blankets-and I finally found my alpaca socks which I wore to bed almost every night. Breaks were celebrated with a bonfire on the rocks at the edge of the ocean one evening, and a lobster picnic. Cell phones were banned from studios and cabins, but most of the time this felt more liberating than annoying.

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Kiln loaded, photo by Linda Leslie Brown

“The ceramics studio was the place where I spent most of my time. The first day I went through 25 pounds of clay, making stuff that will be parts for new sculpture, I hope. I spent most of my time working in hand building, although I did try throwing again (after many years since undergrad.) It’s not like riding a bike, at least in my case. However, some of the artists there were capable of creating gorgeous air-filled forms on the wheel. At the end of the first week we fired the gas salt kiln for the first time. The salting sequence was spectacular, generating clouds of vapor out the stack as the salt/soda mixture vaporized in the hot kiln. I also learned to make paper, and experimented with some 3d forms made of pulp. Both processes seemed simple and proved challenging to do at all well. I’m happy to be coming home with a small stack of handmade cotton paper.

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Haystack woods, photo by Linda Leslie Brown

“This two-week residency culminated with a festive celebration, live and silent auctions. I was able to snag a beautiful piece by artist Michelle Samour. So, I returned to Boston with that, a decent haul of works in clay and paper from the studios, and many memories to treasure of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.”

To see work by Linda Leslie Brown visit her artist page: www.kingstongallery.com/artists/linda-leslie-brown/

Brandy C. Topher interviews Chantal Zakari about her new work

You’ve collaborated with your husband in the past to make books (Lockdown Archive, They Came to Baghdad, The State of Ata), paintings (7 Turkish Artists), and commemorative ceramic plates (Shelter in Plates). But now you are making flags and pennants? Can you talk about your new work and the new banner you showed as part of “Relay”, the Kingston Gallery member’s show last January?
I draw from my own life experiences. I teach in an art school and in the last few years I noticed more and more packaged phrases at meetings: our “Global Imperative”, our “Sustainable Growth”, the “Competitive Landscape” we are in… The work is a reflection of the new vocabulary I have been exposed to in the past 5-10 years.

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Innovation Catalyst, Embroidered 400 denier nylon burgee, 15”x21”, 2017


Was this language specific to your school? does it happen other places?

I’ve had conversations with colleagues who teach in other small liberal arts colleges. They’ve had similar experiences. One friend who is a Dean at a small college offered me another word: “SWOT”, for strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. I hadn’t heard of it at our school, but the idea is the same. SWOT is a very structured planning method that is used in corporate planning and is now applied as a management concept to higher education. The work I am currently making is about the business language that has recently entered academia and specifically, the industry of art education.

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SWOT, sketch for embroidered patch

How authentic and accurate is the business lingo you are referring to, where exactly did you get your words from?
I started with my own school’s Strategic Plan. Several appear in that document but all these phrases are from speeches and documents published by administrations in various small colleges and art schools. “Innovation Catalyst” for example often refers to a group of design-thinking coaches for a business organization. The idea that the “thinking” would be done by coaches is antithetical to art education where the “thinking” is usually done between the faculty and the students in a collaborative and creative way while in class during studio time.

What are gonfalons? burgees?
A gonfalon is a banner hanging from a crossbar. It’s a medieval Italian design, also used in Church ceremonies and, of course, in university ceremonies. It has a lot of drama to it. It’s a beautiful object.
A burgee is a triangular flag typically used in sailing. It’s shorter than a regular sports pennant. Burgees are very clearly classified through their symbols and colors. They also have an etiquette of display. So all these shapes have their own language which is studied under vexillography. Essentially what I am doing is use this visual language to talk about the pomp and circumstance of academia combined with the infiltration of the business lingo.

Who is moving with “Deliberate Haste”?
It’s an oxymoron. It sounded a lot more poetic when Obama said it when he first got elected and was in the process of putting together his Cabinet. When the President of a small art school starts using it in regards to the Strategic Plan… it’s overly dramatic.
…And that’s not a flag…
No, it’s going to be a wall relief. This particular design is from a tombstone in Westminster Abbey. I was in England for a month last summer and got to see a lot of shield designs. In fact, I think I was very influenced by coats of arms, especially the Medieval and Renaissance collection at the V&A, there are images I cannot get out of my mind, such as the Dacre Beasts holding flags.

Which is the first one you thought of making?
I was chair of the Curriculum Committee when our school was in the process of applying for accreditation. Most of this work was conceptualized before we became part of Tufts University, so it’s under our old administration. The term became a catch phrase for any initiative that the administration did not support, “according to accreditation we need to do it this way…” became the new parameters. The administrators had their own vision and they were shaping faculty decisions to fit that mold using the accreditation process as an excuse. We had an unorthodox system but it worked and an administrator who truly believed in the system should have been able to defend and justify it. The Accreditation board is a lot more creative and flexible than they were. So the real problem here was the administration’s lack of understanding art education and putting us through a series of bureaucratic processes.

You are a designer, you were educated as a designer, can you talk about your process?
Many of the elements on these flags are found on the internet and are clip art, they utilize cliché images to parallel the the words that are often devoid of meaning. “Innovation Catalyst”, for example, the burgee I showed in the January group show, includes an outline drawing of a classical Greek vase; an object that is very old, but also very innovative. The design of the burgee represents victory, achievement, power gained through innovation. And art education is and can be about all those ideas, but it is not only about success, often it reflects our weaknesses. There is a lot of failures in art making as the process is a private inner search. Art is a catalyst but not in the flashy sense a PR pamphlet represents it to be. So my designs reflects the irony between the words, the images and the actual process of learning and practicing art. My studio is my laptop, so I can work anywhere, I don’t have a studio in a typical sense. Mostly I work a few feet away from my husband’s computer space, but recently I moved to the couch in our living room. I love my computer, it is my best tool, and I love searching the web. The web is my resource, the place where I find images that reflects our culture, a mirror of our times. In that sense, it is very contemporary and of the moment. It reflects our common language. I am very interested in finding images that are basics to our understanding. Same with typography, I am mixing time periods, and am making a variety of cultural references and bring it all back to the connection between Medieval heraldry, the Church, military institutions, corporate businesses and how that language has moved to art education.

Will you be making the flags yourself?
I conceptualize and design them, I don’t make them. It is important to me that the objects are created within their authentic fabrication method. That was similar to the approach Mike and I took when we fabricated Shelter-in-Plates, they are real commemorative plates. I don’t want these flags to look like a copy of the original object, or have a trace of my hand, or be read as crafty. I want them to be the authentic object. It really is a pennant that you can hang on your wall. It’s not just an art object. The funny thing is that one of the best manufacturer of college banners is located 5 blocks away from my home, here in Watertown. I can walk there 2-3 times a day to see the production of my flag. Other pieces are produced long distance, the burgees were made in California, where there is a large sailboat culture. And the embroidered patch in China.

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Production of a gonfalon at New England Flag & Banner, 2017


What’s the title of this body of work?

Working title is Strategic Planning. I keep going back and forth between Art Ed Inc and Strategic Planning, but I might come up with something else weeks before the show opens. Let me know if you have any suggestions…

Brandy C. Topher lives in the Bay area and is a performance artist who works under a pseudonym.
Chantal Zakari is a Professor of the Practice in the Graphic Arts Area at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Her show Strategic Planning opens at Kingston Gallery January 2018.

Growth and Decay in the Work of Sarah Meyers Brent

Sarah Meyers Brent pushes the boundaries of beauty and ugliness in visceral, living works that traverse painting, sculpture and installation with her series, Growth and Decay, which has been extended through July 1, 2017. THIS SATURDAY, June 17, 2-3:30pm, join Danforth Art curator Jessica Roscio along with Meyers Brent for a behind-the-scenes conversation between artist and curator about the making and the meaning of this new work. You are invited to experience a preview of Saturday’s special event with this essay written by Jessica Roscio for the Growth and Decay exhibition catalog…

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Sarah Meyers Brent, Growth and Decay, installation view, June 2017

“My first experience with Sarah Meyers Brent’s work was a piece called Spewing Plant (2011). Brown tentacles sprung from a densely packed canvas and threatened to inch their way down the wall. The piece oozed with dirt and flowers, and truly seemed alive. Looking back on Sarah’s work, and considering the directions she has taken it, Spewing Plant now seems a relatively tame undertaking. I had the pleasure of working with Sarah on her exhibition at Danforth Art Museum last year, in which her work spilled and oozed out of every corner of the gallery, and her site-specific installation, Beautiful Decay, grew gloriously from the ceiling, dripped down the wall, and pooled on the floor. Sarah’s works shift seamlessly from the canvas, to the wall, to the ceiling, to the floor, and she reimagines a work’s relationship to its space in the vein of Eva Hesse and Lynda Benglis. Her mastery of materials allows one to trace where she is coming from, artistically and intellectually, and where her process will lead her next.

 

 

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Sarah Meyers Brent, Beautiful Mess, fabric, acrylic, mixed-media on Drywall 144”x120”x75” 2017

“The materials Sarah uses—flowers, vines, dirt, foam, discarded clothing—the organic and inorganic—are central to understanding her process. The hand of the artist is evident in all of her works, and her choice of media belies the historically inherent and much debated notion that certain materials fall within the realm of “women’s work.” Undoubtedly, Sarah’s paintings and installations, such as Mommy Loves Me III and Beautiful Mess, speak directly to this lineage, and gender is an obvious presence in the work. The stress and strain of domestic and familial life literally breaks through canvases and walls and spills in semi-controlled chaos. Works such as Ooze V appear almost burdened by their media, the accumulation of which is both cumbersome and the result of the fervor of productivity. The dichotomy of growth and decay in the works, along with Sarah’s approach to the malleability of space, from densely packed installations to the sparer canvases of Plant Monster and Dripping Plant III, affirm that her work results from an on-going conversation with an evolving and changing life and the detritus of the every day.”

Jessica Roscio, Ph.D., is Curator at Danforth Art Museum, in Framingham, Massachusetts.

This one but not that one: Perception, Editing, and Meaning

by Mary Lang

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Mt. Hood and circuit board, Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club

I am amazed by the ubiquity of photography and cameras in the world today. Whenever a celebrity speaks or performs, the television images always show everyone in the crowd holding up their cell phones, taking pictures or video. Do people really think they can take a photo that way? Hundreds of thousands of pictures, maybe not great shots, but pictures nonetheless, are made every day. On Instagram, there are thousands of really great pictures posted every day – some from established artists and photo journalists, but most from ordinary people recording the memorable moments of their lives. Everyone does it.

Taking pictures is different than mounting a show of photographs, even though both share the raising of a camera to the eye and a click of a shutter as the starting point. When my fellow Kingston artists talk about showing drawings, or work in progress, as a photographer, I always balk, since my journey to get to the 10 or 15 photographs that I am willing to show means making and printing hundreds of bad photographs. Who wants to see or share those? But, in my experience, bad photographs are the stepping stones to good ones, and so I have to make that journey, again and again.

At some point, there are the good ones, the ones you are willing, and maybe even excited to show and share with the world. Even then, however, not every good photo belongs in a particular show. I thought I would share some of the ones that didn’t make it into Wonderland, and the reasons why.

Model railroads are about artifice, and construction, and if you wander around, and get invited “back stage”, into the inner worlds of the railroaders, you see that very clearly. I could so easily have done a show about obsession, or artifice, but I decided not to.

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A different view of the Columbia Gorge Model Railroad club

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Above – Construction, Model Railroad Museum, Balboa Park, San Diego

When putting together a show, each image should resonate with the others. The way the space feels, repeating elements of paths and roads, the palette of beige and brown and green tied the photographs in Wonderland together. Sometimes when you lay your prints out to do an edit, to figure out the show, you can almost viscerally feel which ones don’t belong. Which often means you have to eliminate some really beautiful photographs that you are in love with, like this one:

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Low tide, the beach at Parkville, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Or this one:

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Shambhala Mountain Center at dawn

Instead, I felt this one, October snow at Shambhala Mountain Center, with its meandering pathways, random structures and uncertainty about size and scale, belonged in Wonderland. (It is also the most recent piece in the show. It was taken two days before the dawn image, basically at the same place, but it is qualitatively different.)

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Which made the meaning of the whole collection of photographs more clear.

Wonderland: Landscape Photographs by Mary Lang is on view in the Main Gallery through May 28, 2017. There will be a Q&A with Mary Lang on Thursday, May 25th from 6-8pm. For more information on this exhibition and Lang’s work visit: KingstonGallery.com.