Mary Bucci McCoy: New Paintings


What Am I Looking At?

The questions I always ask when looking at art are these: What am I looking at? What is the physicality of the object (if it is an object)? How do the materials make a leap to some kind of meaning?

In Mary Bucci McCoy’s show New Paintings, I am looking at carefully articulated shapes that hold paint, paint which is allowed to react to the conditions she has set up – calculated circumstances that lead to beautiful “accidents.” What I see is paint in action, the many ways the paint had moved; what I see is the arrested movement. In the space of the gallery, each work is a world unto itself, singular; each is a record of time and a “moment” in time.

Something else I see is the oval shape moving throughout the space of the gallery. It appears as a shape or mark, or sometimes the support for a shape or mark. Dark ovals absorb light, becoming voids; light ones project outwards, becoming mirrors.

I see paintings here that also exist beyond the boundaries of their supports.

For me this work becomes the answer to my questions and the material, the paint, holds multiple meanings. It fulfills what we often ask of art and, in particular, abstraction, that it becomes a locus for our own projections, a way of finding meaning not only in the work that we see, but also in the world at large.

Image: Crux, acrylic on plywood, 9 x 7 x 1″, 2013.












Cate McQuaid’s review in today’s Boston Globe: Shows that paint outside the lines, and one that sticks to the script

Mary Bucci McCoy’s review in today’s Boston Globe along with Jered Sprecher and Lot F Gallery:

Shows that paint outside the lines, and one that sticks to the script

 By Cate McQuaid  Globe Correspondent   April 08, 2014

“Within” from Mary Bucci McCoy’s show “New Paintings,” at Kingston Gallery.

Two refreshing solo painting shows up now in adjacent galleries have much in common, but wander down wildly different paths.

Mary Bucci McCoy, at Kingston Gallery, and Jered Sprecher, at Steven Zevitas Gallery, make mostly small, mostly abstract works. Bucci McCoy’s delicately toned and textured paintings read like haiku: swift, elusive, ripe. Sprecher’s much denser, hotter-toned works display an exuberant virtuosity: He cuts up, sorts, and juggles forms; he layers veils of pigment. Small as his works are (the paintings on linen are 11-by-8 inches), they are deep, whereas Bucci McCoy’s are more wide open.

For the smaller paintings, the artist chopped up photocopies of his pigeon photo and made collages, which he re-created in oil paint. The birds can be discerned in only one of these works, “Pigeons,” in which we see a plump green silhouette, with the fluff of the wing feathers accentuated, but again the image seems incidental to the spark and flow of abstract painterly fireworks: down-rushing smears of gray and yellow, a narrow curtain of hot pink on one side.
Knowing the birds are there, if only in fragments, you might start to look for them. Is that the curve of a breast in “Invention of the Chair”? And maybe the stony face of the cliff along the bottom?

But this painting hinges on the thick, flat bars crossing one another, in black with great gaps of orange, over a changeable orange and red ground. The violently colliding bars have heft, but they vanish. There’s a broad passage of dun in the background at the top, a bland banner. Sky blue brushes lightly over the surface.

Sprecher plays tricks with space and surface; he makes bold marks and dainty ones. There’s so much going on in a relatively small space, it’s as if he’s deftly answering in paint the question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Bucci McCoy offers a deep breath. Her painting “Another Grace” is simply a pale peach, near square. When I saw it I sensed vaguely that the corners were receding, and I got up close. The paint along the sides is infinitesimally yellower than it is in the middle. The surface gently puckers and wrinkles, like water in a breeze. A barely perceptible zigzag, perhaps just evidence of the paint drying, saws softly down the right side. Discovering these is like unearthing secrets.

Early in her career, Bucci McCoy worked with ceramics. Her paintings have the tactile quality of clay and the surprises afforded by kiln-fired glazes. “Within” is an oval, like a cameo, in powder blue. It’s matte flat, but the blue rises off the surface in one thick dollop. Below that hovers a blurry white dot, and to the right, a dot of black, veined and glittering like mica. Each of these reveals itself on a largely unsullied plane, little eruptions through a placid surface.

These paintings convey the unlikely combination of patience and spontaneity. Sometimes Bucci McCoy takes action: Her finger makes a deep gully down the center of the pristine white “Channel.” But sometimes it’s also just about seeing how the paint reacts. “Sanctuary” has a ground of tender terra-cotta, perfectly flat. A heady wash of aqua pours in from the upper right, like a wave rushing onto sand. The breathtaking contrasts are many: the colors, the textures, opacity versus mottled transparency, stillness versus movement. This artist achieves all that with startling economy.

Signs to celebrate cursive

“Its Virtue Is Immense: A Pre-Vinylite Tribute to Script Lettering,” a jaunty show at Lot F Gallery, suggests that thanks to dedicated practitioners around the world, the art of hand-painting signs is not dead. It’s on the decline, and has been since vinyl signs came on the scene in the 1980s. But this show isn’t merely about hand painting. It’s a cri de coeur on behalf of handwriting, and in particular cursive, which is being taught less the more technology dominates communication.

“Handwriting Is Handy,” Bob Dewhurst reminds us in one snappy sign. Kenji Nakayama, in “ABC Script,” layers a cursive alphabet in autumnal enamels and variegated gold leaf, which glimmers with coppers and blues. It’s eye-catching, to be sure, but it goes beyond signage into art, with its complex layering of letters.

Nakayama came to Boston from Japan to study at the Butera School of Art, one of the last academic outposts to teach hand-painting signs. It closed two years ago. The work in this show reminds us that there’s something rich in the human touch that can’t be replicated in a prepackaged font.

Mary Bucci McCoy: New Paintings

At: Kingston Gallery,

450 Harrison Ave., through April 27. 617-423-4113,

Jered Sprecher: Half Moon Maker

At: Steven Zevitas Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave., 617-778-5265.

Closing date:
May 10

its Virtue is Immense: A Pre-Vinylite Tribute to Script Lettering

At: Lot F Gallery, 145 Pearl St., through April 25, 617-620-8452,


Cate McCuaid’s Critic’s Pick in The Boston Globe: Mary Bucci McCoy, First Friday reception this evening


MARY BUCCI McCOY: NEW PAINTINGS Bucci McCoy’s small paintings hinge on the materiality of the paint, how it flows, how it dries, and how her spontaneous actions impinge upon it. Color matters, but the works are catalyzed by substance. Through April 27. Kingston Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-423-4113,


Image: Crux, acrylic on plywood, 9 x 7 x 1″, 2013

And a congratulations to Mary Bucci McCoy for Cate McQuaid’s pick of her exhibit New Paintings, currently up at Kingston Gallery

MARY BUCCI McCOY: NEW PAINTINGS Bucci McCoy’s small paintings hinge on the materiality of the paint, how it flows, how it dries, and how her spontaneous actions impinge upon it. Color matters, but the works are catalyzed by substance. Through April 27. Kingston Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave. 617-423-4113,


Congratulations to Mary Lang on the review in The Boston Globe by Mark Feeney!!

At Simmons, ‘Like Water’ for spirit

By Mark Feeney

Water dominates this planet. Light dominates photography. So what’s the relationship between water and light? Well, it’s ambiguous. Water can’t quite make up its mind about light. It reflects light. It also lets light in. It’s mirror and lens, and to at least some degree a distorting lens, to boot. Back and forth, up and down, in and out: From that duality, all sorts of arresting visual effects arise.

For a decade, Mary Lang has been photographing water: as river, ocean, puddle, cloud, droplet; between banks, along beaches, in parking lots, on windows; in Auburndale, on the Cape, by the Oregon coast, in the Andes. Variety of type and location is one of the attractions of water as camera subject. It’s not quite as ubiquitous as light, but it’s found in numerous forms all over the Earth even as it always remains the same: good old H2O.

In photographing water, Lang has said, she seeks “something intangible, impermanent, and luminous.” Those qualities are all evident in “Like Water.” These are quiet pictures. Lang’s waves don’t crash; they flow. One can more easily imagine her water evaporate than cascade or inundate. The power of water is there, but it has no need to call attention to itself.
It’s up to each viewer to decide whether those qualities Lang seeks take a form that’s more spiritual or strictly visual. Lang’s consistent ability to present color in a handsome, unemphatic way conduces to either interpretation. The images create their own sense of reality, not so much flirting with abstraction as inviting it in for a chat. Attractive as these photographs are, they are anything but pretty. Don’t expect to find them on a calendar or postcard. Not that there’s anything wrong with calendars or postcards. But staying up to date and tracking road trips are the furthest thing from Lang’s mind. That old putdown, “Hey, you’re all wet”? Lang shows that it might also be considered a compliment.
Image: Mary Lang’s “Near the Pump House, Auburndale, MA”
WATER: Photographs by Mary Lang

Trustman Gallery, Simmons College, 300 The Fenway, 617-521-2268.

Closing date: April 17

Mark Feeney can be reached at


Mary Lang at the Trustman Gallery


Don’t miss KIngston Gallery member Mary Lang’s exhibit “Like Water” at the Trustman Gallery.

Below is from the gallery website:

“Simmons College presents Like Water: Photographs by Mary Lang from March 17 – April 17 at the Trustman Art Gallery, located on the fourth floor, Main College Building, 300 The Fenway in Boston. A reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m. will be held on Wednesday, March 19; Mary Lang will present an artist talk at 6:00 p.m. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. For ten years, Mary Lang has used water as a vehicle for her exploration into the impermanent and intangible. Her meditative and chimerical works of uncertain scale and place allow one to pause and draw a long breath. The photographs, with views of reflections of clouds, detritus on water or the beading of water on a window screen, are disorienting in their ephemeral quality. They are composed with edges not defined – what is reflected or “real” becomes tricky. We just don’t know. Yet they draw us in with their calm beauty. Her C-prints abstractly mirror the world. These photographs are a bridge to the ineffable. They seem out of time and place. As a photographer Lang is rooted in the world – yet her subject matter seems not to be about physical description, but rather a sense of wonder and a release of the ego into a larger and more mysterious place. The Lunchtime Lecture Series will continue in the Gallery on April 1 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. with Assistant Professor Kristin Dukes of the Psychology Department. The subject of her talk is Discerning Eye: Social Psychology of Perception Trustman Gallery hours are 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Gallery is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. For more information, contact Marcia Lomedico at 617-521-2268.”

Yearning Erica Wessmann: HUNGER


Erica Wessmann’s exhibit HUNGER in the Center Gallery both resonates with and stands in contrast to Ann Wessmann’s Memento. It is an abstraction of a terrible event that took place in New York City in 2012. The materials of the installation are concrete and blood, as if you could literally transpose the actual event, and recontextualize it; make the materials make the metaphor.

A certain kind of terrible beauty pervades this project.  Wessmann’s attempt to use an abstract language as a stand in for narrative is heart-stopping.  This work successfully alerts the viewer to a history of violence o the streets of New York City, the objects are evocative and analogous; just uttering the words that are her materials: concrete and blood conjure up the viewer’s own images and relationship to this crisis in our culture.

The small accompanying book is a terrific companion – culled from social media – texts, emails, as well as print media to augment the story being told.

Image: Erica Wessmann, Pathway, Blood and concrete, 36 3/8 x 17 x 2 inches, 2014.




Thinking While Looking Ann Wessmann: Memento


Gathered objects, keepsakes

Thinking about Cornelia Parker

Found objects weighted with meaning

Quiet, assertive – nature inserted into architecture

The objects become a notation, a text

Things move imperceptibly

Each articulates a history

Seeing and understanding the work depends on its cadence, the work has an internal rhythm

The palette a result of each object no longer having life

The work is a resurrection, an absolution, a transformation.

What is gathered here? Hair, Seed, Flower, Bone, a Ladder, Stem, Branch, Thorn, Leaf, Pod, Nest, Braided hair

They echo each other, suspended; each held by a thread, each holds on to its own story, each an arrested gesture, an evocation

The work is elegiac, mournful, a hidden text, an implied subtext

The work is set apart and measured

The work is considered and blessed


Image: Ann Wessmann, Enduring Ephemera Series: Installation #2, detail, Mixed media, plant/animal material, hair, Dimensions: variable, 2014.




As noted in Artscope’s most recent issue “ We’ve been regularly inspired by artists exhibiting at Boston’s Kingston Gallery”


Ann Wessmann’s stunning exhibit is certainly one of those inspired artists with an inspiring exhibit which runs through March 30. She is joined by two other excellent shows – Erica Wessmann: HUNGER and Julie Graham: OUTSKIRTS. Below is a prose poem that accompanies Wessmann’s installation in the gallery:


Branches budding, waiting for spring…Sarah’s gifts of seed pods, leaves, she has a good eye and is the best gift giver…honey locust seed pods, smooth shiny mahogany collected with Molly years ago on the harbor walk picnic area near JFK Library…fern fronds…Queen Ann’s Lace. Mom’s favorite, she appreciated the lowly weed and collected so many beautiful bouquets got a terrible case of poison ivy, oak or sumac after collecting one day with Mrs. Ellis… Catalpa seed pods found on walk on Quincy Shore Drive, Wollaston Beach in fall, picked them green and dried them to dark brown, love them, went back several times to walk and get more….also got Ailanthus, Tree-of-Heaven, clusters of keys, like the branch separate from the keys, reminds me of grape branches…dead Japanese Barberry hedge branch from the house in Scituate The prickers and the hedge are the bain of my existence as they were for Mom, but they are beautiful when they turn silver from death….Lavender from the front garden in Dorchester, Lavandula Augustifolia- Hidcote and Munstead a bit of beauty in the city….Horse chestnut twigs from the two old trees in Scituate, the one near the driveway on Captain Pierce Road where I tried to make a swing from the wrought iron sign hanger nailed into the tree. I was about 10. It couldn’t withstand my weight and the iron hanger came crashing onto my head with the full weight of my body. The hanger was brought inside and is still hanging in the kitchen with one of Mom’s angels hanging from it…the second chestnut tree on the Tilden Road side, where we and the neighborhood kids used to make a tent and sleep out in the summer…Chris brought me three beautiful very large magnolia leaves a couple of years ago. I have kept them….Tulips I had to order from Holland for the opening reception of my show a year and a half ago, Close Observation. Tulips were out of season, but I wanted them because of the four Tulip Project pieces in the show, but they cost me a fortune…Erica’s hair…Hydrangeas from the house in Dorchester, also I think from a gift from Judith for my opening, she had ridden her bicycle to the show. There were a few tiny hydrangeas from Judith’s arrangement that I put in a vial to continue the Enduring Ephemera #11 piece… vines smuggled home from Bali, that were hanging jungle like on the 150 steps I climbed to the rice field in Ubud where I stayed with Betsy now Kiranada…Beautiful birch bark gathered on hikes with Chris, Rick and Hank in the White Mountains of New Hampshire….Hawthorns cut from trees outside of the Massachusetts Archives on my many Harbor Walks in Dorchester, sometimes with Molly, now that she is gone I walk in solitude… Globemaster Alliums that I planted in the front garden in Dorchester. Sarah loved the long row of alliums in a yard in Chatham. I was so excited to grow them myself….dead branch from the azalea plant in Scituate that David and I bought for Mom one year for Mother’s Day around twenty-five years ago. The Azalea has not been doing so well for about ten years since the huge silver maple tree died. It had provided shade for the big rhododendron bush, which provided shade for the azalea. The rhodie died too and now the azalea is struggling…The White-Faced hornet’s nest in a crab apple branch Hank and I actually bought in an antique store in Cambridge, New York, when we lived in Saratoga Springs, pre- 1975. Loved that thing, and displayed it for many years. A few years ago I brought it to Scituate and put it in the barn, where it still looked beautiful and where I thought I would have a studio eventually. Raccoons have also loved the barn and in their running around and general craziness, the nest has come on hard times, but I still like it…the big pinecone branch that I got in San Francisco with Joan in about 2001 or 2.  We had such a great time driving around and finding beautiful leaves, pods, etc. to pick.  I gathered about a gallon of eucalyptus nuts.  The scent was so strong that I couldn’t sleep in the same room with them.  When Joan and I were getting ready to leave SF we opened the trunk of our rental car and it was full of the pine cone branches.  We had to choose one for each of us and then struggled to get rid of the rest, clean the car and get to our flight on time…small pinecone from Ireland and white puffy flower Joan and I saw on our drives through the Irish countryside, looked just like sheep fleece, had to smuggle home… Mom’s hair…