The Bakalar and Paine Galleries, in the admin building at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design are always free and open to the public --- and they've never disappointed me the many times I've visited there.
The current Exhibit is called Reality Check, and it's one of the looser groupings I've seen there. But --- as usual --- there's still some stunning work on display.
Reality Check's loose theme is the creation of final images through "slow and painstaking non-digital processes."
For example, Chris McCaw's "Sunburned" series uses a custom-built camera and old-time photographic techniques (similar to "sun printing") where he captures a more or less normal landscape image, but vastly overexposes the sun to the point where it actually chars and burns through the paper. In some pieces, the sun is a burned spot; in longer exposures, it's a curving char line; sometimes varying in width and color as clouds alter the intensity of the sunlight.
One example of his work:
Amother artist, Matthew Brandt, takes fairly ordinary large-format photos --- landscapes, in the current exhibit --- but then processes them with local materials, such as lake water from Long Lake, the subject of the landscape below. Impurities from the lake water add themselves to the image; whose dyes and pigments also run and distort through extended immersion.
In other photos of human groupings (not in this exhibit), the immersion liquid is actual sweat and tears!
Stephen Mallon takes perfect, hyper-detailed photos of unusual occurrences, such as the dropping of obsolete subway cars into the ocean to create artificial reefs.
There's lots more. Definitely worth a visit.
A third gallery there, Arnheim, is small and usually contains experimental and student-type works. The current exhibit was actually difficult for me: It's a series of student artworks created after the Boston Marathon Bombings.
I was across the street from the second bomb blast, which killed an eight year old child and caused several people to lose their legs. I was slapped by the blast wave, but wasn't hurt at all. Still, I've had some trouble from the event's aftermath. I couldn't watch the July 4th fireworks, for example, and I feel weird every time I pass the spot on Boylston where I had been standing when the bombs went off.
The current Arnheim exhibit --- although nothing graphic was shown, the images mostly veering towards sappy expressions of solidarity and "Boston Strong:" type stuff --- still made my eyes water and brought me up short, as bad memories resurfaced. I made it through the exhibit, but can't say I enjoyed it. Still, it's there if you want to see it.
Here's the main exhibit info:
BAKALAR and PAINE GALLERY
Sept. 9 – Dec. 7, 2013
Mon - Sat: 12:00-6:00PM
The galleries are located at 621 Huntington Avenue, in the South building near the corner of Longwood Avenue and Huntington Avenue; accessible on the green line E train at the Longwood/Medical Area stop or by the 39 bus.
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