Galatea Fine Art’s New England Collective X is on the walls and runs until September 1. Juried by Katherine French, the exhibition covers a many-faceted array of mediums and genres.
New England Collective X Jurist Katherine French, Gallery Director at Catamount Arts, VT, in front of Anne Leone’s painting Cenote Azul #40, acrylic on linen, 70 x 86 in.
Written By Marjorie Kaye
Over the course of her professional career Katherine French directed exhibition programs at Boston University, Montserrat College of Art, and the Danforth Art Museum. She has also taught museum studies and arts administration at Framingham State College and Boston University, respectively. After retiring as executive director of Danforth Art in 2015, she moved to northern Vermont, where she now serves as part time gallery director at Catamount Arts, northern New England’s fastest growing cultural center. She enjoys working as a freelance museum curator, including the New Britain Museum of American Art and the Ogunquit Museum of Art, and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including one for curatorial excellence from the New England chapter of the International Association of Art Critics and named Best Curator of Locally Made Art at the Boston Art Awards.
Exhibition Chair for Galatea Fine Art, C.J. Lori was instrumental in creating the visual flow of the exhibition. In Gallery I, we find work with a contemporary flavor that relates to the land and the sea. Textural and atmospheric, the work alludes to the romance of nature in every season. Anna Leone’s epic painting Cenote Azul #40 is commanding in its size and visual impact, measuring 70 x 86 in. The swimmers are visible beneath the surface of the water, their motions creating undulating swirls of energy. The relationship between the swimmers is fractured, yet one can almost hear the splashing and laughter and feel the experience of the sheer joy of being in the water.
Heather LaForce, Angry Mother, oil on panel, 24 x 24 in.
In Gallery II we find an arrangement of works that are centered on the human condition. From portraiture to the environment, here we see both optimism and irony in the artwork selected. In Heather LaForce’s oil painting Angry Mother, humor is key. She peers at the viewer, a makeshift halo behind her. We are caught in the act, having committed some juvenile, yet meaningful transgression. The mother’s face conveys amazement, humor, and disapproval all at once. This is a beautifully and tenderly painted work.
Moon Hee Kim, Self Portrait 2, oil on canvas, 28 x 22 in.
In Gallery III, the work relies on visual relationships; it offers the mysterious beauty of black and white, with a splash of color from carefully selected pieces for balance. Moon Hee Kim has created a beautiful and poignant painting, Self Portrait 2, in which her line-up of boots is meant to express her individual nature. The boots stand at attention, rigidly posed, but suffused with the character and the essence of the wearer. Lovingly painted in smooth black paint with white highlights, the boots also serve as pure object in conversation with the background they rest against. A vast and inviting colorless wall is a stunning contrast to the lively form of the subject.
Lorraine Sullivan, Celtic Mobile Device, found objects and acrylic, 18 x 29 x 8 in.
Finally, the Galatea alcove is filled with non-objective works of all types; from sculptures to paintings to mixed media, where the arrangement and energy leads us on a colorful voyage through the texture of mosaics to the inscribed surface of encaustic. A stand-out piece is Lorraine Sullivan’s Celtic Mobile Device, a sculpture made of found objects painstakingly painted with delicate line and form of Celtic designs relating to the Book of Kells. The artist has animated every crevice, providing a pathway between the spiritual and the mundane, funneling millennia of decorative work into one object. This sculpture is transcendent, but also graced with a sense of humor. Another astonishing feature of this piece is that it is an invention for the sowing of seeds, with diagrams relating to size and placement in the fields—the divine manifest in the mundane.
The eclectic nature of this exhibition reflects the over 80 New England painters, sculptors, printmakers, and more represented here. The gallery is filled with the marvelous exuberance and experience of these artists. The juror, Katherine French, selected a diverse cross-section, yet there is a common thread of intentionality in the work; a striving to go beyond the worldly surface into direct experience of the meaning.
The New England Collective X runs until September 1, 2019. Visit Galatea Fine Art at 460B Harrison Ave., #B-6, Boston, MA 02118. 617-542-1500. Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12-5pm and by appointment.