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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fort Point Inspirations: Sylvie Agudelo

Challenging traditional ideas about portraiture, Fort Point artist Sylvie Agudelo has been engaged in a long-term project to more accurately capture the essence of a person. Embedded in the intersection of science and art, the fifteen-year resident of the neighborhood explains, “I’m inspired by hybrid science-art people.” She lists Michelangelo, Lars von Trier, MatthewBarney, Vincent van Gogh, and Edgar Degas as a handful of artists whose intense focus on art and representation continues to impact her work.

She says, “A portrait is traditionally a 2-D image with people formally dressed, of a particular moment in time—you don’t really get a sense of what that person is really like, what makes them special.” Hoping for a more intimate and revealing picture, she has recently been making mixed media portraits, or “a natural history collection.”

Photo courtesy Sylvie Agudelo

Looking at her earlier work shows that her questions about portraiture are not new ones. From photographs of the inside of people’s refrigerators—or as she says, “another kind of portrait”—to large-scale photographs of people and landscape merging, her work continues to work toward a better language for representing personality.

In 2011, Agudelo was part of a team with James McLeod who created “Embroidered,” a public installation in Fort Point. The pair brought together text and images from contributors in the neighborhood and these elements were used in composing the art for installation. Silk-screened glass panels interacted with large embroidered cut-out silhouettes and became “A collective portrait of the neighborhood by the neighborhood.”

Installation of Embroidered, 2011

Another example of her inventive take on portraiture is the working piece that was included in a City Hall new media show in 2011. “Using 3rd party / government / institutional portraiture, the picture questions how the government sees us,” Agudelo says. “Is it a more accurate portrait because the machines have no relationship with you—because you aren't posing for posterity?”

This idea of data collection and exploration has emerged countless times in Agudelo’s career. She says, “I’m trying to figure out the algorithm of what makes us who we are,” which is precisely where science and art, and the artist’s reverence for these oftentimes competing elements, unites in her work. Describing this recent series as “Investigations into what is an accurate portrait,” the overriding question, “what do you really know about a person?” attempts to be answered by collecting and presenting elements of their personality. Rather than the stale trappings of portraiture, Agudelo’s work seeks alternate measures.

Image of Third Party Identity Project, Sylvie Agudelo

“When someone close to you dies,” she says, “you may choose to save a t-shirt, letters— things sentimental and intimate.” Likewise, her new pictures “involve the biology of the person. I’m trying to combine that with those other unguarded moments.”

The connections to artists like Van Gogh and Degas are clear, as they sought to present a different sort of truth in portraiture as well. In Degas’ case, these revealing and harsh, often unguarded and disquieting images represented a wholly unique method of capturing the essence of the emerging middle class. Often enabled by his study and use of photography, he no longer presented an idealized version of people—as his pictures sought a truer depiction of life than portraiture had allowed prior to his moment. And with Van Gogh, his drawings and paintings depict an emotion so separate from the traditional mask of portraiture, he often rendered the subject’s face completely obscured.

Edgar Degas, Bellelli Family Portrait, courtesy Wikipedia

Continuing in the tradition started by the Impressionists, Sylvie uses alternate means for creating a representative identity in her portraits. In this regard, the scientific approach can be seen throughout her work. “Observe, collect data, make hypotheses,” is here, and the former field biologist who once lived and worked in Woods Hole says “I really want to know what makes anything tick—I can’t help it.”

Sorrow, and Old Man in Sorrow, both by Vincent van Gogh.

Part of her current project includes capturing portrait subjects in their natural environment using video and still photography. Below is one of these stills from a video of Agudelo and fellow artist PaulLaffoley during a typical Sunday lunch. The project uses natural light and a true environment for a greater sense of person and place. She says, “I see portraiture as an extension of observing animals—some form of being a naturalist—from scientific collection.”

 Video Still, courtesy Sylvie Agudelo

In addition, Agudelo’s focus on art and science in her work extends from approach into process and methodology. “I like to make my own instruments, my own filters,” she says. “My grandmother encouraged this—I am very comfortable around machines—but maybe don’t understand people as well.” Yet Agudelo’s portraiture reveals an uncanny understanding of the personal and intimate, as revealed with new methods for rendering.

While she says, “In math, in machines, in systems you string together, you can count on X + Y = Z. But with people… you get…”

And clearly these explorations only serve to provide another set of questions for the artist to answer with art. But despite their foundations in science, these works are steeped in emotion.  “Maybe it’s a big part of living in the city—but I feel we are farther and farther away from one another,” she says. Even so, Agudelo’s pictures bring us closer.

About the Author: Kurt Cole Eidsvig is an artist and poet who lives and works in Fort Point. To learn more about Eidsvig visit http://www.kurtcoleeidsvig.com/

Friday, December 16, 2011

Shaping Up Fort Point

If you’re anything like me, when asked about the perfect combination of art and physical fitness you likely conjure thespian bodybuilder Arnold Swarzenegger from one of his various acting roles. Perhaps you picture the massive Hungarian in Kindergarten Cop, or given the season, his tour de force with Sinbad as costar, Jingle all the Way. But nestled inside the heart of Fort Point, Channel Fitness—the owner-run and operated fitness center—is paying homage to our neighborhood’s long standing tradition of the arts in a way that puts the seven time Mr. Olympia to shame.

Above photo courtesy of Channel Fitness

Located at 303 Congress Street, and facing the Fort Point Channel, one of Channel Fitness’ main goals has been to become an integral part of the Fort Point Community. Managing Partner Erica Duggan explains, “Artists are the very foundation of what makes the Fort Point area so unique and it is very important to us that we develop and nurture a strong connection with that facet of the community. To do that, we utilize our large space to display the works of Fort Point artists.”

The fitness center features a rotating show of FPAC artists and in the last 6 months they have showcased three different artists. The duration of each exhibition varies and is determined by the gym and the artist. Currently on display are photographs by Fort Pointers Karen McFeaters and Larry Plitt featuring images captured throughout the neighborhood.  

Above photos by Karen McFeaters & Larry Plitt

The importance of neighborhood extends into the basic operating philosophy of the gym as well. In talking with Duggan she says, “Channel Fitness brings a unique quality to the Fort Point Community that you don’t see every day in a gym. We promise that you’re not a number here. It is one of our main goals to know the name of everyone who walks through our door.” Further, the ideal location makes it impossible not to appreciate the beauty of this area of Boston. “When you walk on the treadmill or ride one of the bikes, your view is of the water and the city.”

For their art lending program each artist receives a complimentary membership for the duration of their show, with the option of an artist’s reception to launch the event. Duggan says, “We are grateful that this program has been an organic process. In one instance, the artist was already a member and in another, we researched local artists and approached them about hanging their work in the gym.” Further, Channel Fitness doesn’t take any commission on sales. “No,” Duggan explains, “we want to do this to strengthen our relationship with the Fort Point Arts Community. We feel it’s our privilege to promote the works of the artist.”

In a neighborhood that is heavy with change, Channel Fitness is a model neighbor due to their focus on art and artists, as well as their community spirit.  As Duggan says, “We have developed a strong relationship with the Fort Point Arts Community. When Channel took over ownership over a year ago, we knew it was important to gain the trust and respect of FPAC so we developed an offer that still stands today—where every FPAC member pays our lowest rate of $59/month.

Above photos courtesy of Channel Fitness

But don’t let their neighborhood feel and atmosphere fool you, as Channel Fitness offers top-notch space for fitness and extensive equipment. “We have some of the greatest instructors and trainers in the Boston area whose main goal is to help you get healthier,” says Duggan. “We’re owner-run and operated so if there is ever an issue, it is resolved quickly and efficiently. We have a vested interest in making this community the strongest in the region. We have just added a pay-per-class membership where you buy a class or a pack of classes. You don’t need to be a member to take advantage! We added 6 new classes to the schedule including Zumba and Combat Conditioning.”

So, you can take your pick—either blender up your art and fitness by watching Arnold and Danny Devito flirt with artistic genius in the comedy blockbuster Twins one more time, or head over to Channel Fitness and start fighting off those extra holiday pounds while you still have a chance. - Kurt Cole Eidsvig
Channel Fitness is open Monday – Friday 5:45am-9pm; Saturday and Sunday 9am-3pm. For more on the gym and their current offers visit ChannelYourFitness.com

About the Author: Kurt Cole Eidsvig is an artist and poet who lives and works in Fort Point. To learn more about Eidsvig visit http://www.kurtcoleeidsvig.com/ 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Photo of the Month - Lauren StoeckerSylvia

December photo of the month:
Our First Holiday Tree. 2011
Lauren StoeckerSylvia is a costume & set designer

Thursday, December 8, 2011

BIG Ideas

Big Ideas 
December 9, 2011 - January 9, 2012
Big ideaas - YES, we have them.  Come check out this new series of work that is a parallel to the Made in Fort Point’s SMALL Works Show, at the Art at 12 Gallery.   
Big Ideas, a show of Fort Point artists’ works of grand scale. The show includes paintings and sculptures by 25 artists.

Art at 12 Gallery
12 Farnsworth St.
Boston, MA 02210
617 423-1100

Above: Ari Hauben
Sahara. Mixed Media. 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fort Point Holiday Sale

We caught up with some of the local artists who will be selling their work at the Fort Point Holiday Sale.  Here's a sneak peek at their work tables. Check out what they're up to as they get ready for this weekend.

December 2, 3, and 4, 2011
Friday 4-8pm • Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm
FREE PARKING thanks to Gillette/P&G and Central parking in their A & Binford Street Lot

Opening Reception: Friday, December 2rd, 5-8pm
Festive holiday snacks and refreshments
12 Farnsworth Street • Fort Point, Boston • 617-423-1100
25 local artists will be set up, displaying their wares over the three-day event, in one convenient location

From Top to Bottom:
Alys Myers - "The color choosing process for each necklace takes longer than you might think.  I change them all around until the right combination jumps out at me, and sometimes change a small aspect at the last minute, as each one is unique."

Julia GroosHalo Designs. Julia at her workbench

Katie Rowley - Katie is busy making ornaments and magnets this week.

Kristen Alexandra Kristen putting the final touches on a spider web necklace by fusing the ends with her acetylene torch.

Linda Huey glazing a large bowl for upcoming holiday sales with Choo Choo, her quality control manager.  Linda's pottery will be available at both the Fort Point Holiday Sale at Made in Fort Point, 12 Farnsworth Street, and at her studio at 249 A Street (#  57), a few blocks away, during the same hours.  December 2 - 4, Friday 4 - 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 11 am - 4 pm.  10% off on Friday during the Fort Point Holiday Stroll.

Dan Osterman has been outside, drawing and painting new work.

Gabrielle Schaffner working  at the wheel, throwing a new series of cups for this week's holiday sale.

To learn more and see all the artists in the Holiday Sale, log onto www.fortpointarts.org

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fort Point Inspirations: David Palmer

“Whenever you break through a doorway, the first discoveries are always the easiest. Then it gets to be more and more difficult.” –David Palmer

A little over ten years ago David Palmer hit a wall with his painting. Dissatisfied with the work he saw around him, he says, “One day with brush to canvas I made a disturbing realization—I was part of the problem. I was only succeeding in communicating in maybe two out of ten paintings.”
While he’s known now for his marvelous single stroke paintings that have been exhibited from New York to Paris; Brussels and back home to The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, for about fourteen months between 1999 and 2000, he stopped painting entirely. That moment of realization, paintbrush in hand, led to a total break from painting.
During his hiatus, Palmer searched for a next step. Or, as he explains, he tried to find a way of “Painting without messaging or branding.”
“In the landscape of our daily lives rarely is there a moment when there is not branding taking place. A visual space absent of that is so rare.” He sought to create that space, to “Give the viewer a moment to experience visual space absent of branding and messaging—a moment to feel our humanity.”
But, as he says, “It’s easy to figure out what you don’t want to do.”

During his break, he started “Looking for visual hints. Little things that excited me. I remember three stripes that popped on a placemat at a friend’s house.” Another graphic drawing his eyes were the bubble lettered graffiti patterns he saw around Fort Point and in various cities he traveled to. How the letters “Lean into each other—hug one another,” fascinated Palmer. Which led to thinking about different fonts.
He was “Enamored with the fact that there are only thirty-six main characters in the English language. Yet fontographers have come up with tens of thousands of variations. Font is so strict and there seems to be limitations—a D is a D. But we humans have that ingenuity.” Consciously looking outside of traditional art for guidance, he found inspiration. “It would be a label of a can at Super 88, or something like a piece of graphic design in a Martha Stewart magazine.”

“I wanted gesture—the human hand in its largest form—and started to push around paint.” Up until then, Palmer had been an oil painter for over ten years. But he turned to acrylics as a new medium. “Oil paint was too noble for the work I was trying to do.”

“The middle of the stroke was rather unexplored territory.”
One night back in 2000, David Palmer couldn’t sleep with all these ideas swirling in his mind. Getting up from bed about 4 a.m. and walking through his studio—lit by the city light outside—he stepped through a maze of the canvas scraps strewn around the floor where he had been experimenting with pushing paint around.”
He “Started cropping with my feet and suddenly there between my left and right foot—this little piece—was the answer I had been looking for.”

Part of this early exploration was getting—literally—to the middle of what is important in rendering a line, a gesture. “The middle of the stroke is what is important. The beginning and the end needed to be eliminated. The middle is where the action is. Other painters have explored the end. That territory has been explored—Lichtenstein with his illustration of a brushstroke. But not much happens in the middle.”
So while he had initially removed the process from the arc of traditional Art History, Lichtenstein and others began to have influence—if only to push against. “I mentioned Pollock in my first artist’s statement regarding this work. I felt the path he took was not yet completed. Not that I felt I, or anyone else, could complete it. Just that it hadn’t been completed.”
“Especially in Lavender Mist. Is it surface or deep space? The two of them together. Looking at his [Pollock’s] work, this is still not fully explored. There is more to be found—might be more relevant to contemporary society. Goes back to creating work that is neither branding or messaging.”

“Pull opposing ideas together with simplicity.”
In the past ten years David has completed approximately 90-100 paintings in the series spawned by that hiatus—or about ten a year. The great majority are 62” or 64” square. And while the works bear the marks of intense technical craftsmanship, there is a startling amount of emotional content as well. “They are done on the floor. I can only reach out so far. They are bound by my own physical geometry,” Palmer says.
And perhaps the works themselves are so effective because of the existence of a variety of tense contradictions. They resist traditional art, yet engage with art history; draw from graphic design, but hold all the earmarks of elevated fine art; engage completely with the line, yet are incredibly painterly; push against the question of nobility, and hold a domineering presence and grace—all simultaneously.
Finally, these paintings are completely David Palmer’s, recognizable in their intensity. So, “As much as I try to avoid it (a personal brand) that’s where I end up. I still have yet to discover how I feel about it. And whether I wish to avoid or embrace it.”

Remaining true to his goals at the outset, Palmer has unified disparate elements while creating personalized variations on some graphic design/pop art fusion with painterly techniques and expressionism. Lucky for fans of the series, Palmer is still enthusiastic about the work.
The artist, who has lived in Fort Point for over 20 years, says, “I’m still having fun. Every time I walk into the studio to paint a painting, I think—this is the one that is going to whoop my butt. As long as that is going on, I think I am going to keep going with these.”

- Kurt Cole Eidszvig

Find out more about David Palmer and his work at http://www.sonicboomstudio.com/sbs_home.html

About the Author: Kurt Cole Eidsvig is an artist and poet who lives and works in Fort Point. To learn more about Eidsvig visit http://www.kurtcoleeidsvig.com/ 
Other photo credits:
Image 1: David Palmer, Janine, 2009. 64” x 64” and Grace, 2009. 72” x 72”
Image 4: Roy Lichtenstein, Brustroke, 1965. Courtesy of Tate.org
Image 6: David Palmer, Niki, 2009 76” x 76” and Camryn, 2009 76” x 76”

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The New Big is Small

The New Big is Small is a collaborative exhibit where contrast of scales is taken to the extreme. Small works deal with psychic, expansive space in the confines of inches. Large works take the inches of those artists hands and measure them in feet—intimacy at maximal magnification. Alternately abstract, surrealist, conceptual and sensual, the artists here invite you to size us up and join the conversation.

Jennifer Amadeo-Holl works in the historic Fort Point district of Boston. She has received a NEFA Award, a NEFA-Benton award, a Trustman Fellowship, the Harvard McCord Arts Prize, and a Swedish Institute Fellowship. Her work explores the complement of abstraction and representation and the relationship between individuals, the animate and inanimate. She sees painting as a physical and philosophical practice, one which examines the nature of reality, the relationship between mind and matter, and the interplay of fact and value. She is drawn by the mystery of why the inanimate, including painting itself, should so often and so urgently feel sensate. She finds the world simultaneously mundane and fantastical, and therefore sees the incorporation of imaginary imagery as native to reality; that is, the ordinary is the imaginary. Her hope is to make formidable but tender, paradoxically harmonic paintings that may be inexplicable and yet speak.

Judith Page lives in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York. She received Individual Artist’s Fellowships from the Gottlieb Foundation in 2002, from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2005-06 and 1998-99. Notable exhibitions include The Photograph as Canvas, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT; Disarming Beauty: The Venus de Milo in 20th Century Art, Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL; Peace Tower at the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Memoirs of a Beast, Wake Forest University, Winston -Salem, NC; and Holes of Truth, Massry Center for the Arts, Albany, NY. Her recent solo exhibition at Lesley Heller Workspace in New York City was reviewed in the September issue of Sculpture. Page says that her "art emerges from a Gothic sensibility, a place where beauty and horror exist in close proximity, where innocence encounters depravity, where the spirit is consumed and revived from moment to moment."

Tom Wojciechowski is a visual artist working in a variety of media; he produces paintings, drawings, installations and books in addition to his large-format photo-based projects. The photo-based work usually involves some a subversion of the photographer's craft, or an experimental approach to the hardware, software, and traditions of photography. He organized/curated a group show of immersive miniature cycloramas at Art at Twelve in 2009. In 2008 he received an FPAC grant for public art, installing a one hundred foot long fence banner in Fort Point, Boston. His work has been exhibited in numerous group shows and solo shows in venues like libraries and corporate/theater lobbies. Thomas holds a BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA from California College of Art in Oakland.

Charles Yuen is a Brooklyn painter with an extensive exhibition record in commercial galleries, museums and universities. Grants awarded include the Adolf and Esther Gottleib Foundation (2011), Joan Mitchell Foundation (2006), and a NYSCA Artist in Residence (1984). Reviews of Yuen's art have appeared in numerous publications including Art in America, the New York Times, Time Out, Brooklyn Rail, Cover, Art Papers, House and Garden, as well as many community papers and culturally oriented blogs. Viewing art as a project connected to a social and civic vision, Yuen has also participated community based activities including being a founding member of Godzilla, an Asian American arts organization. Inherently iconoclastic, his art champions personal, human-centric values as rationality and poetics coexist.

The New Big is Small:
2011/2012 guest juror: Randi Hopkins

Fort Point Arts Community Gallery
300 Summer Street Boston MA 02210
617-423-4299 • gallery@fortpointarts.org
November 7, 2011 – January 6, 2012
Reception: Thursday, November 17, 2011 5:30–8pm

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Photo of the Month - Dan Osterman

Made In Fort Point Shadow
Dan Osterman

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jesseca Ferguson: Inspirations

-Kurt Cole Eidsvig

While Jesseca Ferguson typically finds her inspirations from the work of other artists, or the process she uses to make images, the acclaimed pinhole photographer and creator of photo objects is in the middle of a new project that draws from very different sources. Her art has traveled in exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe, and museums like the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, France, the Museum of the History of Photography in Krakow, Poland and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston currently hold her pieces in their collections. Most recently, Handmade Pictures by Jesseca Ferguson, a solo show of over 35 of her works, was on exhibit at the Fox Talbot Museum in Wiltshire, England. But in working on an artist’s book for the upcoming exhibition “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here,” the longtime Fort Point resident (Ferguson has lived here since 1987) is finding inspiration in unlikely places—poetry and politics.

Top: Al-Mutanabbi Street after the bomb attack, 5 March 2007. Photo: Khalid Mohammed, AFP/Press Association

Bottom: The Friday book market on Al-Mutanabbi Street, 24 March 2006

The travelling exhibition Ferguson is currently preparing a piece for is a show of 259 artist books made by 259 international artists/artist teams from 24 countries. The books are being made to reflect upon the March 5, 2007 car bomb attack that took place in Al-Mutanabbi Street, the ancient street of booksellers, poets and writers, located at the literary and cultural heart of Baghdad, Iraq. The show is unique in that each artist team will create three versions of their book, with one entire set being donated to the National Library in Baghdad, Iraq. The other two sets will tour on exhibition in various countries starting in mid January and extending for an indefinite period of time. The first scheduled exhibition in the UK will be at the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England.

Image by Jesseca Ferguson, courtesy of museumofmemory.com

“It upset me that someone was so angry that they wanted to eradicate history—their own history,” Ferguson says of her decision to help organize the project and create a book for the travelling exhibition. This decision also led her to return to the writing of Meena Alexander, a poet Jesseca met when they were both in residence at the MacDowell Colony in 1993. The book Jesseca is producing for “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here,” will incorporate text from Alexander’s poetry combined with visual imagery created through photographic processes.

The decision to use poetry for this work was partially due to the destructive nature of the bombing, and the desire to create new books for the exhibition, but was also motivated directly by Meena Alexander’s poetry. “She talks a lot about her history and family—is always conjuring up India in her memoirs, poetry, and books—and has these exotic locales imploding in New York,” Ferguson says of the poet.

Image by Jesseca Ferguson, courtesy of museumofmemory.com

Considering Ferguson’s career and her drive to preserve antique methods for photography and collage, it is easy to see why the March 5, 2007 bombing would be so emotional for the artist. Not only is pinhole photography a laborious technique which requires hours for a successful exposure, the very use of these methods speaks to holding things from the past as somewhat sacred. “I feel photography is a way of stopping time,” she says. “You have something that only looked that way then.”

But the story behind the project also crosses personal lines. Although the bombing reminded Ferguson of Nazis and book burning, she also explains, “If my husband and I were there [in Iraq] at the time, we would have been on this street.” As Al-Mutanabbi Street, with its shops and books, is a focal point for artists and writers—not to mention those who collect materials and texts for use in their art. Artists like Jesseca Ferguson.

So despite the very different motivation, Ferguson’s current project also combines elements of preserving a moment from the past and making it immediate and lasting—embedded with personal emotional response.

Photo Object by Jesseca Ferguson, courtesy of museumofmemory.com

“Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” will tour various locations in the US and Europe starting in 2013, and will also include work by Fort Point artists Mary McCarthy and Laura Davidson.


About the Author: Kurt Cole Eidsvig is an artist and poet who lives and works in Fort Point. He maintains a website at www.KurtColeEidsvig.com. Look for Kurt’s Inspiration posts each month on the site.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The ICA's Bridget Hanson recently selected Alys Myers' piece for the 2011 ICA Curators Choice Award in our annual members' Group Show. Each year a representative from the Institute of Contemporary Art's Curatorial Department recognizes one piece from our members' Group Show, in partnership with FPAC's Open Studios.

Hanson was drawn to Heavy, Light, Heavy: "It stood out to me because it seemed to function as both a sculpture and a 2-D work, and the tension created by the mix of the hard metal and soft fabric materials was very interesting."

Alys' piece is the beginning of her collaboration between steel (a previous medium) and textiles (her most recent one) and reflects her current focus on loss, memory and impermanence.

Congratulations to Alys: in addition to the recognition, she gets a one-year membership to the ICA.

The Annual Members Group Show is on exhibit through Friday, October 28th, at The FPAC Gallery at 300 Summer Street.

Thank you to the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, and to Bridget Hanson.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Embroidered - FPAC Fall Public Art Series

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Studio View - Jodie Baehre

Artist, art enthusiast and art administrator, Jodie Baehre utilizes her studio as not just a work area, but home base for her family.

“My studio is a safe – haven for my work and my ideas, and I have to admit even though my husband lives there too, sometimes I think, “who is this person in my studio looking at my work?” And then he of course asks me to remove my hundreds of tiny canvases off his air hockey table and I think, “oh yes, I know him.” Your Studio just become a place to escape and everything else fades away sometimes” - Jodie

Jodie’s recent body of 100 small works is a collaboration of places she has been, books she has read, architecture and design. Each of the small works has been covered with plastic resin to seal in the moments of thought and provide a smooth, wrapped 4 x 4 or 5 x 5” gift – like box. From the artist studio to your screen, check out her work in person during Fort Point Open Studios, October 14-16. 15 Channel Center Street - #219

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall Public Art Series: From Conception to Completion Part 2

FPAC's Fall Public Art Series is funded by a grant from The Fund for The Arts, a public program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible by generous support from anonymous donors. Floating art is sponsored by generous support of The Friends of Fort Point Channel. Special thanks to the City of Boston, The Department of Public Works, and The Boston Art Commission for support and assistance.

An Interview with James McLeod & Sylvie Agudelo

FPAC: How did you come up with the inspiration for your public art project in Fort Point?

JM & SA: There was a call for temporary public art for open studios and at the time, there had been a number of physical changes in the neighborhood that had become more visible… many of the artists who had been here were gone.

SA: The changes were amplified because I was dealing with the death of a friend. At the time I had discovered some scrap books and quilts that had been contributed by other people and thought it would be interesting to find out how people think of this place (fort point). Many of my art installations incorporate time and collective memory as themes. Lately I have been studying ways to increase participation in public policy decision-making and effective community leadership, so the prospect of implementing a process to reach people who were not living here…was appealing.

FPAC: Was it difficult to choose a location within the area?

JM & SA: The location was chosen by FPAC. The location is difficult because one is working outside in changing weather and the wind really takes its toll on the work that is out there. It is a frequently travelled path and we want to keep the way safe for people and honor the safety features of the fence.

FPAC: Can you talk about your method and materials in constructing your project?

JM & SA: There was a lot of testing of materials prior to beginning. Prototypes have been hanging out my window for a few weeks. We had worked on other outdoor art pieces and had a good sense of how materials interact, but there were a number of new lessons we learned. Tyvek (material) uses up a lot of scissors and doesn't like to be crushed. Tempered glass cannot be cut. The fence is covered with a fine plastic coating and we didn't want to ruin it, so we switched the hanging method. I can tell you a lot about welding aluminum (a method we abandoned for this project), and I can tell you there are a lot of men in the neighborhood who know how to sew on machines. There are a lot of hands - on work in this project, which makes it more interesting, but it takes a lot of time. There is also a challenge of working with a wide range of people who aren't necessarily artists… so that has been interesting to find a common language both literally and visually. We helped in facilitating neighborhood collaboration and sharing different ways of viewing and doing public art.

FPAC: How do you hope your work will connect with the public and community?

SA & JM: People's submissions were surprising and so, so, so much fun to read. Their reactions to the work have been even more rewarding, and for me it has been nice to connect to people more directly. It is interesting to be directed by other people in making work. We took people's submissions and made work from those submissions, and it changed our original proposal a little bit. We hadn't planned for so many flowers, however the Wormwood Park garden was the number one submission. We hope the work cheers people up and gives them another reason to talk with one another.

FPAC: Dialogue, a simple thought to build a community relationship...

The fall public art projects were selected by a jury of artists, arts professionals, and community members:

Ricardo Barreto, Director of the UrbanArts Institute at Mass. College of Art & Design (Floating art only).  Kate Gilbert, Director of Public Programs and Outreach at Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, artist.
  Danielle Pillion, Executive Director of Friends of Fort Point Channel.

Karen Stein, previous recipient of FPAC Public Art Series Funding, FPAC Board member, artist/designer of goodgood.  Mary Tinti, NEFA Public Art Fellow, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum Koch Curatorial Fellow.  Jane Marsching, Associate Professor at Massachusetts College of Art, artist.