Nora Valdez contributes sculpture and little-seen drawings to “Close to Home” at the Duxbury Art Center Complex. Her poignant work explores the isolation of the immigrant experience–and her work is more apt now than ever. It’s refreshing to see Valdez’s work both inside and outside the museum–in the galleries and also in the permanent sculpture garden on the grounds.
There is a panel discussion this Sunday, November 19th, from 2-3:30pm at the Museum, featuring “Close to Home” curator Elizabeth Michelman.
A lifesize, floating shark by Kitty Wales, Requiem (1997), hangs outside the Duxbury Art Complex. Made of steel and tin, slowly achieving a rust patina in the shore weather, this Caribbean Reef shark seems recently to have become a symbol–perhaps unintended–of the plight of marine mammals around the globe. Wales works from direct observation of nature, admiring the “grace and fluidity” of sharks, whose numbers have declined rapidly since the piece was made. The title is more relevant than ever.
Malvina Hoffman‘s 1962 bust of Henry David Thoreau is tiny but mighty. On view at the Concord Museum, the terra cotta bust was the result of studies and sketches preserved in the Getty Museum’s Hoffman archive.
Now through September 4th, “The Anatomy of a Desk: Writing with Thoreau and Emerson” also at the Concord Museum.
Alida Cervantes, Mexican painter and mixed-media artist, creates work with a three-dimensional presence. Themes of power, wealth, and social caste based on race, confront the viewer in her current Mills Gallery show. “La enemiga natural” (above, oil on found palette), suggests that the traditional, over-wrought trappings of feminine wealth and power—elaborate clothes, clownlike makeup—are merely broken and disturbing signifiers. Through September.
Beverly Semmes‘s oversize dresses—fit for a giantess—have become feminist art memes. Her current show at Samson Projects in SOWA, Boston, is a return to these iconic garments, and they seem like old friends—crazy friends, maybe—but still a welcome and hilarious sight. Taken all together, the clothes are souvenirs of wild lives: a diaphanous blue negligee draped over an enormous hanger, decorated with red tags (is the giantess keeping score?); a fringed evening shawl in crushed velvet; a huge gown in canine-print fabric (pictured) with crazily puddling sleeves; blouses embroidered with cellular patterns. The last day is May 27.
Jenny Carpenter and Merill Comeau‘s Some Semblance of deploys a virtuosic range of work which conveys both the dailiness and disruption of family life. Between the two artists, we see drawing, collaged fabric sculpture, installations, and an evocative display of found/collected objects.
Comeau deconstructs and reconstructs textiles employing traditional sewing techniques to convey reordered narratives. Jenny Carpenter draws on veneer panel, and creates installations like the one above that embody the simultaneous protection and painful constriction of family ties.
At ArtSpace Maynard until May 26. Check website for directions and hours.
Above: Jenny Carpenter, Cradle
The Frederic Remington Museum in Ogdensburg, New York, has the only collection of sculpture by Sally James Farnham, the early 20th century neoclassical sculptor of monuments and portraits. Sally’s Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Memorial (above) is across the street, behind the Ogdensburg Public Library.
Both Remington and Farnham were Ogdensburg natives, and probably met in later life while living in New York City. Remington was Farnham’s mentor and encouraged her early work, even recommending his New York foundry, Roman Bronze.
I’m very excited to participate in the Museum’s first artist in residence program this summer, working on projects related to Sally. I’ll be posting upcoming activities and events at the Remington—workshops and talks—starting July 1.
An addendum to this post from the Remington appears on Facebook, thanks to director Laura Foster and the Sally Farnham Catalog Raisonne Project director Michael Reed: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=sally%20james%20farnham
Salish Vision, 2002
red cedar, copper, acrylic
Courtesy of the Museum of Anthropology, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, Salish Weave Collection, 3113/6
Photo: Janet Dwyer