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Exhibit dates: 15 July-28 August 2004.
about the show
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“Pancakes for Art”: 7 August 2004. $6 donation.

Karen Aqua
Cut paper, ink, and colored pencil, 87 x 87 inches, 2004
full image web

emily arkin
detail “Queen of Clubs”

from Filigree playing cards, silk screened, 2001
full image web


Kathleen Finlay
Plaster, 2 x 2 x 8 feet,
full image web

  Jorg Ingo Fraske
"Sepal Quartet"
32 x 32 inches,

full image web
Tina Gram
12 x 12 x 8 inches,
full image web
  David R. Guenette
"Go Figure, Forth,
and Multiply”
Assemblage, 30 x 18 inches, 2003

full image web

Pauline Lim
"Pancake Possession"
Oil, alkyd, and acrylic on canvas panel, 18 x 24,

full image web

  Denise Malis
Interactive sculpture made from mixed media on wooden blocks, 2004

full image web
Luis Montalvo
Metallic Tubing,
34 x 27 x 30 inches,

full image web


about the show
The idea of play is central to the creative process. Artists often speak of the studio as a place where they are free of constraints and possess the ability to invent and explore new ideas. Experimentation and chance, where the outcome is uncertain and evolves from the artistic process, are central aspects of play. Some degree of chance and serendipity also show up in recreational play, thus linking art making with other forms of amusement.

Concepts closely related to the idea of play include humor, whimsy, and fantasy - qualities that we find woven throughout much of contemporary art. The use of these devices ranges from social and political satire to visual filtering, where art helps us to see the world around us in new ways, as if through the eyes of a child.

This exhibit will include Boston area visual artists whose work in some way addresses the above theme, either through explicit use of imagery or through their studio process. Matt Carrano and Kelvy Bird co-curate the exhibit. An opening reception is planned for the evening of 15 July 2004 to kick off the Somerville Arts Council’s ArtBeat festival on 16-17 July 2004.

curator biography
Matt Carrano: email
Matt Carrano is a painter who has maintained a studio in Somerville since 1995. He has participated in various solo and group shows in and around the Boston metropolitan area and is a former Somerville Arts Council Artist Fellowship winner. After moving to Massachusetts in 1980, Matt worked for a number of years in the high technology sector before beginning the study of fine arts in the early 1990’s. From 2001 - 2002, Matt Carrano was event director and currently serves as President of Somerville Open Studios

Kelvy Bird: email / web
I've always had an itch to connect the dots, and when faced with lines, transform them into shapes. Seeing myself as a dot, and you who read this as another dot, and the meaning between us as a line, I naturally ask: "So what, then, is the shape we are meant to make together? What other dots are in this picture? How many forms, all together?"

Since the fall of 2003, I've been putting lots of time into local art activities, including core development functions with ARTSomerville (an organization formed for the purpose of providing arts and cultural programming and services to Somerville and its surrounding communities), managing the website and co-coordinating open studios for Vernon Street Studios, and occasionally scribing for Citizen Schools. Since 1995, I've worked as a process and graphic facilitator in the field of organizational development with clients such as MG Taylor, Capgemini Consulting, Dialogos, BP, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA, on aspects of collaboration, innovation, leadership, and collective intelligence. Since about 1972, I’ve consciously made art – the concern of my painting being human relation – with a focus now on creating “visual conversations,” where color functions to mimic verbal and energetic exchange. My hope, with all my work, is to open inquiry around the relationship of neighboring, yet disparate, parts.

artist biographies
Karen Aqua: email
Since 1976, I have worked as an independent filmmaker in the medium of hand-drawn animation. Using approximately twelve images for each second of film, I have created thousands of drawings in the production of nine films. The piece "Civilization" is from my newest body of work: a series of large two-dimensional paper wall constructions, reassembled from hundreds of these animated drawings. This work reveals the mechanism of animation, while capturing some of its essential qualities: a sense of transformation and movement, multiplicity of images, and a frame-by-frame approach. Time is compressed, allowing the viewer to experience a multitude of images in one frozen moment.

Karen Aqua graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1976. Her award-winning films have been screened worldwide, at festivals in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and New Zealand. She has received fellowships from American Film Institute, New England Film/Video Fellowship Program, Somerville Arts Council, Puffin Foundation, LEF Foundation, MacDowell Colony, & Fundacion Valparaiso. Aqua has taught animation at Boston College and Emerson College, and at workshops and residencies around the US. Since 1990 she has produced/directed/animated 22 segments for the television program "Sesame Street."

Emily Arkin: email
Emily Arkin is an artist and musician from Somerville. Her filigree playing cards grew out of a series of sketches for a tattoo...Before she knew what she was getting into, the project had evolved into the design for an entire deck, hand silkscreened and cut with pinking shears. The resulting cards are not completely uniform, but suitable for stately games of solitaire. These cards and the techniques for creating them will be featured in two national outlets soon: "Crafters Coast to Coast," premiering on HGTV in the Fall, and a Viking Studio book on craftartists by Greg der Ananian in 2005. "The Game of Rock Star" is intended to be the perfect picnic accessory--play a song, play a round of the game, eat a sandwich, play another song. Emily currently plays the game of rock star with her band The Operators (members of the Handstand Command music collective), sits on the board of the Somerville Arts Council, and is a founder and organizer of Bazaar Bizarre, a local-turned-national punk rock crafts fair.

Kathleen Finlay: email
My work both illustrates and IS a methodology: my pieces often demonstrate how something is made by visibly maintaining the steps of the process of its creation. Often I create a piece for each step, showing increments of growth, slow accretions, and revealing the accumulation of parts, shapes, particles or objects. The piece is the event.

Some of the events I work with are environmental and/or psychological, but more recently I am exploring mechanical events, where a psychological parallel or metaphor may or may not also exist. My current work addresses simple mechanics such as stitching, knotting, pulling, tension, leverage, attachments (attaching things to each other),support systems. It explores the essential impulse of how we make the world work for us. Specific actions are cutting, gathering, containing, keeping warm, and moving objects.
I choose common materials, such as sheet-rock, plaster, cement, pvc pipe and wool There‚s a quality of utility as well as a pleasure about them. I find satisfaction in the “unprecious” qualities of these materials and their contrasts: the softness of wool and the density of plaster.

I’ve been especially influenced by the material and formal experimentation of Hess; Bourgeois‚ embrace of the emotional and psychological; the Arte Povera artists use of unspecial everyday matter; and the process art of the 60s and 70s.

Jorg Ingo Fraske: email
I began, some time ago, painting imaginary abstracted landscapes. My paintings are spacious, meditative, and impart a feeling of quiet potentiality.

I favor textural work with an emphasis on color and strong composition. The choice of background fields of color has become more important; and the forms are often less defined and more abstracted than previously. All of the paintings come about intuitively: no sketches, many revisions and layers. Formal issues come up and are resolved as part of the process.

Many forms are distinguishable as originating from nature; fig, poppy, lotus, calla lilly. These have certain correspondences for me; for instance, the lotus represents compassion; the poppy, wisdom. There is a continued subconcious reappearance of certain forms while painting: a visual catalog, a language. This is a language whose code is not completely deciphered nor understandable. A language that has not been fully translated, yet.

These works can be read as an evolving story of forms and colors; a continuum of forms: sky, field, tree, seed, pod. Time stops. The subtle message of awakening, of potentiality, remains. I hope to evoke feelings of pleasure, wonder, and tranquility.

Tina Gram
My clay work reflects many ideas and concerns over twenty-five years of making, but throughout is a love and respect for the clay process, working with an ancient material and transforming it by fire. A common thread is the thrown and altered vessel with hand built parts, often based on a traditional form, and low-relief tile making. My current work is focused on using the vessel as a metaphor for dwelling, and the inspiration comes from dreams and stories that house themselves in the clay. The forms are derived from sources as varied as shells, Mayan temples, Spanish architecture, Benin and Chou bronzes, and Chinese funerary urns. Having lived in Chile and Spain for twenty years has enhanced my love of history and travel, and making art for me is another way to continue my journey.

David R. Guenette: email
My art is made out of the material created in the headlong rush of materialism, including media. I think of my own assemblages as “image poems,” where, just as happens in poetry, images are presented in a way that allows them to be experienced immediately and with evocative power by the viewer.

Most frequently, I’ll find myself drawn to an object aesthetically and metaphorically, and I then start puzzling out how to present the object, along with other objects, by building-up the metaphoric content of the arrangement. At times—in what I think of as my “found furniture” approach—I’ll get a wooden box or other sort of container such as toolbox or drawer that strikes me as an interesting presentation environment, where the first challenge is to determine what form “fits.” By bringing a utilitarian function to my work—however formal or improbable—I hope to further elicit the participation of the viewer by heightening the presentation. Many of my pieces use lighting elements for just such purpose.

I am a counter-puncher, responding to the requirements and limitations of actual material. I’m sparked by a strong emotional—even visceral—reaction to an object or group of objects, but I’m captured by the puzzles that follow one after another as I work to sculpt meaning and form into the work. In the end, I hope, my work reflects puzzles of a larger sort, as an effort of wrestling with the most basic struggles with which we are all engaged: consumption versus conservation, paying attention versus being overwhelmed, mass commodity versus individuality, nostalgia versus presence, despair versus grace.

Pauline Lim: email
I am interested in the mysterious realm of dreams and the subconscious. I am especially inspired by the rich imaginary life to which children retreat in times of distress. Sickness and recovery are major themes in my works. As a high-strung and anxious child, I looked upon sickness as a haven; staying in bed made me feel protected and safe. Illness was a break from the overwhelming demands of everyday life. It has been said that illness is the Western form of meditation; it is like coming to a rest after having run a long time.
I am inspired by other cultures in which art is not separate from everyday life, where the average Joe is welcome to make art and it is not judged. Everybody can be an artist. Our culture makes people feel like they have to be a “great artist” if they want to make art; otherwise, it’s just a waste of time and materials. I hate that attitude. It kills the creative spark. In the movies, artists are always portrayed as tortured, insane, or chronically drunk. That’s because there is this myth that if you want to make art, you have to be “great”, and that to be “great”, you have to be tortured, insane, or chronically drunk. How stupid.

I try not to think too hard about what I’m painting; I just try to free my mind and make paintings that I like to look at myself.

Denise Malis: email
There is an active intersection between the art making/creative process and the process of psychotherapy. Despite the numerous theoretical underpinnings of psychology and it’s applications in therapy there is a common element of approaching the unconscious and assessing how this impacts on an individual’s life and well-being.

The pieces in this show highlight both the intersection and reflect the importance of play as a creative medium and what lies beneath the surface of what we may or may not be aware of. These pieces all reflect or reference "Sandplay" which is a Jungian therapeutic modality where one "plays" in a box of sand, which incorporates objects. From the play the participants access the unconscious. The "Stacked" series consists of over 100 or so small wooden shapes that are meant to be interacted with by the viewer. The viewer interacts, plays with the pieces and makes their own configurations. From the play the participants access the unconscious. The imagery ranges from benign to extreme as a reflection of this. The thread that ties this together is playing with the unconscious. Both our play and our dreams easily tap into these other realities.

Luis Montalvo:
Luis Montalvo attended Fordham University where he earned his bachelors of arts degree in art history spending the junior year of studies in Paris with Columbia University. He earned his masters of architecture from Yale University in 1992.

Upon receiving a Fulbright Scholarship and a Graham Foundation Grant, Luis transferred to Mexico to study interdisciplinary collaborations within the work of architect Luis Barragan. Luis Montalvo has taught and lectured in art history as well as architectural theory and design since 1993.

Luis is currently the Director of Visual Studies at the Boston Architectural Center, where he is responsible for curriculum development in the fields of drawing, photography, and media. Luis is also head instructor of the Center's summer academy. Married for six years to his wife Diana, Luis enjoys playing with their two-year-old daughter Maria.


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