Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First Lights: The Miracle of Capitol Square

Business owners in East Arlington's Capitol Square are not letting cutbacks and gloomy forecasts ruin their holiday spirit.

Despite the threat of cancellation, some enterprising folks around the historic square won't see their First Lights extinguished. Reviving the tradition on their own, free events and special promotions are being planned for Saturday, December 5 from 12-4 pm.

In fact, they're so enthusiastic about what's going on in their neck of the woods that they decided to sing about it

It all started with witty Jan Whitted, from ARTBEAT Creativity Store and Studio, who likes to rewrite song lyrics (and once did so for the Boston Pops). She wrote lyrics to Let It Snow that extol Capitol Square as the best place to shop and dine, focusing on the virtues of keeping it local for the holidays.

Ever crafty, she stayed behind the scenes as she recruited American Idol wannabes from the neighborhood to inspire their moment in the spotlight.

Marc Gurton, the owner of 13FOREST Gallery, was first in line for the shenanigans. "Now more than ever," Gurton noted, "we were happy to spread some cheer and continue a tradition that folks around here clearly love. I just hope my high school chorus teacher doesn't catch sight of us."

Vanity aside, It wasn't difficult then to appeal to the inner hams of 13FOREST Gallery manager Eileen Ani, Brian Phillips from Maxima Gift Center, and Andrai Whitted from ARTBEAT to help record the ditty.

Risking their professional reputations, the hapless quartet met at the landmark Capitol Theatre to "sing" in the new ice cream parlor recently built inside the theatre's historic lobby. East Arlington resident Walter Locke volunteered to videotape the carollers, and the MTV-worthy performance will air on local cable station ACMi.TV.

The result, an a cappella showcase of collegial enthusiasm (if not actual talent), is an example of community spirit that proves that life - even with a frightful economy - is quite delightful.

For a full list of events, including free movies at the Capitol Theatre and holiday window lighting at 4 pm, check out capitol square.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pao-Fei Yang's saggar-fired ceramics

Lexington potter Pao-Fei Yang is an inspiring artist and an example of how an artist’s need to express cannot be contained. Initially trained as a painter, a serious car accident in 1983 left Yang unable to focus her eyes and forced her to give up painting. The more tactile qualities required for clay, however, proved to be the perfect outlet. Not only did ceramics provide a sense of healing in her own life but it became the channel for visually stunning and conceptually appealing work. And in a medium rarely associated with representational work, the former painter found a new brush.

Recently 13FOREST has acquired some of Yang’s pit-fired work. These pieces
are produced through a firing method known as saggar firing. In this process ceramic work is placed within a larger vessel with other combustible material and then the larger vessel is placed inside a kiln. This creates a very specific atmosphere within the saggar which Yang skillfully uses to achieve her unique synthesis of abstract and representational elements.

The abstract colors and patterns come from the smoke and fire
of the burning material surrounding the piece while the formal elements are created by placing a thin metal sheet on the surface of the clay. The piece of metal can be cut to resemble any form - often horses and crows appear in the work - and the metal then resists the smoke and ash to some degree leaving the form of the metal piece outlined in the clay surface beneath. This wonderful combination of elements allows for the creation of the haunting, symbolic landscapes that have become the signature of the artist’s pit-fired pieces. We’re thrilled to be representing such innovative and compelling work.

-Phil Scheer and Marc Gurton

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Poetry Reading

Our second event for Queer Animals was great. Marc read some of the poems from Mortimer's Some Queer Animals and Why, and we were all greatly amused. Our thoughts were also provoked!

We had some discussion about the poems, and of how much we were over-reading into them. We're pretty sure it was a lot.

All in all, it was an excellent chance dig a little deeper into one of our most controversial shows.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Bandicoot

"Alas! Alas! the Bandicoot!
His head's more piggy than his foot.
His relatives include a bear,
A wolf, a mole with golden hair,
An anteater, a wombat too,
A possom and a kangaroo.
And yet with such a lot to choose from
His choice is absolutely gruesome.

He says, 'I'll grow me rabbit's ears
And that will shame aunt wolf to tears.
I'll wear a long nose like a shrew
Disgracing cousin kangaroo.
And to annoy my uncle bear
I'll have a rat tail with no hair.
They'll call me The Australian Brute!'
Alas! Alas! The Bandicoot!"

-Charles Mortimer, Some Queer Animals and Why

Hear more of these excellent poems in person!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Check out this crazy sheep art - queer animals across the pond!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Resa Blatman

Our latest show is based on a fantastic collection of children's verses, Some Queer Animals and Why. Somerville artist Resa Blatman contributed five pieces to the exhibition.

Her work features birds' fanning plumes, glassy-eyed fruit bats and voluptuous gatherings of grapes.

Building off the relationship between ornamental and realistic, Blatman is all about visual contrast. She creates tension between the decorative Victorian and the contemporary surrealist. Her forms contrast three-dimensionality and two-dimensionality.

The result is something wild and sensual.

Mounting heaps of fruit, organic shapes, and gold pebbled dots promote a sense of womanly abundance and potential.

Animals and decorative design plucked from another time arrive in new, mystical settings that are beautiful, and at times, dark contradictions.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Awesome opening last night!

Queer Animals - a show that was conceptualized over a year ago finally on the walls - we were beyond excited that so many people came out for the opening last night!

Also, many thanks to The Phoenix for giving us some awesome placement!