Abigail Ogilvy Gallery is thrilled to announce the appointment of Allyson Boli to Gallery Director in Boston, MA. Since joining the team in 2017, Boli has collaborated with gallery owner Abigail Ogilvy to create numerous exhibitions that support the promotion of contemporary artists in Boston today. With an eye for challenging materials, Boli seeks to engage the local community through new and interesting artists working in original media. Boli works to broaden our view of contemporary art through the exhibition of local and international artists, most recently in welcoming Oklahoma-based artist Rena Detrixhe to a solo exhibition in September of 2018 which led to reviews and mentions in The Boston Globe, The Improper Bostonian, Delicious Line, and The Arts Fuse. Additionally, her curation of the group show, Domestic Memory, earned the artists a review by Art New England Magazine. Boli’s dedication to rigorous exhibition programming and commitment to building collections new and established has been admired by gallery visitors and clients alike. Beyond supporting the gallery artists, Boli has mentored over a dozen college undergraduate and post-graduate students through the gallery internship program. She is supported by our newest gallery associate, Kaylee Hennessey, who joined the team in April of 2018. Hennessey is both an art historian and fiber artist.
At Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, we like to consider the quality of the work our artists are producing in a holistic manner. Our artists place heavy importance of each detail that goes into creating their work, from the caliber of the paint to the stretcher bars that support the canvas. Stretchers are the foundation of a painting: their quality dictates its longevity and durability. For this reason, we were thrilled when we learned about DoubWorks a few years back.
DoubWorks is a small business founded in 2013 in Royalston, Massachusetts, dedicated to creating handcrafted artist materials. They build each product from scratch, creating high-quality stretchers. Primarily, they build custom stretcher bars - including uniquely shaped surfaces, such as circles or ellipses. Their stretcher bars are made of poplar, which is stronger than pine but weighs about the same. Poplar also grows on the east coast not too far from the shop, making it an environmentally friendly choice. All of the stretchers are milled completely in-house to assure straightness. Because of DoubWorks’ exceptional process of handcrafting products from the rough lumber to the finished item, their artist materials have become highly sought after by artists across the country. One of our own artists, Natalia Wróbel, uses DoubWorks for her canvases to ensure that her abstract oil paintings have the support and durability they deserve.
Founder Joshua Doub was first inspired to start DoubWorks when he desired higher quality canvases for his own work. Out of this need, the business grew organically as Josh began making and selling his custom canvases to other artists. Josh designed and built his entire workshop from the ground up, even harvesting the lumber from trees cut on the property. Josh worked with a master timber framer to construct the workshop's wooden frame and with the help of friends and family. His business is 100% powered by solar energy!
As you can tell, creating quality stretcher bars is its own art form!
Visit their website for more information: https://www.doubworks.com/
Our intern Abby Lindsay sat down with Abigail Ogilvy and Ally Boli to ask a few questions about their co-curated exhibition, Night Swimming, on view this summer:
Q: At Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, you present both group and solo shows. Is the creative process for curating solo shows particularly different than for a group exhibition?
Abigail: Absolutely, each show is so nuanced in terms of how it comes together. Our recent solo exhibition with Anna Schuleit Haber happened very organically, the works were all in the Northeast (her studio is in New Orleans) and she was quick to work with us on the writing and promotion. For our current show, Night Swimming, Ally and I both researched, met with artists, and discussed who would be the best fit. We were excited to exhibit a few new artists this summer, and are very pleased with how the show turned out.
Q: How long did it take to plan this exhibition? How far in advance did you start preparing for Night Swimming?
Abigail: Each exhibition varies, but for this particular exhibition it took just over a year of planning, studio visits, and selection of the artwork.
Q: How did you come up with the title, Night Swimming?
Abigail: Ally picked it! So I’ll let her explain.
Ally: I felt Jenna Pirello's piece Night Swimming encapsulated elements of other artists work, visually it references the black background of Donna Moylan's work Twelve Twelve, as well as the fluidity of Natalia Wróbel's work. Austin Eddy also reference's swimming and nighttime in a few of his titles such as, Four Birds, Two Boys, Lake Floating Late at Night in Spring and Two Birds, One Flag Bearer Swimming Down Stream Past a Tunnel.
Q: You are showing Austin Eddy’s artwork for the first time, what drew you to his work initially?
Abigail: I saw Austin’s work in an exhibition in June 2017. We were attracted to his work for the same reason we exhibited each painter in this show. Like all of the artists on view, Austin has a unique and interesting process, is hardworking, smart, and an incredibly talented artist. For Austin specifically, I was initially attracted to his use of basic geometric forms as building blocks for his paintings.
Ally: Abigail showed me his work and I loved his use of texture.
Q: Austin Eddy, Donna Moylan, and Jenna Pirello are originally from the Boston area, and Natalia Wróbel worked in Boston until last year. Did this impact your decision to feature them together in this exhibition?
Abigail: Isn’t it interesting how they all have ties to Boston? That was a complete accident, we actually didn’t even notice until we were finalizing their bio pages on the website!
Q: You represent Natalia Wróbel, and have featured her paintings in previous exhibitions at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery. How did you decide which of her works to include in Night Swimming?
Abigail: Natalia is constantly pushing herself to create new work and go outside of her comfort zone artistically. When she does so, a new series is born and it is amazing to watch her work grow and develop. This new work was created during her artist residency at the Berlin Art Institute in Germany this past fall, and this show debuts these works in Boston.
Q: The paintings featured in Night Swimming explore the imaginary using both figuration and abstraction. What effect do you think this has on the audience?
Abigail: Our goal is always to create interesting exhibitions in which visitors want to spend a lot of time with each artwork. The works in Night Swimming really cannot be understood with a quick glance, the audience is forced to slow down. It’s been wonderful to watch our visitors take in the work from a distance, and then get close and analyze the details.
Ally: I hope it inspires our audience to ask questions, whether to themselves, their friends, or to me!
Q: What does a typical installation day look like for you?
Abigail: I absolutely love install week! Well, it is really a two day period. It may come as a surprise, but I am typically the person who de-installs the previous show (taking down the works), and then I retouch the walls with spackle and bright white paint. When the walls are blank and ready for the next show, there is so much opportunity on the horizon! Usually de-install takes a day and then we install the next day, we like efficiency.
Ally: And a couple trips back and forth between the gallery and Home Depot!
Q: What would you say is the hardest part of coordinating an exhibition?
Abigail: Ah, I hate that question! To answer the reverse of that question, my favorite part is when the first artwork is hung and we are on our way to having a show!
Ally: It's hard to pinpoint, each exhibition presents its own set of unique challenges which is part of what I love.
Q: Any upcoming shows you are excited about?
Abigail: I think our programming in 2018 has been our strongest in the gallery history – and we have a powerhouse roster of artists exhibiting this fall. Starting with Rena Detrixhe’s installation of Red Dirt Rug in September and ending with our first solo exhibition by Natalia Wróbel in November!
Ally: All of them - go check out our upcoming exhibition page to take a peek what's next.
Jenna Pirello is a contemporary painter that emphasizes the idea of process. In her most recent works, Pirello uses wood panel to transcend the traditional idea of a frame and creates an imperfect ground to work on. The organic nature of the wood panel reflects the unpredictability of the paint, which moves organically, resulting in vibrant, abstract pieces. A close look at Pirello’s painting Don't Touch Me- I'm a Real Live Wire reveals meticulous tracing that brings specific forms to the forefront. This painting reads almost as an abstract landscape; through color, Pirello establishes separate grounds reminiscent of a serene environment. This serenity is then challenged by the bright oranges throughout the painting that suggest an underlying urgency. Jenna Pirello creates a beautiful unity throughout her work through repetition of material and process.
When looking to expand the scale of her work, Pirello started using house paint during her undergraduate career. She explored unconventional ways of working, once using a mop on extremely large canvases. Pirello typically worked in acrylic because it allowed her to manipulate larger batches of paint. She notes that “there were years of just trial and error, getting a feel for what paint is capable of.”
Pirello generally describes herself as a process-based painter, often spending weeks drawing in order to develop an idea or temperament. The bulk of the decision making, however, is made in reaction to what the paint itself is doing. Describing her process as "a series of methodical excavations. Treating my body as a shapeshifter, I move rhythmically to change the pace, pressure and intention through various ways of touching the surface". She simultaneously uses intention and spontaneity together in order to build a dynamic image. Often spending 10 to 11 hours in the studio at a time, Pirello pursues certain tones, moods, and sensations in her work.
When choosing her titles, Pirello typically pulls from song titles, lyrics or lines from poetry. She has always learned through touch and the manipulation of materials and notes that “painting is the ultimate way to study the world and absorb as much information I can in order to put it back into my work.” With a background in art history, Pirello has been able to study a range of artists over the years, but draws the majority of her inspiration from her experiences with nature, music, and movies. She works rhythmically to change the pace and sensation of her paintings, similar to the sensations created by listening to a song or viewing a film.
When not in her studio, Pirello paints murals for Odili Donald Odiata. Often traveling 3 to 4 times a year around the country, and even the world, spending approximately 6 weeks on each mural. This opportunity has provided Pirello the chance to see cities that she probably would have never visited. While on the road, she focuses on drawing ideas for her own artworks.
Jenna Pirello received her BFA in painting and sculpture from Boston University in 2011, then went on to earn her MFA in painting from Yale University in 2014. Jenna was born in Newton, MA and grew up in the suburbs of Boston. She was recently granted a Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship from Provincetown MA, where she also exhibited in a solo fellow show titled Slow Disco in 2018. Jenna Pirello’s paintings will be on view from June 7th – August 19th, 2018 at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery.