Announcement: Wilhelm Neusser at Rijksmuseum Museum

Wilhelm Neusser, Woods (1530), 2015/2018, Oil on linen. 24 x 32 in.

We are thrilled to announce that Woods (2015/18) by Wilhelm Neusser has been selected for Long Live Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The exhibition showcases Rembrandt's impact on artists today across all media, genres and styles. Rembrandt remains best known for his mastery of the human figure, not just in his stunning self-portraits, but also in biblical scenes and those depicting bourgeois life.

Painters of the Dutch Golden Age are a constant source of inspiration for Neusser as he envisions contemporary landscape. Rembrandt’s The Stone Bridge, held by the Rijksmuseum, has hung for years as a postcard in Neusser’s studio. “Not in order to copy or imitate what Rembrandt was able to do with paint on panel (I couldn’t),” said Neusser, “but in order to draw from his incredible play with dark and light, the sublime mood and atmosphere in this painting.”

Around the time Neusser began painting Woods, he became enamored of a series of online lectures on Rembrandt by John Walsh, especially the art historian's emphasis on the Dutch master's technique and surface treatment. The forest landscape in Woods was determined by the nature of the painting material itself. According to Neusser, “the topography of the subject matter and the canvas became one.” 

Long Live Rembrandt: On view July 15, 2019 to September 15, 2019, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Landscape with a Stone Bridge, Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1638 oil on panel, h 29.5cm × w 42.5cm × d 5.5cm Image Courtesy of Rijksmuseum

Summer Preview: 5 Must-See Boston Exhibitions

Untitled, 2017 by Deborah Roberts, mixed media on paper, 30 x 22 inches. Photo Credit: Philip Roger. Image courtesy of  MASS MoCA

Untitled, 2017 by Deborah Roberts, mixed media on paper, 30 x 22 inches.
Photo Credit: Philip Roger. Image courtesy of MASS MoCA

1.     Still I Rise at MASS MoCA
On view from June 15, 2019 
1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247

MASS MoCA draws influence from Maya Angelou for its current summer exhibition, Still I Rise. The museum showcases various portraits of women of color, ranging from different ethnicities and backgrounds throughout history. The five featured artists include artists Deborah Roberts, Genevieve Gaignard,  E2 – Kleinveld & Julien, Gustave Blache III, and Tim Okamura. These selected artists have created their artworks through various forms media, ranging from photography, painting, collage, and installation. Throughout Western culture, the typical sitter for portraits would be that of a white woman, and in reaction to this common depiction, Still I Rise aims to incorporate the lacking portrayal of women of color throughout history.

2.     Ericka Beckman: Double Reverse at MIT List Visual Arts Center

May 24, 2019 - July 28, 2019
20 Ames St, Cambridge, MA 02142

Catch it before it closes; the MIT List Visual Arts Center is providing its visitors with a sensory experience through the mixed media works by Ericka Beckman. Taking concepts from her previous installations, Ericka mixes clips from various films and photography, with that of light and color. The artist’s interest in gambling and games, particularly with the video game Pokémon, are depicted in this exhibition - containing underlying social and political meaning. 

Switch Center  (still), 2003 16mm film, transferred to HD video, color, sound, 12 min. Photo credit: Ericka Beckman. Image courtesy of  MIT List

Switch Center (still), 2003
16mm film, transferred to HD video, color, sound, 12 min.
Photo credit: Ericka Beckman. Image courtesy of MIT List


3.   
2019 James and Audrey Foster Prize at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
August 21 – December 31, 2019
25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, MA 02210

Studio image of works in progress from Lavaughan Jenkins’ studio.

Studio image of works in progress from Lavaughan Jenkins’ studio.

This year, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston will hold its biannual James and Audrey Foster Prize exhibition. The museum has selected to feature works from four different artists: Rashin Fahandej, Josephine Halvorson, Lavaughan Jenkins, and Helga Roht Poznanski. Each artist will display their newly created works that range from sculpture, painting, video, and film. The purpose of this showcase is to emphasize the influence of contemporary art and to highlight local talent from the Boston arts community. Check out their website for their upcoming summer events and free admission days!

Interested in visiting Lavaughan Jenkins’ South End studio? Email us to schedule a visit! info@abigailogilvy.com

Nicole Eisenman,  Sketch for a Fountain , 2017.  Photo: Henning Rogge. Image courtesy of  Artforum

Nicole Eisenman, Sketch for a Fountain, 2017. Photo: Henning Rogge. Image courtesy of Artforum

4.  Nicole Eisenman: Grouping of Works from Fountain at the redeveloped 401 Park building in Fenway
On view starting June 2, 2019
401 Park, Fenway

Nicole Eisenman’s sculptural installation is now permanently on view at Boston’s 401 park, located in the heart of Fenway. Like her previous showcase from 2017 in Skulptur Projekte Münster, this set up reveals multiple large scale figures with missing facial features. Eisenman’s work is a lovely addition to the acre of greenery next to the recently developed office building which was bought and renovated by one of Boston’s local firms, Samuel & Associates. Her installation provides an interactive space for any of those who pass by. Additionally, her sculptures breathe contemporary life into the hustle and bustle of the cityscape that surrounds it, further encouraging people to pause and enjoy the artwork. 

5.    A Seat at the Table at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute
June 12th, 2019 - Spring 2020
210 Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125

Twenty artists have been selected to interpret and create their own seats for trailblazing women throughout history. These feminine influencers range from both the past and present. Our represented artist, Kristina McComb, has been chosen for this project and was given the task to create a bench in honor of Barbara Mikulski, the United State’s longest serving congresswoman. Come take a seat and learn about some of our states most powerful female leaders! 

Image taken by  Kristina McComb  of her bench from A Seat at the Table exhibition

Image taken by Kristina McComb of her bench from A Seat at the Table exhibition

Behind the Scenes of a Studio Visit

As a gallery, we are constantly inspired by getting out of the gallery and seeing art. Every couple of months we have studio visits with our represented artists to see what projects they are working on. Many gallery visitors do not get the chance to visit an artist’s studio (although we always encourage it!), so here is a behind the scenes look into our time with our artist Ariel Basson Freiberg:

Ariel Basson Freiberg’s studio, Somerville, MA

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery: Thank you for hosting us, Ariel! To kick off our questions, let’s start with your schedule: What time of the day do you usually feel the most creative and do your best work? Do you stick to a regular schedule or paint whenever you have time?

Ariel Basson Freiberg: Typically, I’m in the studio four days a week. I find I work best when I have a large chunk of time. I’ll take several short breaks, but with an 8- to 16-hour day I can work with the whole surface of the canvas. I prefer to paint wet into wet so that I can make changes swiftly. It’s a balancing act scheduling time between my studio practice, my teaching schedule, and my responsibilities for the Post Baccalaureate program in studio art at Brandeis.

AOG:  Do you have any daily routines that help your productivity? And/or any pre- or post-work rituals?

Ariel Basson Freiberg, Wasnowwhen, oil on linen, 42 x 34 in., 2016

Ariel Basson Freiberg, Wasnowwhen, oil on linen, 42 x 34 in., 2016

ABF: Music is an important part of setting the tone for my studio activities. Lately, I’ve been gearing up with a mix of Felt, Grimes, Kate Bush, and the score for Sem Mim of Grupo Corpo. I also do some quick drawings to warm up before painting. I see mixing color as part of “the making” stage. I don’t really have any post-work rituals, except the obligatory brush clean up and most likely will take a photo or two of the latest works in progress.

AOG: What type/how many brushes do you use on average for each piece? Any other tools?

ABF: I use ten to thirty brushes, palette knives, scrapers, rags, and sometime brayers/rollers on the canvas and panels. I love bristle brushes for impasto painting and red stable and synthetic for smoother passages.

AOG: When you feel stuck, what do you do to become inspired again?

ABF: Inspiration is vast and complicated. The ritual of showing up in the studio is key for working through delays and hiccups. Sometimes a conversation with a partner, friend, or mentor will spark the fire. Sometimes, it’s going to see art by my favorites at one of the local museums. Other days, it’s reading poetry, like the collection Twerk by Latasha N. Nevada Diggs. I also mine dance performances for new ways of considering bodily gestures. I attend one or two dance classes a week, and I incubate the energy generated there for the studio.

AOG: Do you ever use models for your poses?

ABF: Sometimes I invite friends to model for me. I usually make drawings, which then may or may not be used in a future painting project. Most of the time I do not use models. My relationship with the canvas is very intimate, and I find it’s easier to work without having to worry about a model.

Ariel Basson Freiberg, Pegasus, oil on linen, 48 x 36 in., 2018

Ariel Basson Freiberg, Pegasus, oil on linen, 48 x 36 in., 2018

AOG: Your work is often considered bold and vibrant in terms of color palette. What colors inspire you to most? Do you perceive any specific colors in a certain way?

ABF: Vibrancy and color contrast are most inspiring for me. Fields of toxic green with a whiplash of pinks is forever seductive. Sometimes, I want the figures in my paintings to live deep in a mono-color world like in Standing Ovation. The moments of chromatic shifts occur in the accessories, and small adornments in and around the body pushed to an extreme posture. For me, color imbues a great deal of meaning. I draw many of my colors from amulets from my family heritage, fashion advertisements, the glam malls I grew up with in Houston, TX, and the landscape of my grandparent’s home in Ramat Gan, Israel.

AOG: You come from an Iraqi-Jewish heritage, have you visited Israel and if so, what did the visit(s) mean for you? How did they inspire you?

ABF: Most of my extended family currently live in Israel and Montreal. All of my family fled Iraq in the ‘50s and ‘70s. My family in Montreal kept close to their Iraqi identity, speaking their dialect all the time. My mom was only three years old, and my uncle eight days old, when they left Baghdad for Israel. As refugees from a Middle Eastern country, it was important for the youth to embody “Israeli” culture. Since the whole family had to revoke their Iraqi citizenships, they had to remake and modify themselves, from their names and language to their behavior to assimilate to their new home.
From a very young age, I would visit my family near Tel Aviv. It was the place I was always accepted and embraced. I loved the feel of the red clay soil on my feet and the dumplings my grandmother would make, along with the sweet milk and date cookies. 
The will to make art is a feeble attempt at forging an understanding and unity between the high-contrast, surreal states of two disparate cultures: Texas and Iraqi Israeli. It took years to see how complicated our Iraqi identity was. It was privately fully embodied by my family yet publicly severed and veiled as much as possible. Only as a late teen did I realize I spoke two different languages when I thought I was only speaking Hebrew.

We were so grateful for the time spent at Vernon Street Studios with Ariel Basson Freiberg, thanks for having us!

Ariel Basson Freiberg, Standing Ovation, oil on linen, 56 x 78 in., 2018

Ariel Basson Freiberg, Standing Ovation, oil on linen, 56 x 78 in., 2018

Ariel Basson Freiberg, Double Twist, oil on linen, 48 x 36 in., 2018

Ariel Basson Freiberg, Double Twist, oil on linen, 48 x 36 in., 2018

Opinion: Top 3 Art Podcasts

A few weeks ago, local art advisor Hadley Powell posed the question on her Instagram, “what podcasts are you listening to?” Incidentally, she had also recently told me about the podcast Collect Wisely which has quickly become my favorite podcast about art. Hadley’s question made me think further about the arts focused podcasts I am listening to right now and why, so I thought I’d share:

1.     Collect Wisely

Host: Gallerist Sean Kelly
Who should listen: Anyone interested in the arts (so, essentially everyone!)

Image courtesy of @seankellyny Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BihpqlTny6n/

The podcast’s mission says it all: “in which we sit down with people who care deeply about art and discuss their passion for collecting. This is an initiative we’ve wanted to do for quite some time. In which we question the nature of collecting and connoisseurship in the 21st Century, and through doing so hope to inspire a new generation of collectors and individuals committed to making a vital and meaningful investment in our common cultural future.”

Each episode features an interview with a different art collector, with the featured guests ranging in age, heritage, gender, sometimes couple, Sean Kelly does a wonderful job of welcoming all to the art word. It is a refreshing reminder that some of today’s top art collectors started out buying $500 prints through multiple payments in their younger years. The Podcast serves as a unique opportunity to hear the stories of these art supporters directly, and that building an art collection can happen in many different ways that are only specific to each person. Thank you Hadley for the great recommendation! 

My favorite episode to date: Episode 8 with Jill and Peter Kraus

2.     Armchair Expert

Hosts: Actor Dax Shepard and his friend Monica Padman
Who should listen: This podcast is for everyone, but I would especially recommend listening if you are early in your career in the arts (artists, gallerists, consultants, etc!)

Each episode is an interview with a different celebrity in the entertainment industry. Dax and Monica navigate a casual conversation with their guest, ranging from starting their career, family life, mental health awareness, current projects, personal relationships…to many other topics I can’t mention here because our blog is G rated! The most important takeaway from each episode: being in an arts related field takes hard work, a lot of perseverance, and it will likely be a very long road to success – and that’s okay. I also quickly noticed a pattern in the success stories: those who kept an open mind and were willing to trying new opportunities outside of their comfort zone are most likely to succeed. It’s also a great reminder that many big name celebrities had very un-glamorous beginnings (think: unpaid extra in a scene where it is pouring rain, in Maine, in the winter). You will walk away from each episode most likely laughing hysterically, and also remembering that you never know where an opportunity will lead.

 My favorite episode to date: Episode 29 with Mila Kunis

Image courtesy of @armchairexppod Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bvt1ZwRFOX8/

3.     I Like Your Work: Conversations with Artists, Curators & Collectors

Host: Artist Erika B Hess
Who should listen: Artists, curators, gallerists, art consultants, and anyone who supports the arts

Image courtesy of @ilikeyourworkpodcast Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BvEhL9ZDUKa/

This podcast is dedicated to interviewing creative people who are both involved in a creative lifestyle and also in building community. Erika has a way with making her guests at ease and in their element, which makes the podcasts fun, interesting, and a great way to learn more about the behind the scenes that happens in the art world. If you go to her website, she does online features of artists in her Studio Visit section of her blog. This October I am looking forward to exhibiting the work of an artist at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery who I discovered on her website (so again, you never know what opportunity leads to something else!)

One spoiler: I was featured on episode 28, but I was listening to this podcast even before Erika asked me to be on it and already loved it!

Favorite episode to date: Episode 27 with artist Amy Lincoln


There are dozens of other amazing podcasts related to the arts, this list is just the top three I am listening to right now. Enjoy!

- Abigail Ogilvy