Forever Temporary by Cassandra C. Jones

Cassandra C. Jones created a wall-specific installation on view at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery from May 3 – June 16, 2019. The title of the entire work is “Forever Temporary,” which includes a wallpaper installation and nine digital prints. While the bright colors bring you in, the work has a much deeper significance. Read more about the work from Jones’ point of view below.

Cassandra C. Jones in front of her installation, Forever Temporary. Photo by: David Guerra

From the artist:

In 2017, a massive wildfire swept through the small desert town of Ojai, CA. It consumed over 500 homes on the very first night and raged for over a month.  And while our home remained safe, the air around it became toxic and uninhabitable for many weeks.

All the modern day conveniences, and synthetics of our time, in all those houses, melted. They turned to acidic embers, bad gases, and nano-plastics, and then they rose up into the air, swirling in great plumes.  When they reached as high as they could go up in the atmosphere they gently floated down, onto our landscape, as the softest and smallest of relics.

I still struggle to describe the way the mountains that surround our home looked covered in a blanket of ash, knowing it harbored a legacy, of all the pretty things our townspeople bought and considered either temporary or treasures in their lives.  And even though the fire reduced their effects to the tiniest of fragments, many will still be here for hundreds, if not thousands of years. 

detail of Golden Torch, Archival inkjet on cotton rag pearl, 30 x 18 in. Photo by Chris Anderson / CDA Media

When the rains finally came, the tiny shoots of new plants coming up through the charred black earth looked like green lace covering the valley.  And the locals say that all the vegetation this year, in 2019, is more beautiful because the ash has finally seeped in and fertilized the soil.  A super bloom of color; flowers and succulents, cactus and perennials blanket the terrain. It's just like the smog that makes the sunsets more beautiful; it is so vibrant yet still spoiled.

I think about the fresh new wild cactus in the mountains, just coming out of the ground, slow-growing vegetation that will likely still be around when my children have grandchildren.  I imagine them absorbing and curling their watery flesh and spines around all those pernicious particles, like tree limbs sometimes wrap themselves around telephone wires.  All the sinister little-bits are part of them now.  For better or worse, those cactus will never know life without them. 

The beach ball is an object that I chose to represents the ordinary disposable possessions in our lives. It is pretty, shiny, and fun, much like new technologies, beauty products, food packaging, synthetic clothes, etc., And like all those things it is short-lived and replaceable. In whatever way our creations of this caliber are disposed of or destroyed, recycled or reused, the human-made ingredients that go into them are becoming part of our natural world, creating shifting waters, altered landscapes, and new gardens that are forever and temporary all at once. 

Photo by Chris Anderson / CDA Media

Sand: A Dance Performance by Victoria Awkward

Last weekend we had the honor of hosting local dance performance, Sand. They kicked off the weekend with notable press from The Boston Globe, The Improper Bostonian, and The Arts Fuse - so it came as no surprise it was sold out both nights.

Sand Performers at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery. Image courtesy of Victoria Awkward.

Sand is a dance performance organized and choreographed by visual and performance artist Victoria Awkward. It started as a trio and aimed to explore the nature of sand through dance. By interpreting “the loose, compact, and rocky textures of sand,” Victoria combines solo, duet, and full group dances to showcase the relationships between the dancers as well as their individual strong suits. Since the first installment, Sand has gone on to develop as both a film and a larger installment. It highlights five dancers; Joniece “JoJo” Boykins, a graduate of SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance; Tabitha Hanay-Reaves, who trains with the Boston Dance Theater; Michayla Kelly, a graduate of Goucher College in Mathematics and Dance; Kate Dube, a member of the Boston Dance Theater and freelance dancer; and Jessy Zizzo, an interdisciplinary artist focused in dance and comedy. This performance also features Tatiana Isabel, whose poetry contributes to the passionate narrative established in Sand.

With roughly forty people in attendance, Sand ran for forty minutes. Following the performance, Victoria Awkward invites audience members to participate in a question and answer session as well as an opportunity to meet the dancers. The purpose of the performance, as noted by Tatiana Isabel, is not only to explore the idea of sand in a physical way, but to “explore diversity and inclusion through the lens of a woman of color.” As an audience member, it was wonderful to see the way Victoria Awkward’s choreography was able to highlight each dancer as an individual, while also celebrating the importance of their movements as a whole and each member’s contribution to the narrative.

If you missed the performance this past weekend, you have another chance to view the show at Fountain Street Gallery in April, click for details. A huge thanks to Victoria Awkward and her team for putting on a wonderful show!

All images courtesy of Victoria Awkward. Blog post written by Kaylee Hennessey.

Press Release: Collected Stories

New artwork by Holly Harrison & Kristina McComb
December 19, 2018 – February 17, 2019
Opening Reception: January 4, 2019, 6-9 pm

“Flash,” Holly Harrison, Mixed media and found papers on wood panel. 30 x 30 in., 2018

Abigail Ogilvy Gallery is proud to present Collected Stories, a duo exhibition featuring new works by Holly Harrison and Kristina McComb. Both Harrison and McComb are drawn to the idea of creating a visual story that documents the passing of time. Holly Harrison is an artist, writer, and poet; appropriately, her artwork is comprised of multiple bands of imagery and collage, the layers work like stanzas of modern verse, with bits of meaning half-hidden underneath like symbolism and subtext. The work reads as a narrative when paired with Kristina McComb’s recent documentation of the Boston Athenaeum. Each photograph highlights the minute details of the books in the library, worn and weathered through age and use. Together, Harrison and McComb combine elements of past and present, embracing imperfections as means to tell a contemporary tale.

Holly Harrison’s Color Field series relates sections of color with elements of mixed media. This new series is a return to using stripes as structure In this new series, the bands of color are themselves the subject, contrasting with her previous work that was mostly image-based. A crucial element to Harrison’s work is the mixed media components, giving each artwork texture, depth and most importantly: an imbedded story. Often the layers include old shopping lists, vintage comics, book and magazine pages, printed papers, junk mail, her daughter’s early doodles, and pieces of her husband’s works on paper. These components are covered with a wash of paint, acting to join the disparate pieces and also to obscure their content.  What remains is an impression or hint, encouraging the viewer to look more closely. Harrison also questions the emptiness or fullness of each block of color, her draw to poetic forms leads Harrison to build her own organic shapes that push against an established boundary.

Kristina McComb’s photographs capture the hidden history of the books within the Boston Anthenaeum. As their artist in residence for the past year, her plan for this project was intentionally vague, allowing for the individuality of the books to catch her attention. As she worked, McComb deliberately did not interfere with how the books were positioned, only documenting exactly as she found them, the unedited truth of how they exist in the library. These striking photographs bring attention to the tears, folds, broken spines, and cobwebs that mottle their surface; celebrating their imperfections rather than shunning them. By freezing the books in their current state and giving them a new life through digital reproduction, she starts the cycle anew, letting the images age much like the books themselves have aged. McComb finds profoundness in the life lived by both the object and those who have interacted with it. Whether a single image or the series in its entirety, the work tells the story of a collection through intricate maps across the surface of the books.

“Boston Athenaeum 0008,” Kristina McComb, 2018, Photograph - framed, Ed. 1 of 10

Holly Harrison is a mixed-media artist living and working in Concord, MA. Harrison received her MA from City College of New York and her BA from Wesleyan University. Harrison’s work has been featured at galleries and museums throughout New England and New York such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Concord Art, and is held in private collections across the country and internationally. Harrison was selected for the 2018 and 2015 Artcetera Auction as well as the 2017 MassArt Auction. She was also the recipient of the 2014 Dick Blick Materials Award and the 2012 Attleboro Museum Certificate of Merit. 

Kristina McComb is an interdisciplinary artist from Western Massachusetts. She graduated with Distinction from Greenfield Community College, receiving her Associates of Science in Visual Art with a concentration in Photography. McComb also holds a BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Her work has been exhibited since 2014, most notably at the Brattleboro Museum and Arts Center in Brattleboro, VT, the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, and The Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, MA. McComb has also exhibited in galleries across the country including Manifest Gallery, in Cincinnati, OH, and the Mark Arts in Wichita.

Collected Stories, Holly Harrison & Kristina McComb, Abigail Ogilvy Gallery

Artist Spotlight: Daniel Herr

Daniel Herr, White Nights, Oil, chalk pastel, and collage on canvas, 56 x 56 in. Image courtesy of Lindsay Comstock.

Daniel Herr is an abstract painter whose expressive brushstrokes and vibrant colors combine to create dynamic landscape imagery. Originally from California, Herr has done numerous residencies internationally, completed his MFA at Boston University, and is currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY. His nomadic lifestyle lends itself to his artwork’s focus on place, where one comes from, and where one feels at home. His memories and experiences with places provide reference to his work. This is specifically visible in his piece, White Nights, currently on view at Abigail Ogilvy gallery until October 28th.

Herr reflects back to when he created the painting, “There was a bridge I used to walk across at night to my apartment in Cambridge from my studio in grad school. I loved the idea that I could wake up, walk over the river to go to work, walk back at night.” The nighttime view was mostly mundane institutional buildings, but at night they seemed to have a magic to them. The river was frozen solid all winter, and as he passed over the bridge Herr kept thinking about Starry Night Over the Rhone by Vincent Van Gogh, and the idea of creating his own personal version of the painting.

Daniel Herr. Brooklyn, NY. Image courtesy of Lindsay Comstock.

In regards to titling his pieces, he adds whimsy to his work by using what he describes as “absurd phrases”.  These phrases usually have a narrative quality to them, mirroring the story like aspects of his pieces. He explains, “I like the idea that the picture can tell a story, even if not a beginning, middle, and end. It's more like a title to a poem: it references something specific that the poem isn't saying directly.” Indeed, his art is a visual poetry: expressive, emotional, and sometimes ambiguous. Embracing this ambiguity, he describes his paintings as similar to multiple exposures, superimposed on top of each other.

He continues to expand on the energetic feeling of his paintings in what he is currently working on by creating a series of medium-scale paintings based on watercolor and quick sketches.

----

Daniel Herr received his MFA from Boston University in 2011 and his BA from the University of California, Davis in 2004. Herr has completed artist residencies around the world including the Molten Capital residency at Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago, Chile, Estudio Nónmada in Barcelona, Spain, and the Artist Colony residency at the Inside–Out Art Museum in Beijing, China. Herr’s work is now apart of the Inside–Out Art Museum’s permanent collection as well as having been exhibited in the United States and Chile. Daniel Herr lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Herr is currently part of a group exhibition at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, Nocturne, on view from 10/3 to 10/28.