Artist Spotlight: Caron Tabb

Hollow Through My Core  (2015) Acrylic and charcoal on canvas 48 × 30 in

Hollow Through My Core (2015)
Acrylic and charcoal on canvas
48 × 30 in

Caron Tabb’s paintings are born from a continuous stream of energy, flowing from her emotional core, through her body, and onto the canvas. Each piece is a series of choices—technique, material, color, line—which come together in an emotive composition that elicits a unique visceral response from each viewer

Tabb sees the canvas is a fluctuating, enduring surface. She compares it to the hair she lost in overcoming cancer as a teenager: something that can be regrown, reimagined, and reclaimed again and again as she paints. Her canvas has the ability to take in everything she throws at it, and transform her raw feelings into something productive and beautiful.

Having studied fashion design, Tabb brings an openness to alternative materials into her work. She explores a number of techniques, many of which incorporate natural, eco-friendly materials. She has been recently experimenting with rust dyeing, a technique in which the oxidization of rust transfers over to paper or fabric using tannins. Tea, wine, vinegar, even ocean water, can all be used to transfer rust in unexpected ways, imparting the soft, earthy colors of patina.

“I have a great appreciation for what elements do to materials,” Tabb explained. “The wind, the water, the rain, rust—you almost capture a moment in time. You never know what you’re going to find.”

Window of Tolerance  Pastel, acrylic and charcoal on paper

Window of Tolerance
Pastel, acrylic and charcoal on paper

Tabb’s paintings all, in a way, carry that theme of capture. She works with her canvas on the floor, moving around it with her entire body to make bold marks. She captures movement, time, and above all, the mental and emotional state of the artist at that specific time—something that she will never experience in quite the same way again. That is the part of the magnetism of her work: it draws something out of its audience that is familiar, and yet impossible to experience again in any other context.

Many of her pieces have specific context for herself as well. “Window of Tolerance”, for instance, is everything about a loved one who was suffering from severe depression several years ago, and the process they went through together in coping with it. It refers to the psychological term “window of tolerance”, which teaches people who suffer from deep-seated negative thinking to expand their capacity to tolerate such feelings. Instead of being consumed, they work through these thoughts—expand their window of tolerance for them.

To Tabb, this open conversation about mental and emotional health is important in her work. She allows her paintings to display these concerns in plain sight to be understood and accepted. As these concerns evolve, and her relationship with them shifts, her paintings change along with it.

“He’s doing great by the way,” Tabb breaks a smile after this difficult conversation. “Which, by the way, is the reason why there’s so much more color in my work now.”

Caron Tabb's studio in Newton, MA

Caron Tabb's studio in Newton, MA

Caron Tabb’s work is above all, about being fearless. Fearless about her techniques and her materials, fearless about where her process will take her and what she will discover along the way, and fearless about how much of herself is laid out within it. This assertive approach is what allows her to create identifiable work that the viewer can respond to.

“There’s no downside to being bold. I just go, and there’s something very liberating about that. I feel like I’m just getting going, like I’ve just begun to peel away from the surface.”

Be sure to experience Caron Tabb’s recent work in Abigail Ogilvy Gallery’s summer group show, The Tides, opening Thursday, July 14, 2016.


Wednesday, June 22: Puloma Ghosh

Weekender: New England Contemporary Art Outside Boston

The summer months are a great time for discovering what New England has to offer outside of Boston. Every state has beautiful wilderness, historical cities and towns, and a rich arts culture. Here are six museums we recommend you visit on your weekend trip:


Courtesy of the Aldritch Contemporary Art Museum

Courtesy of the Aldritch Contemporary Art Museum

The Aldritch Contemporary Art Museum

Ridgefield, CT: A beautiful colonial town at the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains.

The Aldritch Contemporary Art Museum have 9-month exhibitions best enjoyed in the summer due to their outdoor sculpture garden. Currently they are host to four solo exhibitions all centered around the idea of place. David Brooks, Kim Jones, Peter Liversidge, and Virginia Overton present site specific commissions ranging from drawing to sculpture and performance.


Image courtesy of Portland Press Herald

Image courtesy of Portland Press Herald

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art

Rockland, ME: A historical lobster-fishing town home to many young artists.

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art is opening their brand new facility in Rockland, ME in the last week of June. The building has a striking sawtooth design by architect Toshiko Mori, and moves the museum to a central location in downtown Rockport, walking distance from the Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center. Their inaugural exhibitions will feature altered photographs by Rollin Leonard, small-scale oil paintings by Alex Katz, and site-specific installations by Jonathan Borofsky.


Richard Nonas Image Courtesy of Mass MoCA

Richard Nonas
Image Courtesy of Mass MoCA

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art

North Adams, MA: An artistic and musical hub located in the northwest corner of the Berkshire Mountains.

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) is a sprawling manufacturing plant turned museum, currently home to nine unique contemporary exhibitions. Richard Nonas' exhibition of existing and site-specific sculpture, The Man in the Empty Space, currently spans through Mass MoCA's Building 5, a window-lined warehouse nearly a football field's length.

New Hampshire

3S Artspace

Portsmouth, NH: The nation's third-oldest city on the mouth of Piscataqua River, which divides New Hampshire and Maine.

The 3S Artspace is a contemporary gallery in Portsmouth, NH. Along with art, they are also host to musical performances and film screenings. Open through end of June, Welcome to the Bobhouse by Rachelle Beaudoin is comprised of new pieces, performances and video in a mobile studio space.


Rhode Island

Image courtesy of RISD Museum

Image courtesy of RISD Museum

The RISD Museum

Providence, RI: The capital of Rhode Island, situated at the mouth of the Providence River, and home to Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University.

The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum has a diverse collection of art and is distinguished by its relationship with RISD, one of the top art and design schools in the country. Their current exhibition is features the 1990's runway opus of fashion designer Todd Oldham, comprised of 65 full ensembles.


Cal Lane Image courtesy of courtesy of Burlington Center for the Arts

Cal Lane
Image courtesy of courtesy of Burlington Center for the Arts

Burlington City Arts

Burlington, VT: A picturesque mountain valley ski town on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain.

The Burlington City Arts (BCA) has three floors of contemporary gallery space that foster Burlington's relationship with arts and community. The BCA is currently exhibiting metalwork by Cal Lane, geometric painted sculptures by Clark Derbes, and a duo show with Nissa Kauppila and Erika Lawlor Schmidt, which plays on the balance between matter and space.


Thursday, June 2, 2016: Puloma Ghosh

Artist Spotlight: Julia S. Powell

Julia S. Powell’s oil paintings, teeming with lively brushstrokes and mottled with vibrant color, depict scenes that can’t be found anywhere on Earth, but carry the essence of the natural world within them.

Julia Powell in studio working on  Birch  series

Julia Powell in studio working on Birch series

Powell lives in Maine for one month every year, enveloped in New England’s rich wilderness. She passes her time exploring, taking pictures, and absorbing the imagery around her. The elements which are essential to her work are also essential to the Northeastern landscape: wood and water.

Powell paints many iterations of her chosen subjects, experimenting with composition and colors each time. Birch and Ironbound are examples of such work, each series comprised of ten or more approaches to the focal theme. Over time, she plans to paint hundreds of paintings of the same subject, spanning many years of study and capturing the evolution of her technique.

Yet rather than trying to create realistic renditions of these subjects, Powell is more concerned about conveying the feelings she experiences when surrounded by nature. “As soon as you enter the piece, you are transported to some kind of place outside, in nature,” she explains. “I try to navigate a line between realism, abstraction, and impressionism, because I think a realistic painting doesn’t actually transport people the way this mixture does.”

While there is a place in Maine called Ironbound, where a series of rock formations meet the sea, there is no place along its coast that provides the vistas of Powell’s Ironbound series. Maine’s Ironbound has black rocks that meet the dark greens of the north Atlantic. Powell’s Ironbound have coves of clear blue water reflecting brilliant rock faces of misty white-gray, gold, pink, and rich cobalt.

Ironbound 3 ( 2016) Oil on canvas 30 x 40 in

Ironbound 3 (2016)
Oil on canvas
30 x 40 in

Ironbound 3 departs from her fondness of thick, layered paint, and form cliffs where the paint is scraped away and etched by palette knife, the white of her first coat peeking through. The effect reveals rock formations reminiscent of the bark in her Birch series. Meanwhile, Ironbound 6 features a sun-kissed cliff face that appears almost jeweled. Inspired by the warm hues of the Grand Canyon, Powell juxtaposes the fiery western desert with lush forestation and deep blue waters of the Eastern coast.

Ironbound 6  (2016)   Oil on canvas 30 x 40 in

Ironbound 6 (2016)
Oil on canvas
30 x 40 in

Powell’s work seeks to highlight environmental issues without overly politicizing the subject. From her perspective, among modern world conflicts, environmental concerns take a backseat in our everyday attention. Meanwhile, the planet is melting. By contemporizing landscape painting, Powell brings the subject of nature into modern appreciation, in hopes of capturing the viewer’s attention long enough to consider what we may have to lose in the world we inhabit.

Ultimately, Powell wants to create a connection between the viewer and nature that can’t be accessed through any other perspective—not even our own eyes. Through her paintings we can experience not only a representation of its beautiful features, but also the emotional experience of being surrounded by nature, lost somewhere between the sea and the sky.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016: Puloma Ghosh

4 Local Art Magazines You Should Be Subscribed To

1.     Art New England

Art New England is one of the region’s best sources for contemporary art for the past quarter of a century. It releases a bimonthly print magazine that features contemporary art news and trends, columns on different artistic mediums including film, theatre, festivals, and public art, as well as gallery reviews and artist profiles. It has a both a print magazine and an online component, and has the longest history with New England culture out of these four magazines. Check the back section for local gallery and museum exhibitions.

March/April 2016, January/Februrary 2016, and November/December, 2015 issues

March/April 2016, January/Februrary 2016, and November/December, 2015 issues

2.     Take Magazine

Take Magazine is New England’s newest art magazine, focused on the creative community making New England culture happen. It’s design is contemporary and eye-catching, making its print magazine worth investing in. It’s content fully encompasses all aspects of culture, covering a broad range of topics, from visual arts, music, and design to fashion and food.  They have a bimonthly print issue and online articles organized by state.

February/March 2016, December/January 2015-2016, and October/November 2015 issues.

February/March 2016, December/January 2015-2016, and October/November 2015 issues.


3.     Artscope Magazine

Artscope Magazine is a bimonthly culture magazine that has been running for nearly a decade. It covers galleries and museums from Maine through Connecticut with reviews and profiles of artists and exhibitions throughout the year. Its magazine subscription is available in multiple formats, including print, tablet, and mobile, making it a convenient read. It also has an online component and an active events and exhibits calendar.

January/February 2016, May/June 2015, and Janurary/February 2015 issues .

January/February 2016, May/June 2015, and Janurary/February 2015 issues.


4.     Big Red & Shiny

Big Red & Shiny is a bright, clean website which hosts essays, profiles, interviews and reviews of contemporary art around Boston. Big Red & Shiny is a nonprofit dedicated to creating meaningful discourse within the Boston arts community, and is run by a fully volunteer staff. After a short hiatus, they’ve returned with a regularly updated website, listings, and an events calendar managed by individual Boston galleries. This magazine is also free to access and subscribe!

And if don't already follow our blog, subscribe below for email updates!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016: Puloma Ghosh