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

Artist Spotlight: Natalia Wróbel

Walking up to one of Natalia Wróbel’s paintings is like stepping through a doorway into an imagined realm that feels strangely familiar. Her current body of work, Portals, uses painting as an entrance into those moments that lie in between here and there. She opens this gateway through meditation, reaching into herself and filling the canvas with the worlds that lie behind her closed her eyes.

Portal II  (2015) Oil on canvas with white maple float frame 72 x 60 in

Portal II (2015)
Oil on canvas with white maple float frame
72 x 60 in

Wróbel in her studio in Somerville

Wróbel in her studio in Somerville

Originally from California, Wróbel found her way to the northeast when she studied studio art and art history at Dartmouth College. During her studies, she also spent time at the Lorenzo De Midici School in Florence, and since then studied at The New York Studio School in New York City. Her work has been featured in galleries and private collections all over the country.

Wróbel’s process is as spiritual as it is technical. Her Somerville studio is filed with books and plants, the walls are dotted with dripped paint from her works in progress. The space above her desk is covered with pinned images from her life, travels, and history that inspire her work. She draws from poetry, philosophy, her Polish-American heritage of strength and perseverance, and the idea of universal consciousness—that we are all more similar than we are different.

The image that comes through most clearly in her work is that of neural networks of the brain in meditation. This is the state of “relaxed attentiveness” and “whole brain connectivity”, when information flows most freely to nuclei. She begins every painting session with warm ups that energize her body and mind, such as reading, yoga, and dancing.

“Painting is about channeling and guiding energy in the visual, physical plane,” Wróbel explains. “It’s both an ethereal practice and one that’s rooted in intense physicality. I love this duality.”

Her palettes are based on her mood and intuition, and mixing paint acts as a meditation to prepare her for the act of moving her brush across canvas. The first strokes are her favorite, carving out the scaffolding for each piece. Every stroke captures her journey from beginning to end; the movement of her arms and the intricate dance of her process are rendered in the final product. Each layer deepens the world of her painting, drawing back the curtains that separate us from the space Wróbel refers to as Kairos: an ancient Greek word meaning “the uncounted moment”.

Portal to Kairos V  (2016) Oil Paint on Canvas 30 x 30 in.

Portal to Kairos V (2016)
Oil Paint on Canvas
30 x 30 in.

Wróbel uses a variety of painting techniques to express the duality she feels is intrinsic to painting. She lets dark and light, bright and neutral colors to play side-by-side, creates a three-dimensional landscape where flat brushwork and thick impasto meet. The effect creates both tension and harmony, which opens up little seams that come apart and crease together to form unique imagery. Impressions of the organic and architectural structures that inspire Wróbel’s work are interwoven within.

Every viewer is drawn to a different part of each painting, and sees something different in its scene as his or her own spiritual, emotional, and intellectual energy converses with the artists’. This is an essential part of Wróbel’s work. “In a way, painting is my version of prayer, a visual manifestation of my gratitude and practice of mindfulness,” she says. “I hope my paintings can serve as portals for the viewer to enter their own meditative Kairos.”

Natalia Wróbel's work is on view at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery from April 1 - May 1, 2016 as a part of the duo show, Liminal Drift.


Friday, April 8, 2016: Puloma Ghosh

Emerging Artists Coming to Our Gallery This Spring

This March, the Abigail Ogilvy Gallery will be presenting Dualisms, a show curated by Darkroom Boston’s founder, David Guerra. Here is a preview of three of the emerging Boston artists whose work you can look forward to discovering at our gallery this spring:


William Russack

A graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University’s combined degree program, William Russack has both a BFA in photography and a BS in environmental studies. His work addresses the relationship between nature and mankind, and the way humans attempt to control nature but also be a part of it. Using both traditional and digital photography, he captures the places where natural and manmade elements intersect, at times fighting for dominance, and at times existing harmoniously.

Kennedy Town, Hong Kong
Archival Inkjet Print


Daniel Barreto

Daniel Barreto is a School of the Museum of Fine Arts graduate who studies the interaction between humans and nature by using technology to create representations of imagery found in nature. He sees technology as an element that disconnects us from our environment, and therefore sees it as an intriguing medium for conveying his ideas. His work overlaps imagery of the constructed and the naturally occurring to highlight the ways in which they are tied together.


Eben Haines

Eben Haines is a MassArt-trained painter who deconstructs the classic subject of portraiture and human figure in ways that brings out the complex and chaotic aspects of their inner life. The object, the artist, and image present themselves simultaneously in his work, through layers of paint that cover and uncover the image in ways that reveal the artists hand and emphasize the history and emotional journey of the subject.

New Standard
Oil on Panel
38 x 48 in



Wednesday, February 17. 2016: Puloma Ghosh