I started taking photographs about fourteen years ago in Iran. We immigrated to Canada about twelve years ago and as years passed, I started taking photography more seriously. In fact, today I am more immersed in photography than ever before. I am currently a PhD student in electrical engineering and I spend almost all my free time away from the lab taking pictures. You will not find me anywhere without my camera and my philosophy is that if you take enough pictures, you're bound to end up with a few decent ones.Although I do not pursue a specific style of photography, I am drawn to abstractions. When it comes to portrait photography, I tend to only take pictures of my friends. I have found that the trust and comfort in the subject's eyes transmit through the photograph producing an effect which is not easily replicable with professional models. That is where my best friend and former colleague Emily Toomey comes in. In the five years that we worked together professionally and artistically, I took thousands of pictures of her two of which are exhibited in this gallery. The other model I can always rely on, especially in the times of physical distancing, is myself. So I decided to include a self-portrait, albeit it a rather silly one.
Navid Abedzadeh | PhD candidate
MIT, Electrical Engineering and Computer
As a portrait photographer, I enjoy capturing and illuminating the heart & soul of a person through my lens. Given little opportunity to speak as a young person,
I developed a unique way of discovering the character and essence of a person. With my eyes, camera and natural light I can express what I see and feel.
Nature is transformational for me, especially during this time: nature heals. Painting nature and then later experiencing the painting, for both me, the painter and hopefully the viewer, continues that healing process.
Being in the moment and experiencing whatever emotion comes forward when seeing and then the subsequent transcription, through art, of that emotion- that, for me, IS the way of authenticity and healing.
I make art to say something I can’t get at in words. To me, it feels like a journal that’s not a chore. I hope that people can relate to my work. I enjoy the process of being a teaching artist – encouraging growth while being nourished by the interaction.
I find that mixed media on a 2D surface is best for getting at my imagery. My work tends to straddle the line between representational & abstract. It’s inspired by the concrete world, but blurred into thoughts and feelings, or inspired by feelings manifesting in visual images.
This piece was done as I was starting the 2020 school year. After teaching high school art for 15 years, I was entering the remote world teaching grades K-7. I felt like the blind leading the blind. As nervous as I was, I knew that it was up to me to forge a comfortable path for these little ones. Creating this piece was is a way for me to set an intention.
Paul Beckingham is a contemporary realism oil painter based in New England. His work reflects a blend of nostalgic and everyday subjects, natural and synthetic, framed in dramatic light. Paul finds that capturing the effects of light in an ordinary scene elevates it to a compelling narrative. When combining light effects with a mix of impressionistic and photorealistic elements the results can be arresting.
Mostly self-taught, Paul has been tutored by Mark Carder and is currently being coached by Stefan Baumann. Paul is a member of Oil Painters of America (OPA) and has paintings in private collections in the US, UK, and Germany.
My painting is an inspiration of danse in continuous movement of colors. It is a language that expresses the emotion and feeling in some situation. The materials used and the movement of the brushes, lead me to overcome our new style of life that does not generate fulfillment and joy, for the ultimate satisfaction of feeling the beauty that surround us.
Colors are a communications tool, they exemplify music notes in my mind, offering a different way of talking about our feelings.
When I paint using my imagination and my feelings without following any rules, I feel I am free to surpass the current condition in which we live and join a stairway of transcendence into a higher realm. The magic of art allows me to enter in communion with the other side of me that secretely whispers its presence in the all natural yet beautiful simplicity around us all.
As a cosmopolitan artist having discovered many countries and continents, I enjoy pushing myself trying new things. My style tends to be figurative with abstract in some way and touches. My work explores what I see and feel from the natural beauty that is surrounding us everry day. I like the contrast of thick and thin lines, the shapes of objects. I have always been fascinated by the associations my memories makes with specific colors, and subsequently shapes the way emotions are conveyed through colors and materials in my paintings, as emotions play a central role in the making of the work.
This is my outlet from all stress. In my perspective, Art is all about being able to let my mind roam and creating visually appealing pieces. Being able to do what my mind whispers to me and expressing myself is why I love art. Whenever I am feeling down, art is there to let me vent, and to let me immerse myself in the land of dreams where imagination meets colors and shapes.
Were it not for the Pandemic I would have been in Europe. So the closest thing to being there, is for me to create art related to familiar places I miss so much. I selected 3 pieces out of many, where reality has turned into dreams.
- The Paris Art Market is from the view I have from the balcony off my apartment in Paris.
- Château de Rivau is in the Loire Valley.
I like to depict the essence behind the casually visible, hence all my works are portraits, whether cityscapes, landscapes seascapes or life scenes, using mainly water media, mostly watercolors and gouache usually making my own paint from powders, as well as color pencils. Before the existence of digital photography I worked also in film photography. Nowadays, with the advances in digital photography, I have been creating mixed graphic works blending my previous media with my own digital graphic photographic art, sometimes adding poetry I write.
For all works and commissions of portraits and special occasion pieces, please contact me at email@example.com
In my last decade, I've been working on a project called “Behind the Scenes, The Unsung
Heroes”. This series surveys a scenario of waste materials, organic and synthetic, industrial and
domestic, recovered from oblivion and finitude and brought back to a second chance at life. It
is a story of valuable leftovers - treasure trashure - redeemed from the law of consumerism and
What matters most to me is to deepen the relationship between humans and materials, the bond
that is established between people and the world of inert or discarded objects. I am also
interested in understanding how the eye of the people is able to go beyond appearances and
grasp a trace of experience, a possible story, or listen to the words still linked to things.
The leftovers with no more social value that I use in my works are a way to look at ourselves as
humanity reflected in a world of objects enslaved by the bulimia of the ever brand-new.
The project aims to be an examination of our current times where, hopefully, imagination and
building a renewed humanism can still exist.
"Bullets for Peace" is made of a bunch of used paint tubes - whether they may be oil, acrylic, or
gouache. These tubes have been working for me all over the years and I want to celebrate their
role as my partners in crime in this journey which is called art.
They express the idea that the only war humanity should ever fight would be the one that uses,
symbolically, “weapons” of art. Art is a tool of healing because brings peace, knowledge,
culture, prosperity to our societies and it is the best way to be in harmony with the world.
My work is about quiet, private moments where encounters with the spiritual may occur and compel us to consider the world beyond what we see and feel. I infuse my images with a loose narrative element that I pull from personal history as well as the beauty and absurdity of the world. The viewer is invited into these interiors and exteriors to sift through objects, colors, figures and spaces that invoke a sense of comfort and familiarity while alluding to the unknown that exists just below the surface. I begin with a vague idea inspired by my surroundings and through the creative process of exerting control and yielding to chance I arrive at an image that often presents more questions than it answers.
The three pieces I've submitted for your consideration were all made in the last few months after the most difficult year in our collective memory. With all the gravity and loss that we've all experienced and the severe disruption to our sense of normalcy, life has felt rather bleak but, there have been bright moments in the stories we share as well as the quiet moments in our own lives that seem to exist outside of all earthly struggles. The universe speaks to us in strange, subtle ways and we can experience a sense of magic if we can calm our minds and be present.
As a psychotherapist it is hard to know what is therapy and what is art for me. They both involve healing, and art is the one way I know I am able to explore deeper, more emotional elements while also having a wonderful time. The use of unrelated images in each piece is certainly about transformation as they come together to become something else entirely. During this past year I found it absolutely necessary to work in my studio. I truly believe it kept me sane and allowed me to be present with others who needed me as they went through their own struggles. I think that the worst things got around the world the more I felt compelled to create beauty, as if to balance it and make life survivable. I'm not sure what I would have done without it.
Cynthia Brody is a mixed media artist and psychotherapist in Lexington. For over 40 years she has combined photography and paint to create surreal stories about the women who are her subjects.
Facebook: Cynthia Brody Mixed Media Art
Instagram: Cynthia Moskowitz Brody
I like to work in various media including acrylics, pastels, collage, and fabrics. I’ve taken many classes and workshops over the years in painting, printmaking, drawing, pastels, collage and puppetry. Animals, nature, patterns, aboriginal art and children’s book illustration particularly inspire me. Some of my favorite artists are Jean Dubuffet, Neil Welliver, Peter Cis, Faith Ringgold and Romare Bearden are some of my favorite artists. I’ve been particularly interested recently in using animals in my artwork to tell a story.
This particular piece called “In and Out of OCD” was created during an OCD bout where intrusive thoughts and images came over me. I have been diagnosed with OCD and it takes this particular form. In my studio my eyes fell on a leftover print of a turtle I had done. The black leaves/grass pretty much block out the turtle and it represented the way I was feeling at that time: depressed and stuck inside my head. So I started making this collage to show how I felt. But I didn’t want it to be totally dark. I always go in and out of OCD so I wanted the colors and flowers to represent leaving OCD. It was very healing to do this because 1) it is part of my story, 2) I forgot about the intrusive thoughts when working on the collage and 3) the art work shows hope and recovery comes out of something painful.
Art Heals Statement
For me, irregardless of what is happening in my life or in the world, painting is always grounding and transformative. As an artist and art teacher, I tell my students that art saves lives. Art is self affirming. Creating art can reveal who we are, help us discover our past, our inner selves and where we stand in the world.
When I look at my art from this last year, besides my consistent theme of animals and humans coexisting, there is an uplifting sense of hope and growth. Although I depict symbols of waste, decay and human folly, there is an upward thrust symbolizing life potential and continuum.
In my art work I am aware of many contrasts, positive and negative, dark and light. Through my subjects, my color choices and design, I feel my art transcends the negative. I like to feel my work celebrates life force.
**Please contact me for Portrait Commissions firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Paula Brown
I have painted these pieces during the pandemic dreaming about places I wanted to go. Nobody can stop us from dreaming in our heads. This is the first and most important level of freedom – freedom of spirit. So much tragedy is happening right now in the world and we need a place for recuperate. If I can’t go to places, I paint them. Also, I exaggerate colors to help my imagination. Painting these colorful and peaceful pieces helped me a lot. I paint with my classmates from the MFA art classes over Zoom. I must say our sessions became essential for me. Our teacher, Paula Pittman Brown helps us to grow and evolve.
Facing the transition from work to retirement I was confident that I could keep busy while apprehensive about the unknown. What would replace the loss of the growth, challenge, social stimulation and purpose that I loved about my forty plus year career? My creative energy was necessarily channeled into work and family responsibilities for so many years and now work was done and kids were launched. I decided to take an art class as i had always been drawn to the problem solving that inevitably goes along with making things. I was quickly hooked and began exploring a wide range of visual art media, found joy in the process and just the fit I was looking for. I could never have imagined five years ago how much art making would nurture me while coping with the restrictions on life during a global pandemic.
The creative process makes me stretch myself as does the challenge of learning technical skills, manipulating materials and engaging in multistep processes to reach a satisfying outcome. Unexpectedly, relationships with family and old friends have taken on new dimensions as art makers and critics in the most constructive sense of the word. Other artists and teachers constantly inspire me. My subject matter varies widely and inspiration can come from both uplifting and sad memories and personal associations with places, textures, patterns and especially the images we encounter in everyday life.
The paper weaving, Won with Nature, repurposes an old Framingham town calendar page. It brings the viewer into the woods something I do at least once a week usually with a friend to keep myself in balance and which has proven therapeutic especially during personally difficult times. Call Your Mother is a mixed media piece with cyanotype collaged on a monoprint, a highly satisfying outcome for me as an artist. Since Mother’s Day occurs in the middle of this show I thought it was fitting to include it. This piece also brings me mixed emotions, the joy and sorrow of memories of my amazing mother who I wish I could call on Mother’s Day and everyday.
ELAINE HAWKES speaks on Art and Healing.
Cellist SARAH FREIBERG ELLISON performs
Special presentation by artist JOHN WILLIAMS
LIVE on Ch 96 (Comcast) Ch 30 (Verizon)