Together/Apart: reed, eucalyptus bark, 36h x 11w x 6d, $300
This piece was done at the beginning of Covid, in April 2020. The concept of together/apart was new to our idea of community interaction: by staying apart (6 feet apart, wearing masks, and not gathering in groups) we are united in keeping each other safe and well.
This idea was so foreign to me, I felt anxious and fearful. I needed a visual reference to ground me in physical understanding. What does it look like to be together and apart at the same time? Of course, at that time, I had no idea that a year later we would still be together/apart.
I used 2 different materials, eucalyptus bark and reed, to start with. Working on how those could be “together”, then breaking/separating, and returning to some kind of “together” again.
Coalesce: reed, 36h x 14w x 8d, $700
I have felt so helpless, saddened, and angered by the political division in this country and the racial injustice so deeply entrenched in our culture. Yet on inauguration day 1/20/2021, I was overcome with hope, with the possibility that somehow, we could heal from this. And I needed an image, a physical way to express how that might look, as a guidepost for my own understand.
Coalesce is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as “to grow together and to unite for a common end: join forces”. I began this piece as two separate shapes, and worked on how could I bring them together. It was very healing to weave them together, conscious of give them each equal respect and attention. I felt it was important to leave it open-ended, as we don’t have the answers yet, but there is a willingness to try.
I have long believed in the healing power of art both for the viewer and the maker. When an artist uses her thoughts, her reflections, her hands to construct objects expressing deeply felt emotions, some of the heavy power of those feelings are lifted. Thoughts and feelings are transformed into something concrete and this can provide a cathartic release. The appreciation of art from the viewer’s point of view is completely subjective and personal. Many are moved by the unspoken, yet visual and visceral expressions of the artist.
“Wounded Heart” was created during a time of grieving over losses and disappointments. My heart really felt torn, wounded and bruised both by personal losses and the losses experienced by my art therapy and mental health clients. As a therapist I learned of many kinds of losses experienced by my clients struggling with depression. The tactile experience of forming the paper clay heart with purposeful shredded holes and edges was extremely satisfying. Adding the mostly red paint and the shredded bits of burlap and thread expressed even more thoroughly my sadness and woundedness. I was able leave some part of my grief inside this work of art and my heart was eased as a result.
“Dusk” was the culmination of many walks at dusk to explore the area around my new home in Lexington, Massachusetts. I had moved east from Portland, Oregon after spending most of my life in western states with easier winters including Arizona, California and Oregon. The sadness of the leaves lost off the trees was softened by the beauty of the bare branches in the darkening sky. I learned to love the mystery of the slow transformation of that time of day in spite of also dreading the coming winter. One tree in particular appeared to me as a figure. I will let the viewer arrive at further interpretations of this painting.
Travel, home, observation
Fleur Thesmar came from France to the USA, her familiar landscapes and perspectives suddenly replaced by unending spaces.
Migrating with a whole family is different from tourism, where one could rely on existing images or texts to share a similar experience.
Instead, migration is a breakthrough into someone's identity, as implied by Claude Levy Strauss: "a journey takes place simultaneously in space, time, and in social hierarchy".
The connexion to objects, love or embarrassment, is rocked by physical relocation. When these objects start to have a life on their own, like computers or phones, the border between being observed rather than observers is blurred.
This huge change made Fleur reconsider what she always thought was natural, the perspective. The relationship between figure and background which was once stabilized through western painting, has become an incessant hustle of matter set in motion by invisible presences. The way one could record an experience becomes itself an investigation.
Since then, Fleur reflects on the "pictorial problem", the representation of space in a painting, and on the fact that some images may be required to build freedom and identities.
Fleur accepts commissions - especially portraits!
For years I have been enjoying artistic activities as part of a career in Urban Planning. Throughout the years I have had roles as graphic, interior, fashion, and currently urban designer. While being very satisfying, nothing has been quite so fascinating as the journey simply of art for its own sake. That is, taking charcoal, pencil, or paint to place on a surface an image that I see clearly in my mind for no other earthly reason than to please my self. If in the process I can awaken some special feeling in someone else, all the better. I am in awe of the human body and face. They never cease to amaze me .
Instagram : Ballerinaged
My submissions come from a series I started under lockdown that I named "interior landscapes." In the spring of 2020, inspired by an Urban Sketchers' movement and hashtag #uskathome, I challenged myself to get hyperlocal and sketch and paint views from within the house. Everything was game--dirty dishes, my makeshift office, mail by the front door that hadn't been retrieved and sorted yet. I practiced perspective on my front staircase, folds of the curtains, and shading on the knick knacks on the fireplace mantle.
I now have more than 30 interior landscapes, mostly of my living room, mostly from my favorite spot on the couch, and many featuring my dog, curled up nearby, given that I would sketch at the end of my day. I started with full blown watercolors (like "My Desk"), then transitioned to sketches with just a color or two (like "My Kitchen"), then simplified to just ink (like "My Front Hall"). Now, I am likely to go for a box of crayons. It's just that much easier.
I have shared my interiors with family, who did their own impressive versions, and friends and was buoyed by the feedback. While not everyone was sketching their bathrooms and bookcases, everyone was staring at them all the same. These pieces forged connections during a time when we all needed them.
Ian Todreas is a Belmont resident and environmental consultant with a passion for art. He sketches and paints watercolor on commission and on projects that inspire him. His portraits (both people and pets) and landscapes aim to capture color and character in the world around us. Ian’s work has been displayed in solo and group exhibits in Washington, D.C., and in the Boston area on several occasions and in magazines, websites, restaurants, cafes, libraries, businesses, municipal buildings, private collections, and most recently on a utility box.
@updoggallery – INSTAGRAM
I have been using old wood casting patterns to make assemblage images of flowers, animals and faces. These three new pieces reflect emotions that may well have become more common or intensified during the pandemic:
Feeling Empty—The concave hollow casting pattern, for who knows what piece of machinery or plumbing, looked like head and shoulders with “ear” flanges. The two alphabet blocks perched on the upper crosspiece of the antique frame have hollowed out letters that signify part of the title: M + T = empty.
Climbing the Walls—The main body piece looked like a turtle when I saw it on eBay, but when I received it, I found that on one side there was only one “leg”. So I added another, using a brass furniture claw, which made the climbing even more poignant. The head is another casting pattern, with the original red stripe at the top. The tarnished golden “eyes” may have been wood button feet for a long-lost box. The tail is an ornate antique wood finial.
Now What?—Two old wood casting patterns sketch an abstract head and arms making the title gesture, as though shrugging from the heavy Victorian walnut frame.
Even though these artworks represent negative or uncomfortable feelings, I smile when I look at them, especially the turtle climbing the walls, and so they lighten my mood. I hope they will do the same for other viewers.
I recently started assemblage/mixed-media art, primarily using old wooden casting patterns (that were used to cast metal plumbing and machinery components). Their shapes provide inspiration. Sometimes the pieces make me think of human or animal faces or bodies (a snail, a penguin), whereas gears and wheels can be repurposed as flowers—sort of steampunk. In one case shown in the Facing You exhibit, the old wood casting pattern for a bracket looked like a face, especially with the two-toned mouth; it just needed eyes. So I attached the round seashells for eyes and then added pointed shells on top to crown him a Sea King. (I also like puns, and in these art pieces I am “seeking.”)
I am a biochemistry professor at Boston University School of Medicine and have had five books of poetry published.
“Trapped in His Dreams” expresses my frustration with people who believe in conspiracy stories, lies that they swallow whole, and statements that have no basis in reality, and then act on this unreliable basis. It also expresses my feelings of being trapped, being in a cage, because of a dangerous epidemic that limits our contact with other people, venues, and locations.
My subject matter is plant life, landscape, and the natural world around us. In an increasingly difficult time, nature brings us to a peaceful place. I use watercolors to evoke a delicate sense of nostalgia, serenity, and beauty through trees and flowers.