The intersection of the personal, political, public and private spaces.
In creating the collages, paintings and sculpture for this
exhibit, Weathersby and Hull deliver an interesting look at art
making, conceptual art and the fun you can have being serious
about both. The work is built on ideas, journals, habits, and
the neighborhoods and buildings that are important to Boston's
cultural community. The two artists investigate what they want
to curb in themselves: one is compulsive and introverted and
the other is too political and extroverted (at least as far as
each artist is concerned).
Douglas Weathersby makes a personal, psychological process of sublimation into an action which transforms an everyday observation or repeated form into a visually interesting pattern or (hopefully) a work of art. The hundreds of patterns, words and images are as varied as the things used to create them: an old typewriter, ink, ball-point pens, stencils, xeroxes, carbon paper, paint and varnish. The size of the works on paper, however, is remarkably consistent -- everything is 8 1/2 by 11 inches. Notes, lists, poems and observations inundate these patterns and connect the artist to each piece. In his paintings, some large, some small, Weathersby is mixing what the artist can control with looser organic mixtures of fluid paint and varnish that are less controllable. Deep, semi-transparent fields of color are punctuated by various small grids of marks stenciled from the works on paper. The rigid detail of the grids emphasizes the movement of the deep background space like a set of buoys straining against the current.
James Hull reverses Weathersby's movement from the artist's
private internal space to the public space of the gallery by starting
with a larger even more public setting: a map of the city of Boston.
From there he zooms in on a couple of specific neighborhoods --making
the gallery seem small and personal ("you are here")
by comparison. In related works, mapped areas of a dense concentration
of artists or exhibition spaces are circled, connected and abstracted
into "collaborative" shapes. Specific buildings are
separately represented by delicate pencil renderings, reminiscent
of real estate ads, as they appear to a visitor from the street.
To personalize the aerial maps and sketches further, Hull creates
wooden models, at an even larger scale, of typical building styles
from the areas featured.
The importance to both artists of the gallery site reveals the "dirty little secret" of the work on view: it is art about art - and art making. The act of creating and exhibiting, echoed by the act of viewing and experiencing the artwork is a cycle which starts out private, moves into a public space and then brings the public into the private world of the artist. The result in all the work is a less esoteric and more beautiful composition than one would expect, scientific and studied and invigorated with a palpable energy.