Quick Impressions: The Salon at Yes Oui Si

On Thursday nights I've been venturing into Boston, checking out art exhibitions and catching up with friends and colleagues in the art world before heading into a fiber sculpture class with Samantha Fields at the Museum School.

The first exhibition I checked out was The Salon at Yes Oui Si. Jordan Piantedosi drew me into this one. She was introduced to me through Alicia Churchill and participated at the first Walnut Street Artists Market.

Her paintings, mixes of psychedelic poster color, skewed pinup beauties from dreamlands surrounded by sensually organic flowing patterns (Sad Eyes Baby), and intriguing juxtaposed characters (Fun Tower), were well worth the visit. Her style, which is playful (not to be confused with simple or overtly cheerful) and really quite refreshingly lush compared to the many artists working in fine line, text and/or muted earth/fleshtone colors along side splashes of vibrancy these days, stands out in this exhibition.

I was also fond of the piece by Stephanie Terelak on the back left wall (if I remember correctly). You'll have to go there to see it yourself. I spent a few extra minutes looking at that piece. 

The whole show was chalk full of good work from the group of young female artists which also included Alexa Guariglia, Lena Gustafson, Kira Leigh, and Stephanie Terelak. I applaud the space for getting such a great group of young female artists together and producing a well hung show with almost 100 pieces of work, all very reasonably priced. I was very unfashionably early so I got to see the exhibition almost privately, but I hear they had an amazing violinist and killer opening packed with people as well.

The exhibition goes until March 9th, so drop in and check it out. It's about a block or so away from the MFA visible from Huntington Ave.

Yes Oui Si was a great space, with nice touches. Don't miss signing their guest list on the old type writer near the entrance. If you're old enough to remember having an electric type writer, the sound alone is worth signing onto the mailing list, but I expect to see many more good shows at this gallery and will definitely be back.

I regret that I don't have more to say about the work and specifically about the other artists at this time, as I only have about a half hour to absorb these shows and hadn't really thought of writing any kind of review until this week, which brings me to the next exhibition, Passions of the Soul at the Trustman Art Gallery at Simmons College...

To be continued...

P.S. Thank you to the artists of The Salon and the curators at Yes Oui Si for getting me out there and unintentionally spearheading this project. Looking forward to the next one. xo


Turbine Arts Socials -wth Joce, thought you were stepping back?

Over the past year, there has been a lot of talk in and about Lynn and its Arts and Cultural District.
Behind the scenes, there are city officials, admins, and community organizers pulling together a picture of what they would like the Lynn downtown Arts and Cultural District to look like.

We've heard that there are to be shops, and galleries, and artist live / work spaces (33 Central is on its way to being developed as an artist live work space), and more upscale restaurants and eateries. Thing is, none of it works if the artists aren't here making work for the galleries, and the buyers aren't here buying art from the galleries to keep them afloat, or if there are no interesting venues and supportive businesses for the artists. SO how do we get the businesses until we get the arts scene going, and how do we get the arts scene going without the businesses?

Luckily, we have Turbine Wine Bar, whose owner was a part of starting the Arts After Hours event series by running the bar, offering insight into how to run the events, offering his venue for the after parties, helping to promote the events in his establishment, and even auctioning off a piece of his own art work at the first Lynn's Got Sole event (which was purchased by the lovely Jennifer Adler of Providence). He has also jumped on board to host the socials. Once a month, Turbine Wine Bar is going to be hosting an arts social, to keep the artists connected, keep the buzz about the downtown Lynn Arts and Cultural District, which began at the Turbine Wine Bar with the EDIC's public meetings, alive and moving forward.

We had our first social last month with over forty people showing up for the night. It was a great turnout for the first event, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. This month, we have Dan Levine from Somerville coming up to lay down some beats for us while we network, socialize, have a glass of wine, etc.

Dan will be bringing a host of percussion instruments, from djembe to a digital drum pad and more, mixing it up and keeping it lively for us. I first met Dan when I was in grad school and had to interview a musician for a class. He brought his drums over, showed my kids a few traditional African beats, then busted out recordings of his own music. I got lost in the beats. He also banged on the djembe at my backyard graduation party, drawing applause from people hanging out in their yards all around my house. I can't wait for you to hear him play!

The trick of getting the arts alive is getting life into the district. We need to break the mold a little bit. No, we need to break the mold A LOT. So often, even the most forward thinking ideas fall into the same old trap of institutionalized programming. While we need to support that programming, as it creates a reliable backbone for the arts and entry points for people who need to still get comfortable with the arts as a staple in their life, we need to bring more innovation into the square. We, as artists, need to not wait to be asked to the table and make our own table. 

This next artists social, I'm calling you all to create the table. What is YOUR vision? What are YOU working on? Me, I'm working on getting back to the studio and focusing on my own work, but that's a solitary practice. I would love to bounce some of my ideas for my body of work off of ya, if you're up for it. I also went to see a few good shows this past weekend in Boston that I would love talk about with some kindred spirits over a glass of Kung Fu Girl.

After all of the work of the past few years with the gallery, LynnArts, and Arts After Hours, I've come to rely on the social aspect of the arts to fill my cup and keep me going.  I need the socials, and now that I'm doing my own thing again, I need YOU to keep me going. So, yes, I am stepping back into the studio, but I'm also not going to stop supporting or promoting those people who have supported me over the years, and I just can't go off into the woods and go hermit. That's not me, you all know that.

Some come on out and play with me! Dan might even let you tap on a drum if you ask nicely or buy him a beer.

For more info about the event, and to rsvp: go here



My grandpa's old movie screen, in the studio.

I went to see HUGO the other night with my movie club friends. HUGO is the film version of Brian Selznick's graphic novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. When the book first came out, I chose it as a book for my son's book club. I was fascinated by what the response to a graphic novel might be from a group of middle schoolers who mostly just read fantasy and classics. William loved it, and so after seeing the film, my husband and I brought all the kids for our first family theater outing. It went remarkably smoothly, even with the twins' repeated bathroom runs, which were really just excuses to get out of their chairs, stretch their little legs, and explore the theater.

I loved HUGO. I'm not a movie critic at all. If a film makes me smile, I like it. If it makes me fall in love, I like it. There are very few films that I don't like, although I am admittedly not a huge fan of anything with blood and gore, and I will pierce you with my nails if you are sitting too close to me during a horror flick. Films, like music, inspire me. They stir the wells and make me want to create, write, and reflect. They make me feel alive.

This film is the most recent one that really sparked my creativity. HUGO is a child of remarkable insight, curiosity, imagination and ability, who follows his passions with a sense of determination and responsibility, with no one guiding him, and in doing so, makes the lives of those around him better. He talks about about the world being one big machine and everyone being a part of that machine, and how no machine has useless parts, so we are all here to do something, to contribute in some way to the machine...

I have put my friends through the wringer for the past six months. I have been asking them to help me answer questions about my life, that really, only I could answer. Why am I here? What should I focus on?  How can I achieve my lofty goals and mother teenagers and preschoolers at the same time? What is my place in the machine?

One friend told me, "Jocelyn, you have to do you." Another, "Stop worrying about what people think you should be doing and do what you want to do." And yet others, all saying the same thing, "Stop trying to help everyone else, focus on yourself." And I wanted to, but I am a sucker for an underdog, and how do you not help someone when you know that you can?

And the best advice I got was this: "The best thing a person can do to help everyone else is to do what they do best, what they love the most, the best they can."

What I love to do most? To help other people achieve their goals, and work in the studio. It's scary to commit to solely focusing on the thing that you love the most. What if you fail? What then, is there?

Screw fear. I'm working in the studio, and going back to school starting in February. I figure it will be good to restart my studio practice with a class, since it will keep me focused, get me back into talking art speak, and get me into Boston on a regular basis, networking, hitting the galleries again and seeing others work more, all of the things I had originally planned to do as part of this journey. It will also keep me accountable until my studio practice habits are formed.

As far as helping other people achieve their goals... more to come. For now, I have to finish up the current things I have committed to, namely,  the current Arts After Hours Production I Love You, You're Perfect Now Change, then, I am jumping back into the studio HUGO style: taking my place in the machine as a mother, writer, and artist.