Flowers in February

    Photos by Anita M. Harris
    February 1-28, 2010

    Lincoln Public Library
    3 Bedford Road
    Lincoln, MA
    Reception: Saturday, Feb. 13, 3-4:30 PM


    In this exhibit, I hope to share the joy I feel when discovering the amazing shapes, colors, and patterns of nature—and to offer a bright spot, an indoor garden, a few rays of warmth and hope, during these cold, dark, winter days.
     I’m especially pleased to be showing my photos in the Lincoln Library—where I’ve much appreciated the helpfulness and graciousness of the staff.  In return, I plan to donate a portion of profits from photo sales to the library.

    I hope you enjoy the photos, which are available for purchase from Anita Harris Photography (see below) or at the Town Hall Exchange, 25 Lincoln Rd., Lincoln, MA.
     I’d welcome your comments!

     ———Anita  Harris

    Anita M. Harris a photographer, writer, communications consultant and member of the Lincoln Library’s Write Stuff group.  Her photos have been shown at the Arlington and Concord Art Associations, at Harvard University and in the Boston Public Library. They have also published in popular and trade publications and seen on the CBS Discovery Channel.

    Anita Harris Photography 
    Cambridge, MA 02138

    New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish Harriscomblog and Ithaca Diaries blog.  


Kaddish, Morgan Paintings Metal, materials  and process bond the largely abstract  landscapes  of  Timothy Kadish (New Paintings) and Jessie Morgan (Night Tides)  in this month’s intriguing show at the Clark Gallery, 145 Lincoln Rd,  in Lincoln, MA.

Both sets of works provoke the viewer to ask–“What is this made of? And how  did the artist do that?”

Night Tides II, MorganMorgan’s  elegant abstract, monochromatic work appears, at first, to be photographic or  film-based  but the explanatory materials attest that it is acryllic painted on  aluminum or plexiglass–with wide brushstrokes seeming to form landscapes-sky, ice, water, snow, trees exhibiting  a  shiny, reflecting (and reflective?)  quality.  A few of the works use vibrant blues and greens.

Kadish’s colorful paintings– primitivistic, childlike and seemingly whimsical,  are full of Kadish Redsuprises–geometric shapes, animal figures, thick goopy coils of oil paint, metallic  oraments  painted, glued, stapled, pressed or otherwise  attached to the canvas…which isn’t  necessarily canvas.

Neophotosynth – 2009, for example, is an 80 x 60 oil including all of the above,Kadish-Large lead as well as  gouache, silver and gold leaf on silver-colored lead on copper that completely covers a frame .

The longer I stood in front of each painting, the more I found in it and the more I enjoyed it.

Both artists involved me in a process of  discovery that allowed me to absorb,  one step or  stroke at a time, how their concepts and motions brought their work  into being.

The exhibit is worth seeing.  It will be up through January 30.

—Anita M. Harris
New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish HarrisComBlog and Ithaca Diaries Blog.

Photo of Les Femmes du Moroque

Les Femmes du Moroque-Reclining Odalisque

Lalla Essaydi’s Les Femmes du Maroc  is a must-see. Today is its last day at the DeCordova Museum, in Lincoln, MA, but it will be soon travelling to the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum in Rutgers, New Jersey.

In her large-format photos of women in chadors, and, sometimes veils,  Moroccan- born Lalla Essaydi presents a beautiful and provocative challenge to  perceptions about Muslim women going back centuries.

The limited palette photographs in henna, black, and gray on white, depict individual or groups of women in chadors and, sometimes, veils, in poses or situations modeled after  paintings by great European masters, reproductions of which accompany most of the photos. Les Femmes du Maroc #4

But instead of  emulating the rich color and sexual innuendo of the paintings, Essaydi changes  gestures, replaces men with women, and covers much of the surface area with arabic writing–illegible even to those who know the language.

As described on the DeCordova Web site, These women inhabit a place that is literally and entirely circumscribed by text, written directly on their bodies, apparel, and their surroundings by the artist herself.

Les Femmes du MarocIn commentary provided through cell-phone dial in (difficult to hear because Lincoln has limited cell service)  Essadi explains that she wants to make clear that the work of male artists of centuries past has done a disservice to Muslim women by objectifying them as sexual objects, often in harems.

She points out that writing was a form reserved for men, and that one of the original  painting is so extraordinarily beautiful that one can easily overlook the subject matter: a naked woman being sold as a slave.

She brings up the difference between private and public space–that painters would never have been allowed into women’s homes, which were considered private space–but thought nothing of bringing women into their studios and showing paintings of them in public spaces–which were ordinarily reserved for men.

Les Femmes du Maroc #4 Essadyi also provides a complex interpretation of  “the veil”. On the one hand,  its use is sometimes considered a way of subjugating women, of keeping them out of public life, of denying them equality,  full citizenship. On the other hand, she says, she herself sometimes appreciates the veil and finds it freeing–because it protects her and her privacy from a potentially dangerous outside world.

Organized by Senior Curator Nick Capasso, Les Femmes du Maroc will travel to the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, January 30, 2010 – June 6, 2010.

——-Anita M. Harris

New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish Harriscomblog and Ithaca Diaries blog.

Last night’s reading in Lincoln went well.  People laughed. In the right places.

That’s Neil O’Hara, facilitator of The Write Stuff, my wonderful writers group, in the background. The reading was held  held  in the beautiful  Lincoln, MA, public library, which along with the Lincoln Review, sponsors our group and the occasional public event.

Other readers included Susan Coppack, Mary Ann Hales,  Ellen Morgan and Manson Solomon.   Here’s a link to the Write Stuff Blog, which, in turn, links to this and other write stuffers’ blogs,  courtesy of  blogmeister Geoff Moore.

Mark S. Hoffman took the photo. Thanks, Mark!

New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish Harriscomblog and Ithaca Diaries blog.

Ann Carlson and Cow

Ann Carlson and Cow

On a  recent visit to the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA,   I was amused at seeing a toddler sitting on a bench as he watched, with rapt attention, a huge wall-to-wall video of a naked middle-aged woman who was wearing a transparent raincoat partially filled with dollar bills, in a large, hay-filled stall. The woman seemed  to be trying to get the attention of a disinterested cow who did nothing for 8 minutes but chew its cud.  The toddler and the 10 or twelve adults sitting on a long bench opposite the video wall seemed fascinated. My friend Sheila and I were vaguely amused, but on the whole, thought the cow had it right.

Carlson/Strom: New Performance Video is composed of four room-sized video installations–the first major museum presentation of the collaborative work of choreographer and performer Ann Carlson and video instalation artist Mary Ellen Strom.

In what a DeCordova writeup describes as “elegant, sharply executed and humorous”, the artists present recent performance videos that serve as “critical re-evaluations of cultural and historical narratives”  fusing visually spectacular video and the medium’s legacy as a tool for social change. One video– footage of real lawyers mugging it up in front of an elevator,  is relatively funny.

Others, focused on “the moving body within a range of “lasndscapes:” the physical western vista, the economic terrain of late-capitalist America–Guatemalan workers on a beach, seemed sad, even tragic.

No doubt the  artists  are breaking artistic barriers, making important statements in order to get us think about society and our relationships to it. The videos are beautifully done–and maybe I’m being unfair, but I wonder whether, given the reality of life today,  Carlson and Strong might be telling us more about their own removed attitudes than than eliciting new understanding on our part.

The installation, curated by Dina Deitsch, is worth seeing, but Sheila and I  were more taken with”Face to Face, “ presented as a challenge “to our conventional understanding of portraiture by asking us to reevaluate the complexity of the genre and, by extension, representation itself.”

Face-to-Face/ Lebowitz-Young Dyptich

Face-to-Face/ Lebowitz-Young Dyptich

In a diptych, photgraphers  Dick Lebowitz and Tom Young show, in one photo,  three women on a beach; in the other, the photographer who is taking the picture. ” In another photo, “Karl Baden violates the singular ‘I’ by fragmenting his own body. Multiple mouths and eyese suggest that the human subject is a composite rather than a finite whole.”

I agree with curatorial fellow Nina Bozicnik that the images bring up questions of identity, portraiture and representation. But, meaningful as they may be,  most of the photos are actually fun/interesting/pleasing  to look at.

We had a harder time with Tabitha Ververs’ “Narrative Bodies, “ which includes sixty (!)  paintings and sculptures highlighting  ” the artist’s feminist engagement with tradition and myth. vevers_flying-dream_mary2

“Knives carved out of bone become the surface on which female perpetrators of violence throughout history are incised using the scrimshaw techniques.”

Work from a  more recent series of meticulous acryllic paintings on canvas challenges  gender roles by depicting women with tails,  “human” creatures with four legs and male and female anatomy, a mermaid with a split tail and the like.

Another series, exploring the relationship of humans to the sea, is painted on shells in an ancient and intricate Japanese tradition.

Vevers’ pale blues, pinks, peacAdd an Imagehes, and gold prolific are  lovely but the exhibit, curated by Nick Capasso,  is,  ultimately, disturbing–and no doubt, meant to be.

Sheila and I were most  impressed by a retrospective of the work of the late  Boston University  art professor Harold “Red” Tovish, (1921-2008), curated by Bozicnik.

Tovish self portrait-drawing

Tovish self portrait-drawing

We especially liked a display of six bronze sculptures showing the artist’s face and head in a range styles including cubism, surrealism and  what the DeCordova describes as “contemporary biomorphic abstraction.”

Our only disappointment was that by late Sunday afternoon,  the cafe had closed so we were too late to sip  peach iced tea on the deCordova’s lovely terrace.

But  the  provocative art, gardens, outdoor sculptures and view on this early spring day were well worth the trip.

The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park is located at 51 Sandy Pond Rd
Lincoln, MA 01773 781/259-8355. All four exhibits will be up through May 17.

New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group,