Unholy contraptions

By GREG COOK  |  June 23, 2010

Caleb Neelon of Cambridge often paints large, cartoony, patterned graffiti or murals, like his recent wall at the Chelsea Boys and Girls Club. Here, his smaller-format paintings — patched boats jacked up on stilts as if waiting for repairs that will never come — seem pinched. Derek Aylward of Dedham, whose paintings frequently have a fresh, illustrationy style, creates small boat reliefs that look to have been assembled from matchbooks and cigar boxes and stuck onto panels. They're somewhat cloying, but they do have a charming, jury-rigged feel.

"Sensed, Unseen" at GASP is a seven-artist show organized by painter Ashley Billingsley and featuring students and graduates of the Museum School. "The boundary where one thing meets another is neither here nor there," Billingsley writes of the show's theme. "It's both, a hybrid zone characterized by its simultaneous relation to and disassociation from the adjacent territory."

That's all kind of vague to me, but sufficient for a catch-all round-up that includes Sung Won Yun's photos of foggy, Icelandic mountains at the edge of the sea, Billingsley's painting of the backs of overcast apartment houses seen through a web of rust-red tree branches, and Wade Aaron's scrolls printed with Technicolor shadows of chairs.

The line-up is hit or miss. Among the more promising works is Faith Johnson's video documenting her performance Underneath. She rolls a plastic bag filled with water back and forth over her face, smooshing and smothering herself. It's ultimately a suicidal gesture. The disconcerting sight and sloshing sound might make you feel trapped and desperate for breath. And check out Anne Lilly's To Caress. If you pump the steel contraption with your thumb, a metal arm drags a row of needles over your hand with a curious, ticklish stroke.

Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

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  Topics: Museum And Gallery , List Visual Arts Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, MIT,  More more >
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