See me, feel me

‘Please Touch’ at GASP, NESAD prize winners, and the PRC Mother’s Day benefit
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  May 9, 2006

Edward Monovich, Scratch N’ Sniff

Andy Warhol’s paint-by-numbers works from the early 1960s — “Do It Yourself (Seascape),” “Do It Yourself (Sailboat)” — made ironic comment on the emotional overload of then-dominant Abstract Expressionist painting; his wry, dry replication of the popular 1950s painting “kits” was complete down to the black-outlined spaces he left white, filled only with a tiny printed numeral indicating which color the artist should select. But whereas Warhol was facetious about inviting viewers to jump in and finish his works themselves, Edward Monovich and friends are 100 percent sincere. Monovich is the curator of, and a participating artist in, “Please Touch,” which opens at GASP on May 19, a show with work by seven artists or artist teams that’s participatory, interactive, or open-ended or otherwise rewards viewers willing to hazard their own contributions. You can put on masks and feel the power inspired by the characters in Siona Benjamin’s paintings, which are based on images drawn from the tantric art of ancient India, Byzantine icons, and Jewish religious art. You can shake snowdomes created by the artist team Ligorano/Reese. You can take home souvenir postcards created by Leeza Doreian, who depicts neighborhoods not found on tourist maps, with details of their local histories on the back. Monovich even invites you to write or draw directly on his own wall mural.

The Stephen D. Paine Scholarship was established by the Boston Art Dealers Association in 1999, in memory of a passionate art and art-education supporter, and grants from this fund are awarded annually to students entering their final year of training in Boston-area undergraduate studio degree programs. This year, for the first time, an expanded exhibition of work by contestants will be shown at New England School of Art & Design in “The 2005 Stephen D. Paine Scholarship Exhibition,” which opens May 18. Curated by NESAD assistant director of exhibitions James Manning and selected by discerning MFA assistant curator William Stover, the show has work by scholarship winners Tricia O’Neil and Mark Chariker and finalists Lily Brooks, Sean Carroll, Lina Maria Giraldo, Melissa McGorty, Sandra Powers, Alex Ward, and Heather Lee Wilson.

Whistler painted his mother, as did Warhol; Hockney drew and photographed his. So when the Photographic Resource Center mounts its 14th annual “Mother’s Day Portrait Extravaganza” on May 13 and 14, at six venues including the PRC itself, the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, and the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, offering affordable portraits by top-notch photographers, who can resist? Proceeds benefit the fine, non-profit PRC — photographs (of family, friends, pets . . . ) benefit Mom.

“Please Touch” | May 19-July 8 | GASP, 362 Boylston St, Brookline | 617.731.2500 | “The 2005 Stephen D. Paine Scholarship Exhibition” | May 18-June 2 | New England School of Art & Design, 75 Arlington St, Boston | 617.573.8785 | “Mother’s Day Portrait Extravaganza” | May 13-14 | multiple venues including the Photographic Resource Center, 832 Comm Ave, Boston | 617.975.0600

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