Oh, snap!

‘Shoot the Family’ at Mass Art, Camilo Ramirez at Montserrat, and Art for PDAs at Axiom
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  January 2, 2007

Lynne Adams, from Moviemeetinghouse.com

Whether pasted tidily in albums, framed and displayed in the den, tossed in a shoebox in the closet, or abandoned to the thrift shop, family photos — our own, or those belonging to total strangers — are mesmerizing. What era? What holiday? What relationship to each other? Sometimes it seems obvious (the sullen teenager, the beehive hairdo), sometimes not at all (is that an uncle, or a passer-by trapped in another family’s scrapbook for all eternity?). Most of us take family pictures with little thought beyond “Can everyone get in a little closer?” But images of kin can also be a type of self-portrait, or a transgressive foray into the intimate realm of home and hearth.Bakalar Gallery on January 15, “SHOOT THE FAMILY” looks at photographs of family taken by artists including Janine Antoni, Richard Bellingham, Miguel Calderón, Lyle Ashton Harris, and Gillian Wearing. Wearing’s “portraits” of her family members are actually careful transformations of the artist herself as she steps into the physical forms of her relatives, with uncanny effect.

Camilo Ramirez also photographs what he knows well, and his shots of urban Boston are on view in “ON THE GROUND” starting January 8 at Montserrat College of Art’s 301 Gallery. Ramirez, who teaches photography and graphic design at Emerson College and MassArt, spent his youth skateboarding around the suburbs of LA and then Miami. His images of seemingly nondescript sites — parking lots, highway ramps, fences — reveal beauty where it is often overlooked.

Video has taken on a whole new life these days, thanks to a fast-growing on-line community. “iART: A SELECTION OF NEW WORKS CREATED FOR PDAS” inaugurates Axiom Gallery’s new location in the Green Street T Station in Jamaica Plain on January 12 with a broad and good-humored look at vlogs and video works created for hand-held devices. Former Guiding Light actress Lynne Adams’s Web site and video blogs examine her creative and financial successes and failures while writing, producing, and self-distributing a full-length feature film. Ravi Jai produces interactive video blogs out of his car during his commute to work, with segments like “What’s in the Trunk?” John Herman put together a band using cryptic posts on craigslist to attract 25 musicians from around the world to collaborate on an album. The “band” perform selected tracks from the album live through an Internet feed at the “iART” opening reception January 12.

Shoot the Family at Mass College of Art, 621 Huntington Ave, Boston | January 15–March 10 | 617.879.7333 | Camilo Ramirez: On the Ground at Montserrat College of Art’s 301 Gallery, 301 Cabot St, Beverly | January 8–February 8 | 978.921.4242| iArt: A Selection of New Works Created for PDAs at Axiom Gallery, 141 Green St, Boston | January 12–March 9 | 617.513.6375

On the Web
Mass College of Art: www.massart.edu/calendar
Montserrat College of Art: www.montserrat.edu
Axiom Gallery: www.axiomart.org

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