Every picture tells a story

Children’s-book illustrators at the New Art Center, Alexander Ross at WAM, and Hélio Oiticica at Harvard
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  March 6, 2007
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CHILD'S PLAY: The art of Maya Chritina Gonzalez.


“Dear Diary: I know I should be asleep already, but I just can’t sleep if I don’t write this all down. I’ll burst!” So begins the bi-lingual children’s story Mi diario de aquí hasta allá|My Diary from Here to There, which, written by Amada Irma Pérez and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez, recounts a Mexican girl’s feelings about moving from Juárez to Los Angeles. The story opens with a colorful close-up of a child under the covers with a flashlight radiating bright light. In children’s books, pictures carry as much weight as text — even more. Curated by Julie Bernson and Ceci Mendez and opening at the New Art Center in Newton March 19, “The Visions & Voices of Children’s Book Illustrators” reflects African, African-American, Korean, Chinese, Jewish, Mexican, and Anglo-American cultures and diverse styles and media from folk painting and sketchbooks to video and computer graphics in work by 13 artists. The subject matter ranges from Malcah Zeldis’s illustrations for Peaceful Protest: The Life of Nelson Mandela to Jarrett Krosoczka’s zany Punk Farm, where farm animals start a rock band to perform at the hip music festival “Livestock.” The presentation includes hands-on activities and cozy reading areas.

Alexander Ross creates paintings that look like stylized portraits of cells or lunar landscapes or some other odd, organic things/places that have been molded in green clay. Village Voice art critic Jerry Salz described them as taking viewers to an emotional place that is “palpably disconcerting and tantalizingly alien.” Ross brings his skills to the grand two-story wall of the Worcester Art Museum’s spectacular Renaissance Court in “Wall at Wam: Alexander Ross,” which opens March 22. Since its inception in 1998, the Wall at WAM has been the site of illustrious projects by artists like Annette Lemieux and Jim Hodges; Ross’s work will be on extended view there.

Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980) was a leading figure in Brazil’s 1950s and ’60s Neo-Concrete movement, creating groundbreaking experimental work in two and three dimensions. On March 14 at 6 pm, Mari Carmen Ramirez, curator of Latin American Art and director of the International Center for the Arts of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, will give a free public talk at Harvard’s Sackler Museum, “FROM THE INSIDE OUT: THE EMBODIMENT OF COLOR IN HÉLIO OITICICA’S WORK.”

“The Visions & Voices of Children’s Book Illustrators” at New Art Center in Newton, 61 Washington Park, Newtonville | March 19–May 20 | 617.964.3424 | “Wall at Wam: Alexander Ross” at Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St, Worcester | opens March 22 | 508.799.4406 | Mari Carmen Ramirez Speaks on Hélio Oiticica’s Work at Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 485 Broadway, Cambridge | March 14 at 6 pm | 617.495.9400 

On the Web
Arthur M. Sackler Museum: www.artmuseums.harvard.edu

New Art Center: www.newartcenter.org
Worcester Art Museum:
www.worcesterart.org

  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Media, Books, Visual Arts,  More more >
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