Donald Shambroom, Jerusalem Artichoke II (2008)
With some contemporary-art spaces holding off on summer programming, June's First Friday celebration at the Harrison Avenue galleries may be the strongest one until the fall season, when both the traffic and the collectors return.
ANTHONY GREANEY will host "THE LAST ARCTIC," a show of work by Louisa Conrad that resulted from a trek to Northwestern Canada, a region that is often the center of gas exploration. In her statement, Conrad invokes Jean Cocteau: "When you're dealing with mystery, stay as close to reality as possible." She investigates the multiplicity of opinions on the subject of energy and the environment using a combination of drawings, photographs, videos, and hand-drawn drawn maps. (And she knows the terrain: a boat ride through the Mackenzie Delta proved difficult, and she and her guide were forced to push the boat for eight hours through miles of silt.)
"JERED SPRECHER: RECENT WORK," at STEVEN ZEVITAS GALLERY, displays the artist's dazzling oil-on-linen paintings. Sprecher's works hover between representation and abstraction, where brilliantly colored fields are layered outward and the firm lines of geometric forms are met with organic shapes. Asserting that his pieces are "unfinished" fragments of a persisting narrative, he makes paintings that reveal a struggle between the finite and the limitless — at once hard and soft.
HOWARD YEZERSKI GALLERY will host "UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES," a group show of Morgan Bulkeley, Catherine Kehoe, and Donald Shambroom. Paintings by each artist at first appear as conventional still lifes, but further investigation reveals subtleties. Shambroom's Jerusalem Artichoke II is almost creature-like; executed with dark, jagged strokes and color, Kehoe's Peonies Green recalls early-20th-century forms of still portraiture. More on the subject of work that's pretty, but with just enough quirk, WALKER CONTEMPORARY will host "JENNIFER DAVIS: NOT TOO SWEET," the first solo show by the Minneapolis-based artist. The title is self-explanatory: Davis's paintings are fleeting scenes of colorful subjects in relatively serene settings, and among unique — and at times odd — characters.
"LOUISA CONRAD: THE LAST ARCTIC" at Anthony Greaney, 460 Harrison Ave, Boston | June 5–July 19 | 617.482.0055 orwww.anthonygreaney.com | "JENNIFER DAVIS: NOT TOO SWEET" at Walker Contemporary, 450 Harrison Ave, Boston | June 5-27 | 617.695.0211 orwww.walkercontemporary.com | "UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES" at Howard Yezerski Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave, Boston | Through June 30 | 617.262.0550 orwww.howardyezerskigallery.com | "JERED SPRECHER: RECENT WORK" at Steven Zevitas Gallery, 450 Harrison Ave, Boston | Through June 13 | 617.778.5265 orwww.howardyezerskigallery.com