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Drawing to a close

Lalla Essaydi at Howard Yezerski, Julia Featheringill and Barbara Gallucci at Carroll And Sons
By EVAN J. GARZA  |  December 19, 2008
Lalla Essaydi: Emobodiment

With the end of the 2008 art season quickly approaching, the following South End shows offer a last chance to squeeze in some high-class viewing. Former Newbury Street tenant Howard Yezerski opened his new space at 460 Harrison Avenue with “EMBODIMENT,” an installation by Moroccan-born Lalla Essaydi, whose work explores the role and the identity of the Arab female; it’s up through December 16. A self-narrated video projection finds the artist writing Arabic texts on white walls and discussing the many “silences” of Islamic women; meanwhile, panels of thin fabric suspended from the ceiling of the gallery feature printed images of Arab women, some nude, covered in Arab inscriptions drawn on their bodies by the artist, as if clothed in Islamic tradition.

Just across the courtyard garden from Yezerski there’s another exhibition that explores the impact of text. Up through December 20, “JULIA FEATHERINGILL: INDELIBLE” is a simple yet captivating collection of large pen on paper works at Carroll and Sons. The drawings are the result of the artist’s fondness for sampling pads at stationery stores on which customers try out various pens, often blanketing a sheet with inane scribbles, phrases, and signatures; Featheringill has painstakingly replicated several used pad sheets, drawing on a much larger scale each page of squiggles and chicken scratch. (Her individual pen strokes are visible only up close.) It’s a witty practice, one that pits intention against random creation and seeks to redefine common associations not only with drawing but with illustrated subject matter.

Also at Carroll and Sons, “BARBARA GALLUCCI: UTOPIARY” carefully arranges four furry bright-green beanbag chairs that look more like sculpturally elegant grassy mountains than plush seating. Gallucci’s work has encouraged viewers to question the nature of artifice and reality; here she dresses mass-produced chairs in an organic disguise, with the play on “utopia” and “topiary” suggesting an artificially sculpted landscape. “Utopiary” is also a meditation on the convergence of art and design. In a previous body of work, Gallucci re-created Le Corbusier’s infamous (and outlandishly expensive) “Petite” sofa and chair, but with blocks of plywood framed in aluminum piping in lieu of black leather and chromed steel — which made for a particularly uncomfortable sitting experience. The chairs in “Utopiary” are far more comfortable, and they offer you the rare (at least in public) opportunity to sit on a work of art.

“EMBODIMENT: LALLA ESSAYDI” @ Howard Yezerski Gallery, 460 Harrison Ave, Boston | Through December 16 | 617.262.0550 | “JULIA FEATHERINGILL: INDELIBLE” @ Carroll and Sons, 450 Harrison Ave, Boston | Through December 20 | 617.482.2477 | “BARBARA GALLUCCI: UTOPIARY” @ Carroll and Sons | Through December 20

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  Topics: Museum And Gallery , South End , Howard Yezerski , Evan Garza ,  More more >
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  •   DRAWING TO A CLOSE  |  December 19, 2008
    Lalla Essaydi at Howard Yezerski, Julia Featheringill and Barbara Gallucci at Carroll And Sons
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 See all articles by: EVAN J. GARZA

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