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Rockin’ round-ups
‘The 2004 DeCordova Annual’ and Tufts’s ‘Juried Summer Exhibition’

Hold onto your hats, it’s here again! The emphatically non-thematic, persistently regional, consistently multi-media, and ever surprising DeCordova Annual Exhibition opens this month, featuring work by 12 artists from four New England states selected by a roving band of visual powerhouses: DeCordova director of curatorial affairs Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, curator Nick Capasso, curator of new media George Fifield, and curatorial fellow Alexandra Novina. The indefatigable organizers of the DeCordova Annual (and their forebears) have been trawling the local seas for talent annually since 1989, when the show was known as the "Artists/Visions" series. This year’s installment, "The 2004 DeCordova Annual Exhibition," opens on June 12, with a public opening reception on June 17.

Swirling psychedelic imagery meets the family card table in the work of Wendell-based Al Souza, whose brightly colored and riotously patterned "paintings" turn out on close inspection to have been created using commercially manufactured jigsaw-puzzle pieces. The meticulous methodology recalls San Francisco’s late Beat artist Jess, but the imagery is all Souza’s own, suggesting studies, perhaps, for a bed quilt for George Jetson, or M.C. Escher. Portland-based painter Sean Foley evokes the space age as well — or at least the spaced out — but there’s a cartoony edge, a monstrous bite to his toothy paintings that treats an age-old medium as if it were, well, new. Cast resin and LED lights are the stuff of Somerville-based sculptor Beth Galston’s alluring organic engineering; here she offers a Luminous Garden Environment complete with glowing pathways that traverse the gallery. Boston-based Brian Knep addresses the floor as well, with an interactive "dynamic carpet" that not only responds to visitors’ touch but also has a long memory. Leslie Bostrom, William Hosie, Henry Kaufman, Mary Lang, Sandy Litchfield, Toru Nakanishi, Gil Scullion, and Sandy Winters fill out the show.

Likewise aiming to cast a wide net while luring avid art viewers to Medford, the Tufts Art Gallery launches the "Tufts First Annual Juried Summer Exhibition" on June 10, with a reception and community open house on June 11. Twenty artists from Medford and Somerville have been chosen by Amy Ingrid Schlegel, the new director of galleries and collections at Tufts, and her picks overlap in one case with the DeCordova’s: photographs by Toru Nakanishi that address the iconic status of the ramen noodle in Japanese culture. Tufts will also have Nataliya Bregel’s small, intimate paintings of her family, Gary Duehr’s cinematic photos, Jehanne-Marie Gavarini’s compelling multi-media exploration of gender and desire, and monoprints and collages by Debra Olin that address conflict and politics.

"The 2004 DeCordova Annual Exhibition" is at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, 51 Sandy Pond Road in Lincoln, June 12 through September 5, with a free opening reception on June 4 from 6 to 9 p.m.; call (781) 259-8355. "Tufts First Annual Juried Summer Exhibition" is at the Tufts Art Gallery, Tufts University, Aidekman Arts Center, 40R Talbot Avenue in Medford, June 10 through August 1, with a free opening reception on June 11, from 5 to 8:30 p.m.; call (617) 627-3094.

Issue Date: June 4 - 10, 2004
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