Sunday, May 20, 2007

SoWa Art Walk

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the SoWa Art Walk. It is held every spring in the SoWa (South of Washington Street) neighborhood in Boston’s South End. The district has been home to artists’ studios carved out of the old factories for the last fifty years. The event is exciting and a bit overwhelming as there are hundreds of artists to see.

I was especially inspired by the work of Lisa Costanzo, located on the fourth floor, who apologized for not having much of her work on hand as she currently has a solo show 'Snark Hunting' at the Laconia Gallery (conveniently located across the street!) Paintings and works on paper in the exhibition take their inspiration from the works of Lewis Carroll, a wonderful source for imagery and mythic themes. "Loosely based on Carroll’s nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”, and with a nod to the colorful characters from the “Alice” series, Costanzo creates her own hybrid characters as individuals with their own demands for specific portrayal. Costanzo gives her own fresh take on things by weaving elements of previous work into the story much like Carroll did, in which elements of language and symbols repeat themselves. Costanzo has created her own strange and awkward wonderland where she makes up her own peculiar story." I admire the way in which Costanzo plays with Carroll's literary world, inserting herself and her personal history into that world through self-portraiture and exploring issues of gender and identity.

Making my way down to the third floor, I found myself in the studio of Linda Cordner admiring her elegant encaustics. Linda has a strong sense of color and composition, her designs are both organic and whimsical - powerful in their simplicity. The surfaces are truly sensual, achieved by the layering of multiple coats of wax.

...and downward to the second floor, the studio of Barbara Poole, featured narrative paintings loaded with self-portraiture and historical references. This painting was not in the artist's studio (I found it on her website), it is part of her series 'Nature Abhors a Vacuum'. Barbara's paintings are genuine and witty.

Visually saturated, we moved on to quench our hunger. We found the wonderful Cafe Jaffa (48 Gloucester Street) with a large menu of affordable authentic Middle Eastern and Greek treats. The perfect ending to a fabulous day!