Alchemized Dimensions

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Alchemized Dimensions


Praise Shadows Art Gallery is pleased to present Alchemized Dimensions, the first exhibition in the Praise Shadows Mentorship Program. Organized by 2021 mentees Sahara Curry and Liana Rice, with Curatorial Advisor Leah Triplett Harrington, the artists in the group exhibition include Caleb Brown, Samantha Fields, Brian Christopher Glaser, Garrett Gould, Kate Holcomb Hale, and Sa’dia Rehman. The works include drawing, installation, sculpture, painting, and textile.

The Praise Shadows Mentorship Program was established as an essential component of the gallery’s mission. Each year, one or two high school students from the Boston area are selected to work at the gallery, culminating in the opportunity to curate the summer group exhibition. The gallery is honored to have worked with Triplett Harrington, Curator at the Boston-based public art organization Now + There, as the inaugural Curatorial Advisor. This year’s mentees Sahara Curry and Liana Rice, have spent the last six months on studio visits, exhibition installations, working the front of house at the gallery, and more. Sahara Curry is a rising senior at Brookline High School; Liana Rice recently graduated from Watertown High School. Under the guidance of Triplett Harrington and the gallery’s staff, the mentees have developed the exhibition thesis, selected the artists, finalized checklists, and will ultimately speak to and represent their show.

About the exhibition

We are creatures of habit. We wake up every morning, see our reflections in the mirror, often eat the same meals, and pass by hundreds of faces on the street. Then, we do it all again the next day. After time, these interactions and observations become repetitive, losing their meaning. The nuances of our identities can become diluted, disconnecting us from the places and people we see everyday.

Alchemized Dimensions presents artists playing with perception and exaggeration, giving familiar ideas the chance to become unfamiliar once again. Process and intuition are applied, as the artists allow their instincts and understandings of color, line, shape, and gesture to take over. The artists selected use so-called “traditional” subjects or materials—portraiture, still life, wood, or charcoal—to recalibrate them into fresh articulations of everyday life. Familiar scenes or materials alchemize into an experience that takes the mundane into a new dimension.

Caleb Brown makes a classic motif new through his bold use of texture and saturated color. Traditional still-life subjects, such as an orange or a deck of cards, are invigorated or revived for a new appreciation. He wonders, what spark remains in an empty tin can or a crumpled scrap of paper after it is discarded? The large scale of Brown’s paintings brings light to ordinarily overlooked household objects.

Samantha Fields draws from historicized images of women in art, mythology, fiction, and our collective imagination; she uses cloth as portrait, as performance, as text, and as container. The work holds a visual language that has been associated with the feminine and relegated to the superficial and low-brow. Using domestic materials and processes often found outside of an art context, she creates intriguing mash-ups, allowing the viewers to question their relationships with things we see every day, from cloth, to hair, to furniture legs.

Brian Christopher Glaser takes a classic form of portraiture and abstracts it, asking viewers to consider their own assumptions about the subject. These sculptures bring into question self-discovery and how we identify others and ourselves, calling attention to the exteriority of the human body as well as human nature.

Garrett Gould uses a familiar material, wood, to create mystifying sculptures. The human body is at the center of these works: this is demonstrated with Toast (vanity), in which Gould inserts a mirror to reflect the viewer, making them part of the piece. The artist uses materials that conventionally may not be used for artistic motives.

Kate Holcomb Hale uses abstract painting to create a spatial experience, allowing her works to spill off the wall. She brings dimensionality to the installation, showing that there are no physical limitations to what viewers perceive. Their poetic titles further deepen the meaning behind her work, creating a sense of mystery.

Sa’dia Rehman calls out the complicated relationship the present and the past have with race, labor, and emotion through drawings of her family’s government-issued IDs (passport, visa, and greencard photos). The lines and cutouts in her work are defined, whereas the soft, dark smudges that encompass them add a vulnerability, creating a dramatic contrast.