Check out the fall issue of Worcester State Magazine!
Page 23 for my profile of underachiever-turned-overachiever Samantha Santiago;
Page 24 for my write-up of Eugene Bah, a dual MD/PhD student inspired by his Cameroon upbringing;
and page 25 to meet Jolene Jennings, a self-described "late bloomer" whose mission is to help illiterate adults learn to read and write.
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Greg Lookerse: Literary Soil at Fruitlands Museum
By Taryn Plumb
Harvard, MA – “Moby Dick”: Herman Melville’s classic tale of obsession. Adored by academics and mere lovers of the English word; abhorred by others forced to dissect and regurgitate it in high school and college.
But for Greg Lookerse? It’s not only an inspiration for art — it is art.
For his solo exhibition, “Literary Soil,” the California-born artist tore pages from his copy of the 1851 classic, then smeared them with pigments to simulate roiling waves or thick oil slicks, and grew salt crystals atop them to create a briny, crusty sensation.
The end result is a tactile representation of the written word.
“Overall the show for me is about the roots and ideas that come from reading,” said Lookerse, “and so each piece is somehow tied to a specific book or story or legend or myth.”
The exhibit will be on display at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Mass., through August 20; the work was crafted during Lookerse’s 2017 artist-in-residence at both Fruitlands and The Old Manse in Concord.
Lookerse, who describes himself as a “reader who does not know how to write,” creates complex, thought-provoking pieces that intertwine elements of classic literature and religious practices, and explore what he calls the “incongruities” between the physical and metaphysical planes.
“A huge influence of my work is looking at western art history and the ways in which religion and philosophy intermix,” said the artist. “I’m trying to come full circle and think about all of these different disciplines, all of these different ideas, and see how it works within the context of the literature pieces.”
For example, in one piece he cut and folded pages from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Nature and Other Essays,” arranging them in a mandala pattern that could be a flower — or an ornately-decorated cathedral window.
Meanwhile, Henry David Thoreau’s journal is transformed into a labyrinth encircling and curling around a stark praying bench.
Other pieces in the show — around 30 in total — include a wall of 50 black icons with a kneeling bench, and rocks of various sizes, colors and shapes encased under glass domes.
Lookerse, who identifies as a sculptor, painter and performance artist (among other descriptors,) embraces abstraction. Words, after all, he said, are just that.
“Abstraction as a whole I think is really misunderstood outside of the academic art culture,” he said.
He added that, “There’s a level of absurdity through all art, and then there’s the artist asking the audience to have a bit of faith in what they’re presenting,” whether that’s purely enjoying the aesthetics, thinking about its implications, or developing their own interpretation.
Lookerse’s particular style of abstraction arises not only from his themes, but his process.
He describes himself as “a little like a Swiss Army knife,” using whatever tools and materials he needs in the studio — manipulating them to explore their limitations and figure out new ways to use them – to bring tangibility to an idea. There’s a lot of tinkering; a lot of mistakes.
“It’s a process of exploring and trying new things,” he said. And eventually, “you find a little nougat of ‘Hmmm, that was interesting.’”
(“Greg Lookerse: Literary Soil” remains on view through August 20 at Fruitlands Museum, 102 Prospect Hill Rd., Harvard, Mass. For more information, call (978) 456-3924.).
Posted by Vercingetorix at Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Monday, February 13, 2017
Culture Shock at Bates
SAUDI ARTISTS’ PHANTOM PUNCH
An image of an outdoor mural depicts what would no doubt be a culture shock for many westerners: Eight swords, flanked by elegant Arabic writing, pointing at two women — one completely veiled in black, the other uncovered, long hair falling to her shoulders.
The latter? Marked with an “X.” Her properly-dressed, anonymous counterpart, meanwhile? Given full approval with a check mark.
As if in contrast, a group of young girls, all dressed in frocks of various shades of pink, are hard at work adding their own illustrations to the painting — yet as a looming reminder, they are overseen by a shapeless, faceless figure enshrouded in black.
A still from Saudi artist’s Njoud Alanbari’s “Elementary 240,” it is all at once eerie, haunting, ironic, unexpected — even a little playful.
Such is the nature of “Phantom Punch: Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia in Lewiston,” on view at Bates College Museum of Art through March 18. The exhibit features the unexpected and though-provoking work of more than a dozen Saudi artists.
To read more, pick up a copy of our latest issue! Click here to find a pick-up location near you or Subscribe Here.
BY: TARYN PLUMB; ILLUSTRATION BY JONATHAN REINFURT
Wellington, New Zealand
Its history and culture are a rich fusion of influences; its people are proud, innovative, and environmentally fastidious; its picturesque harbor greets looming mountains that are home to an array of exotic and endangered plants and animals. Many factors make Wellington a unique and unrivaled location. That’s what ultimately convinced professor of organizational studies Michael Elmes that it would be a prime spot for one of WPI’s project centers. After visiting the country as a Fulbright Scholar in 2005, he championed the Wellington Project Center, and students have been visiting and working there for four years.
Original story link.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Are these Boston spots haunted?
By Taryn Plumb / GLOBE CORRESPONDENT
OCTOBER 28, 2016
Let’s all take a seat around the campfire (metaphorical, if you will). It’s time for some ghost stories.
The Boston area is known for its abundant history, culture, and innovation. But centuries also leave behind ghosts, bizarre legends, and events that simply defy explanation. Terrifying, baffling, even amusing, they are woven into the tapestry of local history.
Here are some dark and spooky stories from around the Hub and its environs, culled from this writer’s book, “Haunted Boston: Famous Phantoms, Sinister Sites, and Lingering Legends.”