On Saturday evening, the Jamaica Plain Artists Association held a reception for its annual group show at the Footlight Club. The untitled exhibition of paintings, photography, prints, mixed media and mosaics, includes nearly 70 pieces by 30 gifted local artists.
“It’s a blend of mediums and perceptions,” said Joy Cochran, who has curated the association’s annual group exhibition for the past 17 years. “JPAA members all gave their best.”
“There are people who have shown with us many times and also first-time exhibiters,” noted JPAA’s Ted Cormier. “We’re here to help artists at any point in their career.”
Though she has only been painting a relatively short time, the works of Paula Metcalf Lazar demonstrate the mastery of technique she has quickly gained as an oil and watercolor painter. A survivor of breast cancer, Lazar confided that she started painting during this period in her life, and originally commenced her studies at the Eliot School. Among her accomplishments, Lazar recently won a “Hans Hofmann Grant,” and this summer she will continue her studies Provincetown.
“It was meditative and required patience to let each layer dry,” she added about the impetus that began her career.
Lazar’s subjects encompass both landscapes and still lifes. In her gorgeously colored, metallic-hued “The Gathering,” one of three works she is showing at the JPAA show, Lazar studied the light and shadow of a grouping of fruits, lending them three-dimensionality, personality and a beautiful painterly presence.
Among the works shown by Hyde Square resident Gail Bos, is an oil monoprint called “The Big Dig,” that remembers our city as the construction site that it once was. The piece is something of a departure for the 20-year long JPAA member, who said that she often focuses on politics. Along with JP’s Urbano Project and a consortium of other groups, Bos was excited that her work will be shown as part of this year’s peace-inspired “Violence Transformed” exhibit at the State House.
Longtime local artist Cormier, whose trademark brilliantly colored floral paintings have been widely shown in JP, is also exploring new ground. His acrylic painting of a dramatic hail storm last summer, he said, was derived from a friend’s You Tube video. The dark and abstracted depiction of the intense weather event shows the storm from the car interior where it was filmed.
Digital photographer e.c. gower’s evocative pictures record the unseen. “Hidden in Plain Sight” depicts two picnickers barely visible behind the flowering trees and bushes of the Arnold Arboretum during an extravagantly fecund spring. With the dramatically lit “Gradus Ad Parnassum,” Gower’s transformative vision captures a gritty city concrete stairway as monumental architecture, and exposes the nearly imperceptible human presence of those who have walked its stairs. Her photo “Marginal Way” shows an explosive urban mural in Cambridge’s Central Square and the blurry face of a man walking past.
“They are people that we never see,” she said of the photograph. “My work is subliminal.”
Photographer and multimedia artist Kerri Schmidt, whose solo show “Cuban Moments” is on display at the Connolly Library through February, also contributed several pieces to the JPAA show, including one of a “Santeria Botanica,” colorfully documenting her trip to the island nation.
Schmidt, who will participate in this year’s “Studio Without Walls” exhibit of temporary outdoor environmental installations, summed up her experience at this year’s Jamaica Plain Artists Association group show.
“It’s been a complete joy to create for, and be a part of this very welcoming artistic community.”
Located at 7 Eliot Street, the Jamaica Plain Artists Association annual group show will be on view at the Footlight Club until Feb. 18, for the duration of its current production of “Absurd Person Singular.”