Will Call #15 — Downstreet Art Returns with Yet More Astounding Sights and Sounds

Michelle Daly, Program Coordinator at MCLA Berkshire Cultural Resource Center joins us to talk about the next spate of offerings from Downstreet Art, beginning Thursday, August 27.

Abductions Series: "Galactic Somatic," by Maggie Nowinski; photo courtesy Berkshire Cultural Resource Center

Abductions Series: “Galactic Somatic,” by Maggie Nowinski; photo courtesy Berkshire Cultural Resource Center

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. — DownStreet Art (DSA), a program of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC), continues on Thursday, Aug. 27, with the third DownStreet Art Thursday of the 2015 season, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The evening will include permanent and pop-up gallery exhibition openings, temporary installations, performances and community events.

As part of DownStreets Art’s mission to enliven the downtown, this event will feature time-based and temporary works that take art outside of the gallery or storefront and onto the streets of North Adams.

In addition to new exhibit openings in multiple galleries, this DownStreet Art Thursday event will feature a performance by action-based dance artist Stefanie Lynx Weber, a temporary mural “Day into Night” by Jade Hoyer and Meg Erlewine, a work-in-progress by local artist Jarvis Rockwell, a continuation of the ReVision Chalkboard Project, and music under the Mohawk Theatre marquee.

Weber will create “Magic in the Mechanism,” a site-specific performance for DownStreet Art that is part of her ongoing “Creatures of Habitat Physical Poetry Public Performance Project.”

“Magic in the Mechanism” will be performed at dusk under the Route 2 Overpass. The performance seeks to include non-dancers and dancers alike to explore the concepts of mechanisms hidden deep within culture, industry and communities.

Weber describes her work as “action-based art,” adding that “poems in physical form include the bones of a moving dream.”

Hoyer and Erlewine, who are based out of Knoxville, Tenn., will create “Day and Night,” a temporary public art piece that speaks to the activating potential of art and the resiliency of the North Adams community. “Day and Night” glow-in-the-dark ink is attached with wheat paste onto the alleyway at 81 Main St. It aims to visually and physically re-activate North Adams’ vacant spaces at all hours.

In addition, ReVision – a participatory Chalkboard Art Project – continues to elicit responses from the community as it encourages participants to share their vision of a future North Adams through four written prompts on each of the four chalkboards installed on Eagle Street. Responses are documented and shared via Facebook, and a blog created for this project is found at www.revisionnorthadams.tumblr.com .

In Gallery 107 at 107 Main St., Rockwell once again will be on hand to show his works-in-progress as he works on a second large wall-drawing of the year (his fourth for DownStreet Art).

The two works, created last year, remain on view in the concourse at 85 Main St.

Continuing the work he started with DownStreet Art last summer, Rockwell continues to create multiple, large wall-drawings that investigate his interest in life after death.

Rockwell’s abstracted works incorporate paint, graphite, colored pencil, small figurines and other three-dimensional objects, all of which are elements typically found in his work.

On view at Ferrin Contemporary at Independent Art Projects, 1345 MASS MoCA Way, is a solo exhibition by Roberto Lugo “Ghetto Garniture: Wu Tang Worcester.”

From 6-7 p.m., Lugo – a self-described potter, activist, culture-maker, rapper, poet and educator – will offer a multi-media presentation in the gallery as part of the DownStreet Art Thursday events in North Adams.

This solo show features Lugo’s work created during his artist residency at Project Art in Cummington, Mass., which explores eclecticism and culture by juxtaposing street graffiti, European decorative patterning, and rich symbolism drawn from his Puerto Rican heritage.

Leslie Ferrin, director of Ferrin Contemporary and a Project Art partner, said, “Lugo’s work and process are fully engaged with our regional community as he explores themes of tolerance, immigration, and historic material in area museums and landmarks. Combining his interest in social practice and activism with the decorative arts is an ideal use of the Project Art residency.”

Also at Independent Art Projects, Cynthia-Reeves will present a solo exhibition of paintings by Gudren Mertes-Frady.

Three new exhibitions will be on view at C Gallery, 33 Main St.

Zac Pritchard’s sculptural pieces, representative of life-sized bodies and appendages, explore ideas of humor, loss, death, loneliness and attraction. Materials used are those that lend themselves easily to manipulation, such as paper mache, plaster, paints and metals.

Chung Chak will present six large-scale photomontages from his series “boxes.”

“As an image-maker formally trained as a designer, I have found my voice through semiotic interpretation,” Chak explained. “I invent photographic metaphors that carry hidden meanings. I view my imagery as timeless visual poetry with psychological impact where viewers can no longer remain passive. Conceptualizing and resolving a solution is as rewarding as the seeing the result.”

Also at C Gallery is Julian Grey’s exhibition, “Persona,” which combines images from two recent series of self-portraits, “Voyeurisme” and “Curb Appeal.”

In “Voyeurisme,” Grey utilizes black and white photography and film noir lighting to express themes of gender and sensuality from a non-binary subject. In “Curb Appeal,” her richly colored self-portraits use the city of North Adams as a backdrop.

DownStreet Art Curator Michelle Daly said, “When taken together, images from ‘Voyerisme’ and ‘Curb Appeal’ work in dialogue with one another, bringing the self as subject from intimate to public. We are pleased to work with Julian as she develops these two bodies of work into one exhibition – ‘Persona.’”

According to Grey, “In ‘Persona’ I celebrate the strength and beauty of diversity, break the binary gender code, and shatter stereotypes through traditional portraiture with a non-traditional subject. It is irreverent, intimate, sensual and empowering.”

PRESS Gallery, at 49 Main St., will highlight some of the favorite pieces created over the course of its five years on Main Street. “Retrospective,” curated and coordinated by 2014 B-HIP Intern Nicole LeClair, will be the last exhibition at PRESS before it transitions to its new location in the recently renovated Bowman Hall.

A three-person exhibition, “Eat me alive so that I may see you from the inside,” will open at MCLA Gallery 51 at 51 Main St. This collaborative exhibition explores re-imagined biology and speculative fictions, and features Maggie Nowinski, Alicia Renadette and Torsten Zenas Burns.

Nowinski’s installation and drawings, Renadette’s sculpture and installation, and Burns’ photography and video pieces will be included. All three artists will focus on the themes of consumption and toxicity, both internally and externally.

“Imagined Codes/ Coded Images” curated by Anthony Merino of Adams, which will include corresponding performances, will open at Neck of the Woods Gallery at 87 Main St. Merino takes inspiration for this exhibition from 20th  century linguist Kenneth Burke, who identified the two parts of any depiction as the depicted and the depiction.

Burke identifies four main tropes – Metaphor, Synecdoche, Metonymy and Irony. The exhibition includes the work of four ceramic artists, all of whom align with one of these tropes.

Metaphors drive Alex Kraft’s fanciful narratives, in which abstractions become characters. Sarah McNutt’s use of a single human as a representation of the human condition is classic synecdoche. Carly Costello’s linking of fauna with humanity is a classic example of metonymy. Finally, Merino creates irony by using contronyms to illustrate the complexity of perception and reality.

Also at 87 Main St. will be a group exhibition, “Community Hearts,” which is curated by Commonfolk member J. Sweeney. This exhibition showcases work that Common Folk created with other creative community groups in North Adams. It will feature work from The NAMAzing Initiative, ArtDoors, MASS MoCA’s Teen Art Summit participants, as well as some individual projects that focus and highlight collaborative creativity.

Other events include a free workshop at Maker’s Mill, North Adams new Makerspace, and extended hours at the Berkshire Artist Museum, 159 E. Main St.

Continuing at the Berkshire Artist Museum, 159 East Main St., are the exhibitions “That 70s Show,” and “Fresh Paint,” along with works by local artist Eric Rudd.

One more DownStreet Art Thursday will be held this summer, on Sept. 24, 2015.

This year’s DownStreet Art initiative focuses on the theme of community connection, and will bring the work of more than 50 visual artists to pop-up galleries in both solo and group exhibitions.

MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center provides opportunities, resources, and support to the Northern Berkshire Community. BCRC brings together the Northern Berkshire, MCLA and greater creative communities through its cultural programming, including: MCLA Gallery 51, DownStreet Art, Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP), and MCLA Presents! The BCRC promotes, facilitates and encourages a dialogue to foster a sustainable, creative community.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

For more information about DownStreet Art events and the BCRC, go to www.downstreetart.org  and www.mcla.edu/bcrc.

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