I consider burritos to be at the top of the food pyramid. Seriously. I fucking love burritos. This is probably why I recognized Sean Boyce’s art work. His paintings are in every Boloco in the city and you’ve probably seen them before unless you hate burritos, in which case you hate fun.

Sean Boyce gathered a few of his art friends and told them to find their best small pieces. Then he opened the Small Works 2011 exhibit at the Apex Fine Arts Gallery.

Sean’s studio is on Newbury street in a fancy pants building amongst other galleries. There were free burritos so it was a no brainer, I had to go.

Marc Morin’s work starkly contrasts Sean’s in terms of color and form. They enjoy working alongside each other because of their dissimilarities.

“There’s so much to look at, especially now with the death of ‘isms’ and it’s sort of anything goes. I do hold more of a traditional value, or its more of craftsmanship by the biggest. I don’t know if these works really display that because it’s a small works show and these are sort of the experiments.”

“They’re the leftovers from the pallet, like when I’m working on a body of work, I’m actually working on a series right now of 30 by 30s and its sort of like well when your pallet is done, you’re kinda like alright, well I still have all these on my pallet and so I’m just throwing the paint away and so I’m going to try and do something with it. I use it to experiment and do different things.”

“It’s just funny when you get out of school and you have to look or teach yourself in a way. I had a professor say like when you’re in school you’ll have the teachers and the students. And then you get in like grad school you’ll have an apprenticeship relationship but then when you graduate its just you and the masters. And so you basically have to teach yourself and figure out what you want to do. So I’ve been trying to figure that out.”

Completely different from Morin’s paintings were the crazy UFO paint marker work that Dean Hunter- Cutrona brought to the exhibit.

“What I can tell you is whenever you see a circle in my art, except for when it’s in a bowl, it’s a UFO because when I was in 9th grade I had a very close encounter with two spacecrafts.”

“They were about as close as we are from that building over there in the middle of the day. And this is before I did drugs and drank or anything.”

“And they were flying perfectly symmetrical over each other and then they had this thing that I found out when reading about them. It’s called a mercurial trail and it was like a long line that jets out maybe seven times their length. And as it kind of jerks when they move.”

“And these two UFOs are there and I start running to them because I’m into it and I got there and I watched them for three minutes and they just went, buh bye! They were both totally chrome and the mercurial trail was off chrome.”

“But I fancy mine up, just because I can. So whenever you see like a UFO shape in a bowl is manna like food to the gods, like an offering to the UFOs.”

Dean has also been thinking deeply about how the UFO’s are made. Maybe it’s a biological entity rather than a mechanic one.

“This is just a UFO sitting in what its formed out of. Like maybe it’s a baby UFO. It wants to grow up like that and fly away.”

There was one piece that did not seem to go with the rest of the UFO theme, but Dean had a sufficient explanation for it still very Dean like terms.

“I used to be very into Rasta, I had long dreads and I got into a lot of different things. I got into Islam, I’ve taken a walk through all religions and I’ve used the best of all of them.”

“And so he’s just a roots man and the trees got roots. It’s as simple as that. I’m just throwin down with my paint markers.”

Sean’s work is hung next to Dean’s strategically allowing for their loud contrasting colors to share their own zany like minded space in the exhibit. Sean found Dean and I checking out his work at the exhibit and decided to join.

“I used to hang out with Dean twenty years ago in his apartment in the Fenway. I was a musician at the time playing around Boston in a semi hard core pop outfit. And Dean loved how I played music and he loved how I painted and we’d hang out”

Yea that’s right. Sean also makes music.

How’s that for a jam about the city!?

…but back to the exhibit. Sean’s style seems to catch the attention of other artist because his approach of using two opposing ideas together to create some loud paintings.

“I wanna see how close I can come to being completely abstract and completely realistic at the very same time. Now I used to call my style abstract realism. It was sort of a tongue and cheek and a paradox but I also believe that life is a paradox. Absolutely a paradox.”

“Things that are terrible are wonderful. And so super realistic paintings are totally abstract. And so that’s what I wanted to do but its developed since then because I mean that’s a hard thesis to prove, that abstraction is realism. So I dumbed it down to arbitrary realism.”

Sean is self taught but draws his interests from some odd places like his culinary art classes

“So what I took from cooking school was very basic. I have my associates in culinary. One of the things they said to arrange a plate is to have color contrasts. Food has to look good, or no one’s going to eat it.”

“way people like to see things is color contrasts. Like put the orange carrots next to the dark green spinach. That’s played into my painting severely well. Everything is contrasting.”

“I work hard to be learned in many different facets of art history, methodology and technique. From the classics to super modern, Pollock, even the art I don’t understand like the crazy installation and performance pieces. So I try to learn everything.”

” I’m self taught but believe me I don’t just laze around and say I’m self taught. I work at learning. I latch. Look at all this influence in my studio! I fucking bite on to each one of these artists and chew! Chew on them. I have their work in my place.”

And other artists certainly latch onto Sean. How can you not with that kind of enthusiasm? I mean there was a whole room of these wacky artists who couldn’t wait to help Sean out with his collaborative show.
Meshe is an artist from Mexico and a friend to Sean. The small pieces she decided to share are acrylic paintings on rock with varying contents.

“I do ceramics and mosaics and I do painting on canvas too but mainly I paint over rocks. I just painted them in the past two months. The rocks are from Revere beach and Quincy, they are from here in Massachusetts and I’ve been working here in Boston.”

“The 3d effect is from silica sand which is the same sand from the ocean, I mix it with acrylic paints and it mixes very well. “

My favorite rock of hers was definitely the Beatles rock.

“I love the Beatles! Actually I just put them there by force because today is John Lennon’s anniversary of his death, December 8th. So I just wanted to make a tribute to him. But mostly I just paint butterflies, I like angels, I like wings, I like to feel free as they do. They can fly everywhere.”

There is definitely a good variety of art in Sean’s small studio and there is plenty of time to check it out. The exhibit is open until January 7th. It’s worth a look even without the free burritos.

Photography by Nabeela Vega


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One Response to OFF THE WALL: SMALL WORKS 2011 @ APEX

  1. Meshe Escobedo Meshe Escobedo says:

    I am honored to be part of this art exhibition.