“This show is about the idea of transforming … Moving from paintings to coming off the walls, standing in the gallery sculpturally, to being in the world.”
Through May 30, local artists Marcia Wise and Melissa Shaak are co-exhibiting their artwork in the Fountain Street Gallery.
The exhibition was first scheduled for July 2020, but got postponed due to the pandemic.
The artists came up with the title of the show Out of Nowhere together while working on their separate projects, and have different understandings of the title.
Shaak explained in an interview that Out of Nowhere refers to “the creative spark that came out of nowhere.” While working on her art pieces, she followed these sparks to see where it brings her to.
At first, Shaak created seven human-like portraits inspired by French painter Georges Braque. One of the most significant features of Braque’s painting, La Nuit, is the three strands of hair flying irregularly from the main character’s head.
Starting with these three strands of hair, she painted seven human figures using her old paintings as background. Then, a spark of inspiration came out of nowhere.
“All of a sudden I decided to raise the arm on the first portrait I did. [The inspiration] came out of nowhere, but it felt right. I felt they’re signaling something,” Shaak explained.
After finishing these paintings, she created seven sculptural cut outs of these human figures. “They just want to step out of the painting and step off the wall,” she said.
Shaak brought these cut outs to the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline. Cooperating with the staff members at the theater, Shaak created a five-minute video with mystical reverence.
Shaak also brought the cutouts to public spaces in Boston, including the beach and MBTA stations. She will release these videos through social media soon.
In the exhibition, Shaak also displays a booklet with haiku she composed for each of the characters. The poems show her imagination of what they each represent, and what they’re doing in the portrait.
“I think this show is about the idea of transforming, the artist said. “Moving from paintings to coming off the walls, standing in the gallery sculpturally, to being in the world, turning that into a video. And having the form of poetry also represented there.”
Wise, on the other hand, drew inspiration from a windstorm in the woods. She brought a series of paintings with colorful streaks showing the dynamics of trees in a forest swirling with the wind.
In her artist’s statement, Wise pointed out that she used the chaotic nature as a metaphor for the unexpectedness of people’s life, which, in her case, refers to “the challenges of caring for a loved one with cancer.”
During the SoWa First Friday Art Walk of the season, Richard Muhammad was one of the visitors in the gallery. His son’s artwork is displayed alongside the Out of Nowhere series, and he was glad to see the amount of foot traffic the gallery had that day.
“It’s an interesting gathering of artists dealing with different elements,” he said.