With so many young artists in Boston, and with so much energy in the scene, it can often be hard to keep track of good work, or to know which artists may be worth your time, attention and support. To this end, Big RED & Shiny took a poll of our writers, to find out who they think are the stars on the rise. This is by no means a comprehensive listing, but a quick look at a few people our writers find exciting, and hope you will too.
Catherine D’Ignazio seems to be one of the hardest working artists in Boston. She’s associate director of Art Interactive, runs The Institute for Infinitely Small Things, co-Directs iKatun, and curates all over the place. She often works in collaboration, either with the public or with other artists, and her work is about community and the public’s relationship with media of all sorts. She has been shown around New England, in Canada and New York. Sometimes going by the name Kanarinka, her iKatun pseudonym, if you don’t know D’Ignazio, you can’t call yourself an artist in Boston.
She’s not hard to find, googling her under either name is like googling Menino.
Brian Burkhardt is a sculptor of etymological hybrids that fuse nature with technology, and look at what might happen when plants and animals begin to adapt to our technological world. With titles like “Chrysanthemum adaptus digital (cable)” and “Hyacinthus adaptus audio (ipod)” his work finds humor in science, and uses that humor pointedly.
Though many believe that the best work to come out of Boston Schools still comes from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Jae Rhim Lee, an alumnus of Harvard’s art-star heavy graduate-programless VES department is one of the exceptions. She began work at MIT’s Visual Studies Program in the fall of 2004 creating work that “incorporates the psychology of self and identity, ergonomics, consumer culture, and technology.” Often it is the intuitive responses to her work that correlate with its conceptual foundations, an attribute seldom encountered in local interdisciplinary artists and one difficult to attain.
Within the last few months, Jae Rhim was a participant in the Boston Art Windows project with the likes of several of Boston’s established names in art, which was curated by Samson Projects’ Camilo Alvarez. She was also just a performance artist in the Berwick Research Institute’s Revolving Dinner. She’ll leave behind a void in the arts community if she moves on from Boston after MIT.
Brian Knep creates interactive video projections, that merge a form of biological adaptation with technological presentation. He has appeared many times in Big RED, and shows frequently in Boston at Art Interactive. He is also part of the Collision Collective, who work to move unique types of interactive work out into public spaces, such as Downtown Crossing.
Brian’s work is a mixture of fun and silliness, combined with larger questions about technology, humanity and experience. When his work installed, there is always a mix of children playing happily while adults think about what reactions those playful games are invoking.
SC Projects encompasses, for now, a major proposal to the city of Boston. Conceived as a train that would circle above the city, “Bullet Train” has dedicated cars for reading, research, computer stations, contemplation and rest. While such a train seems to have little functional benefit for the city (after all it simply circles the city with no commuter stops), it does have an abundance of ideological value when considering city planning. While Boston struggles to gather money for the promised expansion to Somerville, perhaps a phallic looking train would better serve us.
Jonathan Santos creates paintings, sculptures, architectural proposals and designs that both explore historical events and subverts design’s ideological limits. One of my favorites is a shanty house done in a splendid Modern style and distributed as a pamphlet describing how to Do It Yourself. Other works include tape paintings of Texas where JFK was shot, cooly mapping the violent event and highlighting the tourist aspect it has become today. A common Jersey Barrier is subtlety transformed into public seating by adding an attachment to it. Here Santos plays with what commonly blocks the public with something that ends up socializing them. Not a simple task.
Rachel Dayson makes whimisical drawings of people and places. They are a bit distorted, in a cute and engaging way, and fill one’s head with stories about lovers and friends and awkward houseguests. Vividly colored and rich in detail, her drawings are fun in a way that will appeal to many viewers.
She shows frequently at Allston Skirt Gallery.
Alfredo Conde creates knock-offs of knock-offs. His work, made mostly of cheap materials, recreates the fake Rolexes, designer sunglasses and other faux-coutoure peddled on the sidewalks of many major cities. These fake-fakes are elaborately crafted using the simplest materials – cardboard, foamcore, plastic wrap – and poke fun at the artificial immediacy of trends and those who trade in that artificiality.
Catherine D’Ignazio image courtesy of the iKatun website.
Brian Burkhardt, “Canna adaptus digital (cable)”, mixed media.
Jae Rhim Lee, “Bed on Shelf”, mixed media.
Brian Knep, “Healing #1”, interactive video projection.
SC Projects, “Bullet Train”, CAD rendering of proposed project.
Jonathan Santos, “Jersey Barrier Bench Attachment”.
Rachel Dayson, “Couple Kissing”, ink on paper.
Alfredo Conde, “Top Cover”, wood, foam core, paint, tape, plastics, rhinestones.