Fountain Street show depicts the interiors of heart and home
“Untold Stories” at Boston’s Fountain Street Gallery explores the interiors of humans and their spaces. Featured artists Alexandra Rozenman and Anita Loomis turn a thoughtful, humorous eye to the day-to-day stories we keep to ourselves. Running through Sept. 30, the show provides a welcome respite from heavy political overtones and a reminder to look inward on a regular basis.
Rozenman features several works from a series titled “Transplanted,” wherein she reimagines famous paintings with a slight twist. In “Falling in Love with Matisse” she depicts the scene just after Matisse’s well-known painting “The Conversation.” In the original painting, the artist shows himself in striped pajamas standing in front of his wife, who wears a black robe. They had a complicated relationship in real life and the conversation looks tense. In Rozenman’s reimagining we see the same bold blue backdrop that marks Matisse’s painting, but it appears husband and wife have set aside their differences. The black robe lies abandoned on a chair, and the two embrace on a couch shown off-scene from the original image.
These paintings provide an interesting play on time: Matisse’s painting depicts the past, Rozenman’s depicts the future, and the viewer is left somewhere in the middle. Other times, Rozenman plays with space, blending outside and inside spaces. In “View from the Captain’s Wife’s Window” we see on one side the stormy sea, the realistic view from a ship, and on the other side a Ferris wheel over a town. Here she plays with time again, too, revealing the Captain’s wife’s reality and perhaps a recent past that she misses. The artist also reveals the interior of the woman’s heart, what she longs for beside what she has.
Loomis displays a mix of abstract and figurative work; the strongest are the playful, and at times sinister, interiors. Her use of bright colors and a cartoon-inspired style brings a sense of whimsy to the everyday. In “Witness,” we see a living room decorated with every kind of pattern and color the inhabitant could find. Loomis uses details like an oddly striped lamp and clownish people to illustrate the owner’s eclectic taste. Two cats wander the space, one looking at a pair of feet in purple heels sprawled on the floor. The woman, presumably the owner of the house, is lying flat on her back. It calls to mind the “cat lady” trope in which only her pets know whether she’s dead or alive.
“So Sophisticated” depicts a more common internal struggle. On a round table inside a Boston home (we can see the Citgo sign through the window), the trappings for tea have been strewn across the table and onto the floor. Also on the floor sits a smart phone. The culprit is a hairy, bear-like hand resting, defeated, on the table. Loomis says this piece was born from her frustration with technology.
Sometimes she felt completely ungainly in the face of all this sophisticated technology, like a bear at a tea party.
Both Loomis and Rozenman depict interior spaces and interior lives. Their work is subtle, intimate and enjoyable in a time of many loud, hard voices.