Inspired by the Standells classic, Dirty Water, this exhibit is an ode to the grit and glamour of this city, and a reflection of the ways in which Boston has evolved – for better or worse – over the last two decades.
From our Juror, Edward Boches
How does an artist represent the City of Boston? There are always the usual suspects. Water colors of the Public Gardens. Night photos of the Zakim Bridge. Proverbial sketches of Chinatown or the North End. So it was exciting to see so many unexpected approaches to celebrating the grit and glamour of Boston in the Cambridge Art Association’s call, “Love that Dirty Water.”
Some images discovered emotion and power in the small details that define Boston’s character. Ty Muto’s ceramic space saver – a chair adorned with a Bruin’s logo sitting next to the Virgin Mary – manages to touch on everything from the challenges of street parking to sports and religion. Ricky Vasan’s painting “Aftermath,” revealed the serenity of a typical, tiny Boston backyard sandwiched between the abutting houses, a space that probably doesn’t get much attention until an artist picks up his brush.
Other works showed us some of the old Boston. Steve Jacobson’s perfectly framed and multi-layered image of a smokestack, for example, harkens back to a time before tech and the life sciences took over the city.
Numerous paintings, photographs and digital works evoked feelings of nostalgia as they showed us long lost corner coffee shops, wooden-platformed MBTA stations, or abstract views of Olmstead’s parks.
I was pleased to see that other artists sought to provoke us with thoughtful work about development. And finally, what would a show about Boston’s grit be if it neglected to include a perspective on graffiti?
We live in a city that offers us endless subjects and scenes around which to create art. And we’re obviously surrounded by artists who make the most of it.
It was an honor to jury “Love that Dirty Water.” Thank you to the Cambridge Art Association and to the many artists who entered. Your work inspires me to look even deeper at the city I love.