Wednesday, July 24, 2024

“Exsurge, Anima Mea” by Pauline Lim at the weekend’s open studios. (Photo: Claire Ogden)

For an “Open Studios” event there was many a closed door Saturday at the weekendlong Brickbottom and Joy Street art buildings in East Somerville. That made each open door in the labyrinthine postindustrial buildings a delight.

A favorite was Charles Baldwin’s raunchy and riveting paper-based collages. The raw material for many is gay porn. Some of the materials are glued on, some have a mess of pins in them, reminiscent of a taxidermied butterfly. In certain works, Baldwin irreverent inserts his own childhood drawings. Another highlight: Pauline Lim’s paintings on lush, jewel-tone walls. The pieces are colorful and curious, surrounded by ornate golden frames. “Exsurge, Anima Mea” (“Rise Up, My Soul”) shows a disembodied head connected to a monk’s body by a long, winding line. It’s captivating, a playful memento mori.

Live music was part of the annual event along with a printmaking workshop, massage therapists and a food truck. Flyers with links to petitions and a plea to “Save Joy Street Studios” were a painful reminder that these spaces are under threat. For such a dreary weekend, the open studios brightened up the neighborhood significantly, a reminder of the importance of securing live-work spaces such as this one.


Share your own 150-word appreciation for a piece of visual art or art happening with photo to [email protected] with the subject line “Behold.”