Thursday, June 13, 2024

A detail from Amanda Pickler’s “It’s Not a Phase.”

It’s June, and school’s out for summer – but the arts don’t stop. At the Cambridge Arts’ annual Emerging Artists’ Exhibition (opening Wednesday), there’s a range of works on view, from figurative painting to sculpture. The exhibition was juried by Northeastern’s Jamal Thorne, who looked for “pieces that offered a glimpse into worlds that felt out of reach,” he said, “with the artwork serving as a small window into these secret realms.”

Each piece is mysterious and rich, with its own focus, rules and assumptions. Amanda Picker’s figurative painting “It’s Not a Phase” is cozy and heartwarming, with a warm color palette; the subject looks the viewer right in the eye with a knowing glance, pouring two mugs of tea. Emily Shedlock’s “Strange Days are Here: Alex” and “Guardians: Nielle” are beautiful figurative paintings with subdued color palettes, though the subjects are aloof and look to the side. Two photographs by Hannah Latham are utterly beguiling. In “Hugging Birches: You Missed a Spot,” a grandmother points with an accusatory finger and disembodied hands hug two birch trees. In “After the Rain,” we see an old man through a mist-covered window, a mystery – we know nothing about him, and we can’t even see his face.

Eddie Hall’s “Arrangement” is in the “2024 Emerging Artists Exhibit” at CAA@Canal.

A newcomer to art making, Eddie Hall’s abstract work is one highlight of the show. He’s a Connecticut lawyer who started painting only five years ago, but his geometric composition, “Arrangement,” is straightforward yet strangely arresting.

This year’s show features several Tufts School of the Museum of Fine Arts graduates, including Quincey Spagnoletti ’24, who just exhibited at Gallery 263’s Eat With Your Eyes exhibition, and Amanda Pickler ’23, an interdisciplinary artist whose work focuses on moments of queer joy. With this combination of MFA graduates and self-taught creatives, the CAA has captured what’s most compelling about an emerging artists exhibition: that ability to welcome new ideas.

“2024 Emerging Artists Exhibit” (through Sept. 13) at CAA@Canal, 650 E. Kendall St., Kendall Square, Cambridge 

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.”