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Members Opening Reception Natasha Bowdoin, Rachel Howard, The Lure of the Dark, Pledges of Allegiance, and Allison Janae Hamilton


  • Archive, Members Event

  • Saturday, March 24, 2018, 5:30-7pm
  • Free for members
    $20 for not-yet-members

Members joined us for the opening of five exhibitions: The Lure of the Dark: Contemporary Painters Conjure the Night, Rachel Howard’s Paintings of Violence (Why I am not a mere Christian), Allison Janae Hamilton: Pitch, Pledges of Allegiance, and Natasha Bowdoin’s Maneater.

RSVP to 413.664.4481 x8112 or members@massmoca.org.

Sex, death, romance, magic, terror, and wonder; the night invites a myriad of often contradictory associations. For centuries, painters have been drawn to the mysteries of the night and its poetic possibilities. The Lure of the Dark features over a dozen artists who conjure the many moods of night and light that illuminate the darkness, from the moon and the stars, to candles, cigarettes, and the glow of cell phones.

Paintings of Violence (Why I am not a mere Christian) is a single installation comprised of ten paintings and one sculpture, in relationship to the sculptural assembly, Lightning with Stag in its Glare, by Joseph Beuys. In her work, Howard examines religion, mortality, and violence, specifically the more subtle kinds of “controlled violence” that are meticulously planned and calmly executed. The title is taken from two opposing polemics, Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

Allison Janae Hamilton’s evocative work is influenced by the sights and sounds of the southern landscape. Her photographs, videos, sculptures, and installations feature environments familiar to the north Florida and Tennessee landscapes that are home to her family — boiling swamps and tall pines, vespid wasps and green anoles, wild horses, and white clapboard houses. In Pitch, Hamilton creates a sense of place that is both magical and menacing, with Spanish moss decorating the knotted trees, music filling the humid air, and alligators roaming the shallow waters.

Pledges of Allegiance, a project of Creative Time in NYC, is a serialized commission of sixteen flags, each created by an acclaimed artist, aiming to inspire political participation across cultural institutions and their communities. We’ll raise 4 flags this spring. Each flag points to an issue that the individual artist is passionate about, a cause they believe is worth fighting for. Conceived in response to the current fraught political climate, Pledges of Allegiance aims to inspire a sense of democratic spirit and community among cultural institutions and their public.

Referencing such sources as Golden Age children’s book illustrations, 19th-century botanical drawings, floral textile patterns, lunar maps, and prints of underwater sea life, Natasha Bowdoin’s fragile, lush installations shift and change as viewers explore their surfaces. In Maneater, the paper thicket coiling its way down the Hunter Hallway, we see larger-than-life floral forms whose tranquility is undercut by carnivorous plants creeping and crawling across the gallery wall and floor.