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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

New Exhibit Thrown at Harbor Gallery

Pottery is more readily accessible to people then oil painting, acrylic painting, or drawing, according to Harbor Gallery Director Steven Pirello, and I tend to agree with him. A painting can be an image of anything, have multiple interpretations, and mean different things to each viewer, but a bowl is a bowl is a bowl. Ceramics are encountered more on a daily basis by the average person then other forms of art due to the functional forms it takes in one’s life (i.e. kitchenware). The newest exhibit at UMass Boston’s Harbor Art Gallery features ceramic works by MIT artists Robert Boyer and Leili Towfigh.

A few of the larger pieces in this exhibition are placed on podiums, but for the most part the works are placed on shelves at about eye level, with the work from the two artists mixed together. Both of the artists work in the same studio and their pieces tend to compliment each other nicely. By placing the objects at eye level the viewer is forced to deal with the artwork not as a bowl, but rather view it as a two dimensional object until they get closer to the work and take in its color and form and then can view it as a three dimensional object. Displaying the objects at eye level was done purposely to achieve this effect.

Pottery and ceramics are not something I’ve seen on display at the Harbor Gallery very often during my time at UMass, and even then it was not a show unto itself. At first I had difficulty telling the work of the two artists apart until I made this discovery: Robert’s work is focused more on form, his works feature textured surfaces and unusual shapes, while Leili’s work is focused on color and the glazing done on her work is exquisite. One series of works that sticks out is three large pieces on podiums by Robert. These large, black forms are reminiscent of coral growths or large pieces of volcanic rock. They stand out in the exhibition because they are completely unlike anything else being displayed. I find that I prefer Robert’s work to Leili’s as Robert’s peeves are more focused on unusual forms or creating textured surfaces on perfectly thrown pottery. Robert tends to use techniques such as poking hundreds of small holes in his work or scoring the surface to create interesting works. Leili’s work, while beautifully glazed, seems very typical of ceramic work.

The exhibit is a departure from the Harbor Gallery’s standard fare, but in a good way. The work is interesting and it grows on the viewer and takes on more depth the longer it is viewed and contemplated. While not the greatest work I have seen in this gallery, it is very far from being the worst. There is no reason not to stop by between classes and look around, as all the pieces are also for sale and very affordable compared to a lot of artwork.