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Archive for April, 2012

A hallway with a view in the MFA Boston's new Art of the Americas wing.

A hallway with a view in the MFA Boston's new Art of the Americas wing.

I moved to Boston 19 years ago and having visited Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts many times since then, I can say with confidence that the opening of its Art of the Americas wing has brought a palpable burst of energy to this institution. I always enjoyed visiting the museum, but I’ve found it especially invigorating and lively since this new addition. The light-filled atrium, known as the Shapiro Family Courtyard, is home to the casual New American Café, and also serves as a pass-through to the new exhibit spaces. It is a welcoming and expansive space that seems to beckon conversation and activity — never before have I heard so much chatter and excitement in the MFA Boston than when passing through this space.

The MFA Boston’s exhibit of Dale Chihuly glass creations last year in the new wing also breathed new interest into the museum. Photography was welcomed in the Chihuly exhibit, and imagery and word of the magical beauty of this light-infused display spread quickly. A favorite of the exhibit, placed not in the exhibit itself but in the new atrium, was Chihuly’s 42-foot tall green glass tree. In the fall of 2011, the museum announced that it had succeeded in its public appeal to raise enough money to obtain the much-adored tree as a permanent installation.

One of the museum’s recent acquisitions is that of Juno, the largest classical sculpture in the United States. Weighing 13, 000 pounds and standing 13 feet tall, and dating back to 17th century Rome, it was acquired in the 19th century by a wealthy Bostonian and brought to rest in a Brookline estate. In 2011, the MFA Boston acquired the sculpture. To see Juno’s careful journey from the Brookline estate to the MFA Boston, watch “Juno on the Move,” a 3-minute video.

Juno is currently undergoing a publicly viewed conservation with the intention to eventually move her into a future gallery.

If you haven’t been to the MFA Boston lately, I urge you to visit! For current and upcoming exhibits, visit the MFA Boston website.

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Anime Boston 2012Following up on Sunday’s blog piece about Anime Boston 2012, the cosplay crowd has more or less vanished from the streets of Back Bay and life is back to business as usual on Boylston Street. Not that that’s a bad thing, but I do miss this endearingly friendly bunch of costumed characters who show up here each spring.

Anime Boston is an annual Japanese anime convention held at the Hynes Convention Center and Sheraton Boston Hotel. This event is the largest Japanese anime convention in the Northeast, attracting a majority of attendees ages 16-26, although people of all ages attend.

I did not go into the convention myself. Rather, I strolled around near the Hynes’ front door, the Hynes’ back door (inside the Pru), the inside of the Pru mall, the two-level concrete plaza in front of the Pru, and just Boylston Street in general. I am always surprised by how friendly and eager to pose the anime conventioneers are.

If you missed the imaginative array of sailors, bumblebees, pink-haired warriors, feudal lords, pig-tailed schoolgirls, aviators and superheroes, they’ll be back again next year, a little later in the season, from May 24-26, 2013.

Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Top Hat Girl, Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Posing for Photos, Anime Boston 2012Saxophonist and That Guy, Anime Boston 2012Saxophonist, Anime Boston 2012KittyPack, Anime Boston 2012Red Skirt Girl, Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Green Haired Schoolgirl, Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Horned Lady, Anime Boston 2012

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It’s Easter weekend in Boston and all manner of bunnies, steampunk ladies, ninja warriors, plaid-skirted schoolgirls, goth brides, sailors, spider men and more are roaming the streets of Back Bay. This year’s attendees of Anime Boston 2012, an annual Japanese anime convention held at the Hynes Convention Center and Sheraton Boston Hotel, are as playful and camera-friendly as ever.

New England Anime Society, a non-profit organization, is the parent organization for Anime Boston. This annual event is billed as the largest Japanese anime convention in the Northeast. While it attracts a majority of conventioneers ages 16-26, people of all ages attend. For three days each spring, an imaginative assortment of pig-tails, aviator goggles, patent leather platform boots and multi-colored wigs descends upon Boylston Street in the Back Bay.

On my walk from the South End to the Back Bay yesterday, strolling through the Christian Science Center grounds, I happened upon the three lovely ladies below in black. I thought the stark angular stone setting was a terrific backdrop for photographing them, and as you can see, they were eager to accommodate.

I’ll be posting more Anime Boston 2012 scenes over the next few days, so come back soon!

Anime Boston 2012

Bee, Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012Anime Boston 2012

All photographs by Paula Ogier.

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Glass AppleI attended an event in Harvard Square a few nights ago in which the prolific novelist Joyce Carol Oates read from her latest novel, Mudwoman, and answered a variety of questions from the audience.  When asked if she kept specific routines for her writing (for example, a goal of 500 words per day) she said that she didn’t, but that she liked to hold images in her mind before writing about them. She described waking up and lying with her eyes closed for 20 minutes or so, and just turning an image or an idea over in her mind.

I found myself closing my eyes and imagining doing this, realizing it is similar to what I sometimes do when I wake up from an unusually curious dream. For me, staying with an image or an emotion upon waking helps the rest of the dream events unfold like a long cord unraveling.

Oates went on to say that it is her practice to try to hold and turn over these images without putting words to them, and letting the words come later when she is sitting down to write.

Since hearing her talk about his, I have been thinking that there must be some sort of visual art equivalent to this process she uses for writing. The night before I heard her talk, I had purchased a copy of Digital Studio, a magazine put out by Somerset. I pick up a copy of Digital Studio a couple of times a year when I have the urge to feed my experimental spirit. It isn’t that I have been lacking in inspiration. I’ve been making art any chance I get and having fun with it. But sometimes I just want to shift a little bit in another direction, without necessarily even thinking about it in those terms. Which is what led me to the massive arts-related magazine rack in my neighborhood, and to taking home a nice thick issue of artistic images to soak up. The images featured were (and usually are) collages, some made from photographs, some made from free shared images available on websites like Polyvore.

I liked the collages very much, but found that many of the images used by the artists in the magazine didn’t quite resonate with me. So what were my images? The day after Joyce Carol Oates’ talk, I began to look around at objects in my home that I especially like. Pretty things. Things I just like looking at. Out came the camera, and I began to take photographs of them from various angles and in shifting relationship to one another. It was an opportunity to spend time just turning them over in my mind, studying and appreciating their qualities.

"Pretty Things" mixed media collage, Copyright © 2012 Paula Ogier

"Pretty Things" mixed media collage, Copyright © 2012 Paula Ogier

I downloaded the photos and opened Photoshop, placing the photos, layer upon layer, onto a deep orange and white multi-layered pattern design I had recently made. I added another pattern into the mix, this one with orange, gold and turquoise. As I layered, I adjusted the transparency of each layer so that the layers beneath could be seen, and I erased in and around many of the images to bring forward what I didn’t want to be as veiled. When I was done, 15 layers later, it was like rising to the surface of a pleasant dream and stepping tired but happy onto the shore of the topside world.

I liked the piece very much, perhaps because it felt true to me. Making it was like letting that long cord unravel, beginning with the urge to find some fresh inspiration, and following it to its eventual end. But the end is always a beginning, too. What’s next, I wonder….?

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