“Blue” at the Somerville Museum is a dream pairing of curator and theme.
The group exhibition—on view from Sept. 21 to Dec. 2, 2023—is organized by found object and assemblage artist Martha Friend, who is best known for transforming her home into the landmark art house on the corner of Highland Avenue and Sycamore Street in Somerville. You can recognize it by the tiny outdoor gallery on the right front corner of the lawn, the silver horses on the front porch roof, and the blue and green glass sculptures that surround the place. Inside, she’s carefully decorated rooms with art and collections of globes, driftwood, ceramics, toys and other things that arrive with past lives. In the cellar and garage, she’s made haunting installations of dolls.
Friend has a great eye for the weird and wonderful—which she then often arranges by color. You can see this outside her home in how she gangs up lots of blue glass and green glass together creating dazzling color harmonies.
These skills make the selections of furniture, clothing, jewelry, paintings, photos, and sculptures, mostly by local artists, in “Blue” so enchanting. Across an opening wall of the exhibition is a quote attributed to the artist Henri Mattis: “A certain blue enters your soul.”
Friend identifies blue as the color of the night sky, of the sea and the “Blue Planet” Earth, the color of calm and tranquility. She writes: ”I have loved the color blue my whole life. Most of my wardrobe is blue and turquoise, and when my daughters wear blue their eyes sparkle like marbles. I think blue might just be everyone’s favorite color.”
Participating artists include Alexandra Rozenman, Anne Randolph, Bekka Teerlink, Bess Paupeck, Daniel D. Coughlin, Dave Palmquist, Deb Peeples, Emily Falcigno, Gary Duehr, Gina Halstead, Heather Balchunes, Hilary Scott, Iku Oseki, Johanna Schulman, JT (John) Bullitt, Julie Friend-Gray, Karen Molloy, Kerri Kemperman, Laidy Saenz, Laurinda Bedingfield, Marcella Stasa, Martha Friend, Matt Carrano, Michael Robbins, Nathaniel Devarie, Pauline Lim, Rachel Mello, Resa Blatman, Richard Curran, Robin Hazard Ray, Ron Kopreski, Ruth Faris, Sarah Sutro, Sholeh Regna, Soozie (Suzanne) Lubeck, Susan Strauss, Wilhelm Neusser, and Zainab Sumu.
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