Last Saturday afternoon about 40 art lovers gathered for the opening reception of the latest exhibition at the HallSpace gallery, tucked away in the farthest right corner of the 950 Dot Ave complex. Three of the four artists represented in the show – Doug Bell, Gerry Perrino, Marisa Sciabarrasi and Dot resident Marlon Forrester—were in attendance.
HallSpace owner/ curator John Colan dubbed the show “Open Season,” and explains the timeliness of the title’s allusions to hunting and potshots.
“This is the season of political discourse where immigration, race, war, peace, religion, oil, money, and an endless list of other personal interests are enthusiastically discussed and debated,” said Solan.
“Marisa Sciabarrasi has been photographing street vendors, bodega workers, veterans, and others working for low wages in search of the American dream,” Colan continued. “Doug Bell reflects on the toll war and corporate greed has on humanity by repurposing antiquities and lost collections. Gerry Perrino paints still lifes of small toy soldiers/figures and other objects to create narratives, commentary on war, human relationships, and the destructive repetitiveness of human nature.
“Marlon Forrester’s photographic collages are direct commentary on the body, the black male body, and how historical and corporate interests have manipulated or crafted their identities.”
Forrester is not only an artist with an MFA from Yale, but also an athlete and rapper. The Sawyer Avenue resident was born in Guyana, South America, and came to Dorchester when his family moved here when he was three years old.
“Open Season” includes several of his photographic triptychs which picture Forrester’s own head or parts of his body flanking stereotypical images associated with African-Americans like watermelons and basketballs.
His artist’s statement of purpose reflects his concern with the corporate use of the black body and the exploitation in the simultaneous apotheosis and fear of the muscular black figure in America.
“The black male body has been crafted into a warring body under constant assault by history, by the market, and in the art world,” Forrester writes.
There are several interesting interconnections and subtle cross-references in the show. Sciabarrasi’s empathetic photo portraits of Vietnam vets who are bravely dealing with continuing Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome resonate with Bell’s painting of military men slowly sinking into hell. Classic cheap green toy soldiers are depicted in Perrino’s paintings, while Bell “repurposes” hundreds of such discarded figurines, jumbling them together in an assemblage he calls “The Soldier Cabinet.”
“Open Season” with its searing commentaries on the American Dream runs through Oct. 13. HallSpace gallery hours are Friday and Saturday 12-5 p.m. and Monday-Thursday by appointment. More details at hallspace.org or 617- 288-2255.