LYNN — It was just six months ago that a small group of the city’s top artists banded together to start Galleries at LynnArts (GALA).
When GALA put out a call for artists to participate in its new show, which opens Friday night, 120 creative types from throughout the North Shore responded. “Imaginary Spaces and Far Out Places” in the main gallery and “The State of the Globe, A Study in Contrasts” in the adjacent community gallery are part of the group’s most impressive and ambitious exhibition yet.
On opening night, there will also be several short films by Arturo Gonzalez Barrios, a Mexico-born artist and animator who teaches at Raw Art Works, plus many interactive elements, live music, munchies and much more.
Tia Cole and Emmanuelle Le Gal, the show’s curators, said a special Meet the Artists reception will be held from 5:30 to 6 p.m. on Friday; a $10 donation is requested. The Opening Reception will run from 6-7:30 p.m. on Friday; a $5 donation is suggested.
“A lot of people are catching the GALA bug,” said Annette Sykes, president and gallery director.
Nearly every time art lovers turn a corner in the LynnArts building Friday night, they will experience one of Barrios’ thought-provoking films; it’s reminiscent of the way exhibits flow at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Barrios, a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University, said as an animation instructor at RAW his goal is to challenge students to use art as a tool to investigate the world around them. He will show his work inside a storage closet, on a back stairway and near a window in the spacious Black Box Theatre.
Barrios said he grew up in a very safe city in Mexico, but drug wars often clouded the country’s reputation as an idyllic vacation spot. Such conflicting emotions drive his political piece, “Stay Away from the Window/A Tourist’s Paradise,” which includes eerie noises. “In school, we were told to stay away from the window if we heard gunfire. But the world was told that Mexico was a safe place for tourists.”
Mixed media artist Jocelyn Chemel, who was born in South Africa and left in her 20s while the country was under apartheid, presents “The State of the Globe, A Study in Contrasts” in the front gallery. Her work is stunning, exploring the memories of her childhood when “we were all prisoners of fear.” It’s disarming to see the contrast of barbed wire cutting through her vibrant, texturally-rich images of beautiful, delicate flowers. Hope and fear intermingling.
The art in the main gallery is a diverse blend, with paintings, quilts, sculptures, collages and myriad other forms of expression. Many artists are showing for the first time, and their works coexist perfectly with those of established artists.
“The size of this exhibit allows us the opportunity to create multiple installations and partner with many types of artists. We’re activating not only every nook of LynnArts, but every type of art, too. Film, photography, paintings, performers and musicians will all find their place in this opening. This is an example of what we want to see more of in the future with collaboration and activation of spaces in Lynn,” said Cole. “I want to experience other people’s imagination.”
For more information, please visit www.galleriesatlynnarts.org.