Nesto Gallery Exhibits Barbara Baum
by Soleil Devonish on Friday, October 21st, 2016
Intricate patterns of painted squares and detailed woven collages currently line the walls of the Nesto Gallery. Upon walking into the gallery, delicate shifts in color capture the eye and contribute to feelings of personal serenity. All the while, collages, which are woven with the artist’s familial memorabilia, serve as a living document of her family’s past and present. The art not only engages viewers’ interests but immerses them in an artistic experience.
Since the end of September, the Nesto Gallery has featured the artwork of Barbara Baum, an artist who primarily works with oil paints on linens and paper. As an artist of the New England area, Baum resides in Milton and teaches art classes in Cambridge. She uses her family history and childhood memories as inspirations for her work.
Following the opening of the exhibit, I had the opportunity of meeting with Mr. Larry Pollans, Milton Academy history teacher and head of the Nesto Art Gallery, to discuss the gallery and to gain deeper insight into the artwork. We began by discussing Baum’s painting “Finding a Starting Place”, a 30” by 30” grid of painted squares on linen. As we studied the art, I couldn’t help but wonder why the artist avoided more dramatic shifts in color throughout the painting.
Answering my unspoken question, Mr. Pollans suggested to “think about it calmly and slowly and feel it, and then decide what it means.” It’s true! After observing the various nuances within the grid in detail, I began to understand the painting in a new light. As I noticed how the colors blended into one another, I started to perceive the simply painted squares as the night sky, a cityscape, or flames. Indeed, each painting is a distinct visual experience for every viewer. Mr. Pollans reminds us that no one can say with certainty that “[Baum] clearly meant for it to be [a specific thing].”
Next, we moved onto the collages. The collages were inspired by the stories of Baum’s father and grandparents. Specifically, Baum tell the story of her grandparents’ immigration from Eastern Europe to America and her father’s service as a medic alongside American troops during World War II.
Using old family relics, Barbara Baum weaves together her family’s past and present. Mr. Pollans explains, “The whole thing feels like this whole archival event. Families get woven together, histories get woven together, and continents get woven together.” I agree that Baum’s message clearly transcends the work itself. Her collages have the power to remind someone of his or her own personal history.
Barbara Baum’s exhibit “Threads” will remain in the Nesto until November 11th. If you haven’t already, I recommend you take the time to check it out.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=8438