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Back to Reviews 96

 Christine Triebert,
Hay Barn, Parish
Hill, Vermont.

Bill Brauer, 
Thisbe's Fantasy.

Bill Brauer, Agape.

Edith Vonnegut,
Action Figures.

newbury street 

by Janet Rossbach 

Among the renovated historic neighborhoods 

in America, Boston's Newbury Street 

district is a definite success story--not 

least because of the art galleries that 

have located there. On a beautifully crisp 

and clear morning this fall I had the 

chance to stroll down Newbury Street and 

take a peek into several of them. This is 

what I saw:

At the very end of the street away from the 

Boston Common, I found the John Callahan 

Gallery cluttered with several racks of 

artist's prints and photographs, as well as 

frame samples. I caught Callahan by 

surprise that morning, as he was in the 

middle of hanging a show of prints and 

watercolors by the artist Sidney Hurwitz, 

who is a professor at Boston University. 

Reminiscent of the work of early 20th-

century American artists Charles Sheeler 

and Charles Demuth, Hurwitz's paintings and 

prints consist of industrial scenes that 

are rendered to emphasize abstract patterns 

of color and form. Also featured at the 

gallery were several small photographs by 

Vermont artist Christine Triebert. Her 

series of black-and-white landscape images, 

titled "Simple Shelters on the Land," 

reveals the wonderful textures of old 

barns, unpaved roads, lonely branches and 

inviting woods. Copies of the framed 

photographs were available in the form of 

writing cards--I bought one, because it was 

charming, scenic and cheap. 

Further down Newbury Street, I entered the 

Chase Gallery, where the work of Bill 

Brauer was on view. Originally from New 

York, Brauer now makes Vermont his home. 

His paintings and oil-pastel drawings focus 

on the female form--as woman, dancer and 

seductress. His paintings are contemporary 

versions of "classical" subjects, and have 

titles such as Agape or Thisbe's Fantasy. 

His pastels, however, are beautiful 

portraits of a female body, her sensuality 

revealed through his masterful drawing. I 

am sure his paintings are more popular with 

their more vibrant colors and solid 

compositions, but I was more attracted to 

his pastels, which are more intimate.

Further down Newbury, the Pepper Gallery 

was exhibiting Edith Vonnegut's "Everyday 

Epiphanies." These large paintings, 

portraying woman's role as a kind of 

goddess of everyday activities, made me 

think that Botticelli's Venus had finally 

gotten off her scallop shell and now, 

exhausted, had to go back home and make 

dinner for her family. Bizarre compositions 

of this female figure--always naked with a 

piece of cloth conveniently draped about 

her flanks--include vacuum cleaners and 

cherubs, cats and slinky dinks, action 

figures and flip flops. These paintings are 

filled with momentos and symbols from 

Vonnegut's own life, and through the 

stories depicted, Vonnegut expresses her 

own reactions to how even Venus might have 

felt after a long, hard day of goddess 


Finally, a trip to two well-lit, top floor 

galleries across the street from each other 

ended my gallery tour. At the Barbara 

Krakow Gallery, Nicholas Nixon's 

photographs lined the walls in several 

series depicting youth, age and family 

relations. One set of 20 photographs is 

portraits from a nursing home in Boston--

the pain and emotion are revealed with a 

fierce clarity that only photography can 

capture--constrasting, for instance, the 

wrinkles of the patients' faces with the 

wrinkled bed sheets. Also on view in a 

gallery annex are Nixon's famous portraits 

of his beautiful wife and her three 

sisters, here featuring 22 pictures of the 

four women in the same pose taken every 

year for 22 years. The works are in 

chronological order, and are a fascinating 

study of the expression of four very 

different faces as they age year after 


The highlight of the group show at Bernard 

Toale Gallery are the photo weavings of 

Hunter Reynolds. They are truly wonderful: 

for each one Reynolds sews together 864 

photographs with colored thread, which he 

leaves dangling and uncut, creating a 

single glossy yet textured quilt of images 

which hang from the wall as a single unit. 

One work concentrates on the sky of Berlin 

(where Reynolds's studio is located), 

another is a golden memorial to his friend 

and artist Felix Gonzales-Torres, who died 

of AIDS last year. Other works in the show 

included a photographic diary by fellow 

photographer Maxine Henryson depicting 

Reynolds as his performance art alter-ego, 

Patina Du Prey, and his tour through the 

streets of Boston, New York, Berlin and 

other cities swirling like a dervish in a 

woman's white ball gown. The photographs 

show the reactions of the crowds that Du 

Prey passes in her international tour. 

After this final gallery visit, I plunged 

back into the cold day, and had a lovely 

stroll through the near-frozen Boston 

Common. Boston is a great and historical 

city, always fascinating to revisit and 

explore. My brief visit to the contemporary 

art scene of Boston was a treat, and I look 

forward to returning in the future.

Sidney Hurwitz and Christine Triebert at 

John Callahan Gallery, 285 Newbury Street, 

Boston, Mass. 02116.

Bill Brauer at Chase Gallery, Oct. 30-Nov. 

25, 1996, 173 Newbury Street.

Edith Vonnegut at Pepper Gallery, Oct. 18-

Nov. 3, 1996, 38 Newbury Street.

Nicholas Nixon at Barbara Krakow Gallery, 

Oct. 19-Nov. 30, 1996, 10 Newbury Street, 

5th Floor. Coming up: "The Persistance of 

Vision, Part I," a group show including 

works by Kelly, Oldenburg, Nauman, Serra 

and Warhol.

Hunter Reynolds at Bernard Toale Gallery, 

Nov. 5-Dec. 7, 1996, 11 Newbury Street. 

Coming up: "Small Scale Landscapes," a 

group show, Dec. 10, 1996-Jan. 18, 1997.

JANET ROSSBACH is a new-media consultant 

for the arts (e-mail: