“Burning Bridges”

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Burning Bridges

To burn a bridge is to destroy one’s path, connections, and reputation - intentionally. The phrase comes from the military action of burning bridges after your army crosses, which means that you can’t retreat. In practical terms, you don’t have a fallback position, and you are prepared to do whatever it takes to keep moving forward. We are resolute. We are moving ahead with purpose and conviction.

May the bridges we burn light our way. We, three female artists, have all put aside family and household responsibilities to pursue our own interests. We have thrown it all into the wind and decided to revisit our youthful ambitions, and recapture some of our freedom and excitement, by pursuing what will be our life’s work. All of the work we do now is the result of what we struggled to do earlier in our lives, and we are grateful to have this time and energy to move forward. Our experiences have led to us finding our voices. No retreating! Now is the time to move forward with no backup plan.

Sally Dion is a printmaker and artist-in-residence at the Dover Art Center in New Hampshire. She works with traditional printmaking techniques using unconventional materials. Her handmade garments contain linoleum block portraits, large scale panels of monoprinted visual stories on silk and sewn three-dimensional bags and pouches. Her work is about family and the effect of our culture on family. The disintegration and acknowledgement of this fragmentation of all that we hold dear concerns her. Her work, seen from a distance, can be ethereal, but on closer inspection many images appear, asking questions and developing relationships between the images and the viewer.

Born in Portland Maine, Dion attended Mass College of Art and Design and received her BFA with a focus on printmaking in 1982. For twenty years, she continued to make art and participated in local art fairs and taught classes to students and adults. Ten years ago, Sally began to participate in an open classroom experience at New Hampshire Institute of the Arts with other printmakers. They started to gather and apply to shows together with the goal of promoting the art of printmaking. Now after several years and four shows, they continue to enjoy the collaboration of working together and supporting each other. Dion is now a third-year graduate student at MassArt's MFA program, and has continued to grow in both in concept and craft. She looks forward to finishing next summer and continuing her rigorous yet joyful practice of printmaking that includes serigraph, linoleum, wood cut and solar plate along with the very traditional etching and lithography. Recently, she has taken her printing into sculpture.

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Leslie Lyman depicts the emotional labor of women through historical memory. She is focused on the unseen, invisible work of daily life and is interested in its generational effect. Her work relies on repetition and volume to express the simultaneous tedium and burden. It deliberately places the viewer back in a non-specific previous time that emphasizes the basics of domestic work.

We inherit the emotional labor of our mothers and our grandmothers – the story of their lives is deeply ingrained in the story of our own - their persistent gestures of love, care, constancy, loss and endurance become our stories. The enduring lack of societal respect and acknowledgement of this important work is embedded in her artistic practice.

A student of history, Leslie Lyman has long been interested in the lives of women. She was an American Studies major at Smith College where she earned her BA. She subsequently took numerous classes in historic preservation and material culture as Leslie was always interested in the social history of the families and the people she studied.

Over the past decade, Leslie increasingly saw art as an expression of historical memory. Her work began in classes at Montserrat College where Leslie eventually developed a collection of skills that she could use to speak visually – bookmaking, photo transfers, letterpress, assemblage, stitching, calligraphy, paper making and encaustic.

An MFA graduate in August 2020 from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Leslie is using sculpture and photography to blend the past and present in order to discuss the emotional labor of women.  Her interests lie in the complex realities of today as seen from the generational history we all hold.

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Cynthia Zeman investigates the constraints and restrictions of femininity, including those that are self-imposed. She makes paintings that are colorful, pretty and humorous to attract attention, and then subvert expectations. Her collage images are from various sources, from high art to pop-culture, from funny baby goat videos to hair curler packaging, and create scenarios that force the viewer to look at the very things they wish to avoid.

In her current series, she is exploring what we deliberately decide to turn away from. Whether it’s the still stultifying expectations for women, or what is going on politically in the outside world, we all escape and disengage. She is interested in what we ignore and how we distract ourselves - what do we try to change and when do we pull the curtains shut? How complicit are we in the status quo?

Cynthia Zeman lives just north of Boston and recently earned her MFA at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She majored in film production as an undergraduate at New York University, and her experimental film, Phoenix, was bought by Warner Brothers and taken on tour as an opening act by the band King Crimson.  It also won best Experimental film at the Houston International Film Festival.  Her work in film production and editing ranged from Japanese commercials to the award-winning independent films Film for Two and Broadway Damage.

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The Piano Craft Gallery, Inc. is located in a historic Boston landmark that works to eliminate common barriers to accessing the arts such as race, education level, and class by guiding our operation through an anti-racist and inclusive lens.  The Piano Craft Gallery, Inc. does this by sharing, promoting, and celebrating the work of racially, culturally, and socio-economically diverse artists of all abilities with the public. This results in diverse networks of individuals accessing the gallery space and experiencing the arts.  The Piano Craft Gallery, Inc. provides a free, handicapped accessible venue in Boston where people can enjoy and learn about the diversity of art-making and performing in the Greater Boston area.  Additionally, the Piano Craft Gallery, Inc. provides an affordable community venue for public and private events.

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