Tuesday became ‘cultural’ day – much to our youngest’s chagrin. None too pleased to lose potential ‘Fortnite’ time, still our fifteen-year-old acquiesced. None too pleased with teen 11am awakening, this mother changed the destination from Boston to Framingham.
We visited The Danforth Art Museum, recently partnered with Framingham State University. Arriving at the front desk of its new location on Vernon Street, we learned they moved in April and their exhibits were not yet fully installed– one section had paintings leaning against walls in all manner of leisure.
Cheers to the Danforth for exhibiting local artists’ work – one, permanently, from the late 19th, early 20thcenturies – Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller (1877-1968), and one now 90, Lois Tarlow.
The sculptor Fuller’s installation features a life-sized diorama of her Framingham attic studio. Tears welled as I witnessed the work of this artist, wife, mother – and read of conflict she experienced balancing family, vocation, and lack of access to the mainstream art world.
Lois Tarlow’s pieces, largely from the 1960s, shifted my sensibilities. Working in so many media, her vision felt at the same time grounded and transcendent. There were representational paintings of family life, sea turtles, jellyfish and a brood of Halloweeners around a table that spoke to me of an artist in delved deep into beauty in a lifetime. And then there were the abstract pieces of ribbon, patterned paint, calligraphy commentary that spoke to seeing far beyond her subject.
Receiving intermittent fly-bys by my fifteen-year-old companion urging my expediency, time for leaving descended. Almost to the car I realized I had no idea which pieces our son most admired. Past “None!” I learned there were two – both Tarlow’s darkest – which he begrudgingly agreed to go back in and show me.
Witnessing these two masters made me wonder how much we miss to our thus far myopic focus on males (notably Caucasian, in America) and how richly that is changing.