Whether the drawings in the caves at Lascaux, or a post-modern abstract in the Guggenheim, art has always nourished and animated the human spirit. So it is here at North Hill, where residents embrace art in all its forms as an essential element of a vibrant, purposeful life.
Our professional art gallery boasts 4 exhibits annually featuring distinguished artists from across the country. Our permanent collection includes works from the Danforth Museum and all past exhibitors.
See below for our current exhibition and a look at some from the past.
In the Gallery July, August, September, 2021
The Rhythm of Chinese Art, Painting and Calligraphy by Mike Mei
The Rhythm of Chinese Art, Painting and Calligraphy by Mike Mei
During this time of heightened anti-Asian violence and hate, The Art Gallery at North Hill is proud to showcase the richness and tradition of Chinese art with the work of acclaimed Chinese Artist and Calligraphy master, Mike Mei. Mike Mei grew up in a small Toishan village in Southern China. He learned to appreciate and develop his talent while young. He graduated from Guangzhou Normal University and he emigrated in 1985. He now teaches Chinese Art at Brandeis University and has given calligraphy demonstrations and lessons there and at Harvard University, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Worcester Art Museum among many other locations. Mike speaks 3 different Chinese dialects: Mandarin, Cantonese, and Toishanese. His calligraphy demonstrates the wonder and beauty of communicating across multiple dialects using the same written characters. Each character or word is pronounced in a variety of ways, but has the same meaning across dialects and ethnicities within China and internationally. Chinese Art has the rich tradition of an ancient culture and living history. Mike Mei, a master calligrapher and poet follows the evolution of Chinese calligraphy from ancient to traditional to simplified. Mike combines his mastery of the ancient calligraphic arts and brushwork with contemporary realist and abstract painting techniques. He renders landscape, still life and abstraction in varying traditional and contemporary styles and overlays poetry in graphic strokes. Mike is President of the Chinese American Fine Arts Society, and he was commissioned to create a tablet at the Gateway to Chinatown in Boston. He wrote the character for "longevity" 2000 times in different styles (a world record) that was carved in marble for a public park in China. He was the only living Chinese artist included in the 100th celebration of the Peabody Essex Museum (now PEM) in 2003 and the only Chinese artist in over a century to appear at Harvard and the Boston Museum of Fine arts. His works are in the collections of the former President of Taiwan, Ma Yin Ju, and PEM, In a statement for his current show at Sun Stone Gallery in West Concord MA, Mike Mei says he paints "the beauty of the seashore, oceans, lakes - it is the place of our spirit."
Double Exposure, a show of work by Ann and Alan Strassman is at the Art Gallery at North Hill until the end of March.
Both Strassmans focus on regular folks in gritty surroundings. In this group are denizens of NYC and Boston.
There’s an immediate impact from Ann’s life-size skillfully rendered acrylic portraits on cardboard and you will recognize some of these characters.
Alan’s large scale photographs are elegant, often serene and filled with detail. Both bodies of work are narrative commentary on city life now.
The painted and photographed crowd of unmasked and unselfconscious figures in the Art Gallery at North Hill remind us of our recent ignorant and blissful past. While live and masked people can only gather in the gallery by twos for the foreseeable future.
Ann Strassman writes, “Painting is a visual art. Regardless of the motivation, emotion or trauma depicted by the artist, in the end the viewer must want to look at it. The marks on the surface must stand on their own. I believe it is necessary for the paint to be compelling . . . without explanation. There are no metaphors just the magic of paint.”
But there is also the magic of Ann’s talent and skilled observation. The decisions and choices she makes regarding composition, detail and materials all comprise a narrative. She says, “I am a contemporary representational painter. My work concentrates on figurative subjects and, in recent years, has focused on urban street life. I work in the portrait and genre tradition but as part of the current art scene, pushing this traditional discipline into the new century and endowing it with contemporary relevance.”
Ann completed the studio art diploma program in 1995 at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. City streets of the Northeast provide the inspiration for work in her Boston studio. Ann’s paintings have been widely exhibited in New England and she has been represented by art galleries from coast to coast and her work is in many private and corporate collections. Her most recent solo exhibition (2018) was at Gallery Kayafas in Boston. In 2016 she was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship and in 2017 she received Best of Show in the Cambridge Art Association National Prize Show. Since 2018 she has been represented by George Berges Gallery in New York where she looks forward to a solo show in 2021.
Alan Strassman writes, “Classic 20th century street photography in the 21st century: street photography is a timeless genre, but times change and people on the street evolve. Work of early 20th century pioneers, Eugène Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson continue to inspire photographers to this day. Shooting the streets, I take my lead from Atget’s urban documentary photography and I pursue Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment” but today’s compelling image needs to say “today” not yesterday. Cars have replaced horses and nothing else has changed the “look” of the street more than the cell phone. Street photography tradition lives on in unmanipulated, unromanticized images of real people in their everyday lives, but isolation, self-absorption and abandonment of privacy that are hallmarks of today’s hyper-connected world are expressed in the posture and concentration of people indifferent to the street life around them.”
A serious amateur for many years, photography became Alan Strassman’s second career in 2008. His work has been widely exhibited and is owned in private, corporate and museum collections. Recent exhibitions include group shows at the Attleboro Museum, Griffin Museum, Cambridge Art Association, Southeast Center for Photography and Connecticut Academy of Fine Art and solo exhibitions at The Harvard Graduate School of Education, The Newton (MA) Free Library and Galatea Fine Art (Boston). His publications include Signs of Life, an illustrated history of photography and New England Mill Towns, contemporary images from the birthplace of the industrial revolution in America.
Alan has studied photography at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Maine Media Workshops. Also, a graduate of Princeton and the Harvard Business School, he is President Emeritus of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Chairman Emeritus of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.