Sunday, April 20, 2014
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Biergarten: Brewing Conversation at Boston University

This week, Gallery 5 at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts features “Biergarten,” an exhibit largely comprised of abstract paintings with an enigmatic feeling, created by Ashley Teamer.

“I chose abstract and it chose me,” Teamer, a CFA senior, said.

“It could look like a tongue or a museum,” she said. “You can’t really put your finger on it. I like that mystery of it.”

The notion to paint abstractly — and therefore inherently utilize a sense of mystery — had always lingered in Teamer’s mind, she said.

“I began experimenting … The way you can make an abstract painting, there are no rules,” she said. “I can change the rules for myself.”

By toying with abstraction, Teamer learned the possibilities, both in the creation and interpretation of abstract art, are limitless, she said.

Because of abstract art’s ability to connect deeply with human emotion, the mysteries captured in Teamer’s pieces on display are sure to motivate discussion, perhaps allowing viewers to find common ground in places they wouldn’t normally expect.

In fact, the exhibit takes its name and some of its inspiration from Nicole Eisenman’s 2007 painting “Beer Garden at Night,” which, as Teamer describes “is teeming with conversations of all kinds.”

Like the beer garden in Eisenman’s painting, Teamer hopes her paintings will inspire interactions between viewers, she said.

“I chose to infuse topics in the paintings that will influence different conversations,” she said.

For example, many of the pieces explore a feeling of in-between existence, seen in the way Teamer infuses her paintings purposefully with holes and movement that draw attention to states of transition. The sense of being caught amid multiple levels of existence was influenced by the multiple identities she herself encompasses, Teamer said.

“As a black person, a woman, and a queer,” she said, “I’m … in between an intersection of minorities.”

The different parts of her life have shaped her into the artist that she is today, she said.

“I’m a ‘mixed-up’ and ‘together’ person at the same time,” Teamer said, adding, however, that identities, like other seemingly disparate things in life, intersect with one another in elusive ways.

The exhibit as a whole and the paintings as individual pieces explore this idea of interconnection.

Teamer’s reinterpretation of a beer garden is located on the fifth floor of CFA. Her artwork is bright, colorful and full of fascinating shapes, in keeping with her devotion to abstraction, and will be featured at the Gallery 5 until Friday.

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