Arts, Features

BU alum transforms cat hospital into Kenmore gallery space

The opening reception of “Tales From the Gut” at the Post-Cubicle Gallery in Kenmore Square. The show features work from a number of different artists and explores themes of trauma and memory. PHOTO COURTESY LADAN OSMAN

Boston residents walking up Beacon Street may notice a new burst of color among the storefronts in Kenmore Square.

Alexander Golob, who graduated from the College of Fine Arts in 2016, is the director of the new Post-Cubicle Gallery, an art space that he opened on property owned by Hotel Buckminster.

Together with co-curators Edie Côté and Danielle Pratt, who both graduated from CFA last year, Golob hosted the gallery’s opening on Friday with its inaugural show “Tales from the Gut.” The show focuses on stories of nostalgia, trauma and personal emotion.

“We wanted to make something with stories that people will gain something from seeing, or that people will find connection with,” Golob said. “The goal is that people [will] be moved or provoked or changed for the better.”

Thirty artists are featured in the exhibition, including Golob, Côté and Pratt themselves. The medium of art varies widely, ranging from oil paintings to etchings to plaster-and-foam-sculptures to video projects. Each piece relates to the theme of “tales from the gut.”

At the opening, visitors drank wine, ate light refreshments and milled among works displayed on walls and on pedestals on the floor space. The exhibition’s title is handwritten on the wall in black paint, and some exposed cables and lighting wires are visible above the display areas.

When Golob, Côté and Pratt first got the chance to use the space, the room was, in Pratt’s words, “pretty raw.” It had originally been a cat hospital and used to be divided into small office rooms — which is how Golob got the idea for the name “Post-Cubicle Gallery.” The trio had to create their own lighting, which they accomplished with small streetlight-like lamps hanging above the art.

“We had the chance to do a sort of DIY version of gallery lighting,” Côté said. “It’s been really rewarding to say, ‘We lit this ourselves, we did the whole main component of the space ourselves, and that’s really cool.”

Displaying the work itself was also very much trial-and-error for the curators, Pratt said.

“It really was kind of learn-as-you-go,” she said. “We’d had some experience installing works, but nothing to the extent of [this]. Figuring out how to hang some works that don’t necessarily hang well on walls was a challenge. We had to think about things we had never had to consider before, and we figured out a lot of it along the way.”

The spirit of DIY also bleeds into the gallery’s philosophy about choosing artwork to display. In putting out the call for artwork, the trio specifically chose not to ask for information like age or level of experience as an artist. As a result, the artists featured are a mixture of students from BU and other universities and independent artists from the Greater Boston area.

“We wanted to make this project about the art, and about the personal stories, not the people or their credentials,” Golob said. “Our application asked for name, examples of artwork and an artist’s statement. For some people, that artist statement meant writing about themselves, and we kind of learned about who they were that way.”

One CFA graduate student whose art was displayed, Wendy Lin, used her work to talk about her experience as an international student. Lin used her Chinese name, Yuan Lin, on her artworks, which are comprised of a screen print titled “Space Egg” and a video called “Liminal” that projects onto the inside of a suitcase.

“For the video, I put images and video that represent two different sides of my life, as a student in America and as a student who is from China,” Lin said. “The theme of this show was supposed to be something that reveals a story ‘from the gut’ — your story. And this is my story.”

Golob said having the chance to showcase all these works is exciting, and he’s looking forward to what the gallery can do in the future. “Tales from the Gut” will remain open until May 20, but Golob is already looking ahead to the possibility of future exhibits.

“I feel like we’ve been given the opportunity, that I never expected to have, to facilitate a space that can affect a lot of people. And I want to fill this place with things that are experimental,” he said. “I engage with art because it lifts people up and transforms their living spaces, and I want to do that.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article said the gallery space was formerly used as “a pet hotel.” It should say the gallery space was “a cat hospital.” The current version reflects this change.

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