CAA show at University Place Gallery, 124 Mount Auburn Street

  • Posted on: 23 October 2009
  • By: mholbrow

“These trees are giant lettuce! The tiny people are the farmers!”

Christian Ventura calls his mother, Brenda Ventura, over to look at a photograph by Judy Robinson-Cox. Its title is "lettuce farm." Among the towering salad greens, miniature human figures are digging and raking.

Every few steps Christian spots something that stops him in his tracks. He and his mother are at "Seeing is Forgetting," the Cambridge Art Association show at University Place Gallery, 124 Mount Auburn Street. In addition to photographs by Robinson-Cox, the show features mixed media works by Catherine Evans; photography by Robert Hesse; cut metal sculpture by Madeleine Lord; and assemblages by Lorraine Sullivan.

Christian, 12, likes to draw at school in Somerville, both in and outside of art class. His lively reactions to the show underscore its defining theme: to truly perceive one must abandon preconceptions associated with names. The CAA program posted in the lobby also notes that “the processes of transformation and alteration unite the art of the 5 exhibiting artists.”

“Look—a box with white hair coming out of it, like spaghetti!”

Now Christian is looking at a Catherine Evans piece titled feel deeply the untold truth. The materials are plastic rope and rubber around wood.

“And did you see that bull back there? It’s made of iron stuff.”

He points to yellow faced bull by Madeline Lord. The bull's nose-ring is an old C-clamp. Scrap metal is Lord's raw material—tractor seats, screen, bits of enamelled appliances, plumbing apparatus.

"Seeing is Forgetting" opened earlier this month; it closes October 30. More information is on line at The name comes from a book title, Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees. The book, a biography of California artist Robert Irwin, was written over many years by long-time New Yorker art critic Lawrence Weschler. Irwin’s evolving preoccupation with the nature of perception has influenced generations of artists.

On this quiet midweek afternoon there’s a small but steady flow of people through the gallery. The Rev. John O’Brien of Framingham says he comes in every couple of weeks. He describes himself as “a writer, teacher and priest.” He pauses at reality show contestants, a chilling Lorraine Sullivan assemblage (found objects and cast paper) that evokes a guillotine. He stops again at "le cygnet" (ultrachrome on canvas), a Robert Hesse photograph. It is one of several French-titled works that depict gleaming tangles of sea creatures and algal forms.

“Such a wonderful variety of shapes and colors and ideas,” he says quietly. “It brings me great joy.”

Two people from Reno, Nevada stand in front of I have searched everywhere to make sense of the world (mixed media, found objects), by Catherine Evans.

”Our granddaughter is a graduate student at Harvard. She has been telling us about the art, so we came over to have a look,” the woman says. “Now, this interests me.” She takes a close look at the cream-painted geometric array.

“These are everyday objects like nails and glass jars—I think I could unscrew those jars. But they’re something else when you put them together this way.”

The Cambridge Art Association was established in 1944. It consists of more than 500 juried artist members and a supporting group of Friend Members. Its purpose is to enhance the quality of the community by exhibiting art, supporting local artists, and creating diverse opportunities for art education and art appreciation.