By Adrian Alvarez for Boston Compass (#123)
May 12, 2020
“Out of limitations, new forms emerge,” said Fauvist Georges Braques. Emerging from our current spate of limitations, the Shelter in Place Gallery from Eben Haines allows the isolated artists of Boston to exhibit large-scale at time when studio space is at a minimum. Originally conceived in 2019 as a personal project to work through the crummy weather that left his studio inaccessible, Eben revisited his 1:12 scale model of a loft studio space as COVID closures impacted his work with the MFA. Its new purpose? “Get people unstuck from crisis mode…especially now when time is abundant but resources are near zero.”
The gallery hosts rotating shows of 100% original artwork created to scale. When installed, the illusion is complete and the exhibition reads as full-sized. The experience is heightened by Haines' painting skills, which transform featureless balsa wood and foamcore into weathered beams and worn bricks. Exhibiting artists join in on the verisimilitude by packing art into miniature wooden crates or rolling them on spindles with glassine. However, it is light that distinguishes SIP Gallery from other virtual galleries. The miniature factory windows and skylights drop a crisp spot of sun or flood the walls with a hazy glow that draw you into the gallery space and highlight the material care that the artists and gallery operator have put into the show. As to the future, Eben is uncertain, but hopeful: “Maybe it will be installed in a gallery's window someplace as a way to exhibit those impossible shows, maybe it will disappear on a shelf in my studio!” Until then, “Keep those submissions coming!”
Submissions require sample images, a proposal for the space, dimensions, and a short statement. Complete instructions and full gallery dimensions are visible here.