by Rick Winterson


   The neighborhood of South Boston wears many guises.  Not the least it is a place of beauty, and when called for, it’s a place of protest as well.  Both of these particular roles were reflected last weekend in two recent fine art exhibits. One exhibit at the Medicine Wheel’s Spoke Gallery (110 K Street, second floor), another at The Distillery Gallery (216 East Second Street, lower level).

   Medicine Wheel’s Spoke Gallery is the site of a striking exhibition of eight large works by John Provenzano, who has his own studio in South Boston’s King Terminal.  John’s medium is acrylic on canvas; the dimensions of his painting generally exceed six feet.  His creations are brilliantly colorful semi-abstractions, which also contain mixed media messages – printed words, barcodes, and so on.  Many of his works contain lightly rendered faces among the brushwork that makes up his background spectra.  Make it a point to attend his exhibit’s free reception on Saturday, March 4, which will feature a gallery talk by John.

   The Distillery’s exhibit was for one night, and one night only – Friday evening, January 20, the night of the Presidential Inauguration in Washington.  The topic of the exhibit goes without saying.  It was a pop-up protest exhibit, with individual works by many local artists.  Oddly enough (in this writer’s opinion), the works weren’t entitled or attributed.  Among the many protesting creations at this exhibit, perhaps the most pungent protest statement was the exhibit’s own title:  “”!  There are many levels of meaning that present gerund possesses, especially when punctuated as it was.  The “” exhibit began and ended on Friday evening; gin-based refreshments were served.

   Yes, South Boston is home to many artists, art forms, and artistic messages.  Enjoy them all – they are both beautiful and expressive; they don’t last forever.

John Provenzano’s “What’s on Your Mind”, a 78”x102” acrylic at Spoke Gallery.

John Provenzano’s colorful “One-Two”, a 74”x74” acrylic at Spoke Gallery.

A “live” exhibit at The Distillery’s “” – a Statue of Liberty.

An exhibit of inaugural awards at “” in The Distillery Gallery.