Best of Boston Home 2008
Faux Finishes & Murals
Murals dance a thin line between clever and cornball. The work of Natick-based Arteriors, however, always errs on the side of good taste. Husband-and-wife team Amiel and Stephanie Mesner can paint detailed exotic landscapes (think Provençal scenes), kid-approved backdrops, and intricate still lifes that look like modern-day Michelangelos. Their faux-finishing repertoire includes Venetian plaster and graphic paint layers.
45 Lakeview Ave., Natick, 508-655-1942, arteriorsfaux.com
A great framing job can elevate decent artwork to masterpiece status, so seek out the folks at this Cantabrigian standout. They’ll work tirelessly to find that perfect frame, mat, and molding, and then assemble them with care, adding “pop” to your recently acquired Matisse. Plus, the Cambridge Framery promises your art will last, thanks to museum-quality techniques that protect your investment from environmental elements.
110 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-864-4487, cambridgeframery.com
BERNARD TOALE GALLERY
Bernard Toale, a longtime fixture on the Boston art scene, moved his gallery from Newbury Street to SoWa (south of Washington) in 1998—just before that section of the South End got hip (and monikered). Most artists are well-established, internationally known painters, photographers, and sculptors, but he does offer up an occasional nascent genius as well.
450 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-482-2477
Gallery, General Excellence
JUDI ROTENBERG GALLERY
One of the oldest independent galleries in Boston, this Newbury institution continues to operate under its 1971 credo that experimental, bold, and colorful are worth the investment. Mediums range from video to installation-based works, abstract assemblages, and local scenes painted by Rotenberg herself.
130 Newbury St., Boston, 617-437-1518, judirotenberg.com
THE PROJECT ROOM AT TAN KALLOCHS’S ART STUDIO
Herald your liberal agenda with socially and culturally provocative art from this converted-garage gallery in Malden, founded seven years ago by art-biz extraordinaire Sand T. This “unincorporated private entity,” formerly called
ArtSpace@16, is actively trying to build an arts community in Malden for displaced creative types (like those from Fort Point Channel) by linking them with gallery owners and private collectors.
16 Princeton Rd., Malden, 781-321-8058, artspaceat16.com
THE SPARROW HOUSE
Going to the Sparrow House is a full-day experience: For just $2 ($1 for children), visitors can tour surveyor Richard Sparrow’s original 1636 house and breathe in its Colonial scents, then enjoy a well-curated array of contemporary American crafts like glass vases and silver necklaces. Several times each year, the gallery also hosts an art show featuring top East Coast artists who work in traditional mediums like photography and oils. Take home an original work from the museum shop, which offers hand-crafted wooden spoons, jewelry, and ceramics.
42 Summer St., Plymouth, 508-747-1240, sparrhowhouse.com
AXELLE FINE ARTS
If you love Monet, if your kitchen calendar is Renoir, or if you drool over Cézanne, then bring your checkbook. Highly reputable, with galleries in New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco, Axelle deals primarily in contemporary French paintings inspired by the impressionist movement. Works by Jacques Gatti and Philippe Vasseur are charmingly anachronistic in their soft-focus beauty and traditional subject matter.
91 Newbury St., Boston, 617-450-0700, axelle.com
There was a time when Picasso paintings could be bought for the price of a sandwich. Those days may be long over, but if you think there is talent out there yet to be discovered, then test your hunch by gambling at this nonprofit cooperative gallery. It’s here that you’ll find work by graphic newbies trying to become the next art-world superstars. The best part is that you don’t have to break the bank to play. Spend a little or a lot—the intimate main gallery and its two satellite locations will sell you works ranging in price from $3 to $3,000.
8 W. Main St., Westborough, 508-870-0110, westborogallery.com