EYES & LIPS Jeanne Galarneau Kent 20" x 16", acrylic on canvas panel Northeastern University Evening Division art class project, 1969 Donated by the artist December 2008
Stylized facial features float before a colorful background. The orange-slice eyes and blue lips are totally segregated; never invading each others’ space as they inhabit separate but equal real estate on the canvas.
The artist clarifies the yellow dots to the left and below every set of lips, "I always wanted to have beauty marks like Miss Peggy Lee . . ." (the sultry singer/actress who famously sang of feverish affairs of the heart).
EYES SEE YOU F. W. Covington 18" x 12", watercolor and marker on illustration board Formerly in the collection of Milt and Mona Hinton, Queens, NY Donated by David G. Berger and Holly Maxson June 2011
The artist has effectively portrayed life-size pairs of disembodied eyes on a flame-red background; some staring straight ahead while others glance left or right. They are realistic and iconic in their simplicity. Of particular interest is a cross-eyed pair of eyes along the left edge, and one huge bloodshot eyeball at the right center that may be the artist's own after a long night out.
Guest Interpretator: Holly Maxson
AN I FOR AN EYE A. LivLaing Bradford (2001) 30" x 20" acrylic on canvas Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA March 2008
The woman/tree unquestionably is crying out for help that will never come. Her morphing, arborescent figure, faceless and in shame, is reaching upward for sustenance while a torrent of tearful eyes cascades about her, threatening to bury her in her own psychosexual drift. Each eye, of course, represents not the optic organ but rather the homophonic letter "I", or "Id" that dark, inaccessible part of one's personality that subordinates reality to a childlike search for pleasure and gratification.
The tragedy depicted in this work is that the woman/tree knows that help (redemption?) is beyond her reach, and her legs/roots meander aimlessly atop a barren landscape, grounded in nothingness. She needs water but receives only salt from an unending well of sorrow.
MOBA Guest Interpretator: Steve Herman
HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU Anonymous 48" x 16", oil on canvas Rescued from curbside trash in Jamaica Plain, MA September 2009
Larger than life and unencumbered by eyelashes, the solitary green eye looms menacingly silent.
THE GAZE Anonymous 32" x 16", oil on canvas board Purchased at a thrift shop in Boston, MA February 2010
Pollockian splatters and a bright blue background change the palette, but the ominous black eye in the foreground of this derivative work is no less foreboding than the green one in HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU.
QUE VIVA PAPÁ CHANGO (CHANGO LIVES) Anonymous 12” x 8”, oil on wood panel Appreciated in a private residence in Havana, Cuba November 2009
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL Andres E. Maldonado, 1999 14” x 18”, acrylic on canvas panel Donated by Vivian Fernandez February 2017
While it is commonly recognized that eyes are portals to the soul, gazing into this one is disturbingly like staring down the barrel of a gun.
This artist was clearly influenced by M.C. Escher, the great Swiss surrealist.
EYE WISH EYE WERE AN OSCAR MEYER WEINER Anonymous 48" x 14", oil on canvas Purchased at the Antique Fair in Brimfield, MA and donated by Cindi Chapman December 2009
This monochrome portrait of a young boy, repellent and yet compelling, is fraught with unanswerable questions. Where is his right big toe, does he have a right hand, and why is he portrayed wearing nothing but a short sleeve shirt that is obviously too small to fit over his belly; seemingly swollen in an unlikely pregnancy?
JEALOUSY Bonnie J. S. Mueller (2003) 12” x 16”, acrylic on canvas panel Donated by the artist February 2017
The artist wrote that this painting was “part of a series of emotions." Everyone at MOBA hopes her frame of mind has improved.
ILLUSION OR CONFUSION Steve Whitehurst (c.1967) 24” x 11”, oil on canvas Donated by Shirley Whitehurst March 2017
The artist depicted floating aquatic daisies surrounding the reflection of the sun in a pool of rippling water. The viewer is left to ponder who is lurking in the foliage.
WALLEYES Anonymous 60" x 60", acrylic on canvas Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA October 2012
Yellow walleye (Sander vitreus) and blue walleye (Sander vitreus glaucus) are freshwater perciform fish native to most of Canada and the northern United States. The black ones in this painting seem to be of a different order entirely.
SUPERSTAR Illegible 13" x 11", paint on pine board Rescued from trash in New York City and donated by Louis Frank May 2006
Many faces are depicted in a crazy-quit jumble. The artist's use of common pine and monochromatic hues indicate indicate his underlying democratic belief that everyone is a star.
From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco