The ANNEX is a section of the Gallery where we spotlight new work by regional artists.
Monica DeSalvo is a storyteller inviting the viewer to discover hidden stories of family, resistance and resilience. In her mixed media works, she blends drawing, printmaking, painting and collage, while freely combining representational and abstract imagery. Monica seeks seamless harmony, dissects a moment, and expresses sweeping thoughts about life’s transitions. She works by deconstructing, reconstructing, repeating and layering. The patterns and shapes that emerge become fodder for new pieces and themes, and new pieces become found paper for the next iteration, acting as a bridge between visual chapters.
Monica received her BFA in Visual Design from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where she completed two additional years of graduate study in graphic design and typography. She has exhibited widely in the Boston area including Fountain Street Gallery, Bromfield Gallery, the Arlington Center for the Arts, and the Belmont Gallery of Art. DeSalvo is a member of the University & College Designers Association, the Swiss Society of Boston, and the Arlington Center for the Arts. Her studio is located in Arlington.
Sirarpi Heghinian-Walzer’s abstract work springs both from meditations on nature and from memories that are distilled into single dramatic moments; they are the expression of emotions. The energetic surfaces imply an ongoing tension between freedom and containment. Using oils, acrylics, ink and wax she draws, scrawls, scrapes and paints on surfaces that are rich in layers of paper, fabric, wood and found materials. The layers of her collages ooze with life.
Sirarpi has exhibited her work in galleries throughout Europe and the United States, and is collected nationally and internationally. Sirarpi is represented by Gallery 263, Gallery Z, and Gallery Twist. She serves on the boards of Cambridge Art Association and Non-Profit Net in Massachusetts. She is the co-founder and director of Art Without Borders, an online community that champions the rights of artists. She lives and works in Lexington, MA.
Melissa Shaak works in acrylics and mixed-media on paper. In her newest series, Through Lines, she explores the interplay between flat gray areas outlined in teal, and the revealed layer underneath with its amorphous shapes and shifts of color. The phrase “Through Lines,” as used in theater, suggests the simplification of a narrative. In these paintings, the dominant story line is juxtaposed with underlying pockets of local color. Melissa’s process typically involves building up layers of paint in an unplanned and improvisational way, then scraping through to expose areas beneath the surface. She seeks to balance what is bold and simplified with what is nuanced and complex, and as such is relevant to the personal, familial, cultural and political stories we tell every day.
Melissa lives and works in Somerville, MA. A solo show of her Understory paintings was hosted by Cambridge Health Associates in 2016 and a solo show of monotype prints at 1188 Broadway, Somerville in 2014. Melissa has taken coursework at Tufts School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Mass College of Art. In addition, she has studied with Adria Arch and Robert Siegelman. Melissa is a longstanding member of the Creativity Lab at the New Art Center.