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arts

Gallery’s exhibition takes a new look at portraits

Works being featured in “About Face,” which opens Tuesday at Gallery Seven in Maynard, include (above) “Stuffy Nose, New York” by Astrid Reischwitz, and (left) “Selfie,” by Michael Frassinelli.

Works being featured in “About Face,” which opens Tuesday at Gallery Seven in Maynard, include (above) “Stuffy Nose, New York” by Astrid Reischwitz, and (left) “Selfie,” by Michael Frassinelli.

‘The human face is the most photographed thing in the world,” said Nick Johnson, co-owner of Gallery Seven in Maynard and a juror for an exhibition opening there Tuesday, “About Face.”

“For as long as there have been cameras, people have always taken portraits. Nowadays, with ‘selfies,’ with photos posted on Facebook, with so many photos everywhere, portraits have become like wallpaper,’’ he said. “This show shows how you can elevate the portrait. The submissions we received were remarkable.”

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Johnson and his fellow juror, Paula Tognarelli, executive director and curator at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, received 150 submissions for the show. Out of those, they chose 28 to exhibit.

In its essence, said Johnson, who also teaches at the New England School of Photography, a portrait can be defined as a picture in which the main element to which a viewer relates is the face. But the submissions he and Tognarelli chose for this show go far beyond the traditional head-and-shoulders shot.

“This may have been the most fun juried show we’ve ever put together, because of the range of work,” Johnson said. “When we do something like a New England landscape-themed show, we see a lot of similar stuff. But in this show, everything in it is different from everything else.”

One artist Johnson cites as giving new perspective to the notion of what constitutes a portrait is Bedford photographer Astrid Reischwitz, whose image depicts a background of graffiti with a woman’s face superimposed in front of it. “It goes beyond the standard interpretation of a face filling the frame,” Johnson said.

Reischwitz admits that, initially, she didn’t expect her work to fit into the Gallery Seven exhibition.

“When I read about the portrait show, I thought they were looking only for facial expressions or something traditional about that,’’ she said. But then the gallery’s other owner, Kelli Costa, “sent out an e-mail saying it was open to any kind of expression. I submitted two pieces which both reflect my interest in street art.”

Michael Frassinelli of Holliston has only recently become interested in the idea of portrait photography; primarily he is a sculptor, but was looking for a new artistic challenge when he read the call for submissions. His piece is called, simply, “Selfie” — a term for smartphone self-portraits he learned from his art students at Dana Hall School in Wellesley.

“The concept behind this is ‘it’s all about me,’ ’’ he said. “Last summer I started taking random pictures with my cellphone of the word ‘me.’ I would see the two letters in signage at the end of a word like home or game, and crop it on my cellphone. Once I had about 2,000 images, I started thinking about making a photo montage. I based my self-portrait on the work of Chuck Close. I arranged my head in the same way he did in his self-portraits, and then used software to construct an image of myself made up of all these tiny images of the word ‘me.’ If you look at it very closely, you see the individual pictures of the word. If you back up, the face starts to emerge.”

In her role as juror, Tognarelli said, she was “looking for something that was a mixture of the traditional and innovative, something that was innovative and conceptual.

“By conceptual, I mean something that is more process-oriented than subject-oriented. It’s when the photographer makes something happen with the photo, rather than just finding the image as is from the environment.”

“About Face” will be on display from Tuesday through April 5 at Gallery Seven, 7 Nason St. in Maynard, with an artists’ reception on March 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. For hours or more information, call 978-897-9777 or go to www.gallerysevenmaynard.com.

FOCUSED THEME: Francesca Anderson Fine Art is showing the work of 16 printmakers, including several members of the group Boston Printmakers, in a show called “Prints, Prints, Lots of Prints.’’

The display runs through March 8 at the gallery, 56 Adams St. in Lexington. For hours and more information, call 781-862-0660 or go online to www.fafineart.com.

STEAMPUNK OPERETTA: The Sudbury Savoyards’ production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty” opens Friday and runs through March 1.

The ensemble is tweaking one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s best-known works by putting a “steampunk” spin on it. Performances will take place at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through March 1, along with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m., at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, 390 Lincoln Road in Sudbury

This weekend’s matinee is a family show that will include the opportunity to tour the stage and meet members of the cast, crew, and orchestra.

Tickets are $24 for adults, $18 for seniors and students, and $12 for children under 12. For more information, or to order tickets, go to www.sudburysavoyards.org, e-mail tickets@sudburysavoyards.org, or call 978-443-8811 and leave a message.

PUPPET LOVE: The Tanglewood Marionettes presents “The Dragon King” at Newton City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Ave., at 1 and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday

Based on Chinese folklore, “The Dragon King” tells the tale of an intrepid grandmother who journeys to the bottom of the sea in search of the Dragon King, who has forsaken the land above.

Tickets are $8 if purchased in advance at www.newtoncommunitypride.org, and $10 at the door.

IMAGINARY PAIRING: Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston presents “Barbra & Frank: The Concert That Never Was,” starring Sharon Owens as Streisand and Sebastian Anzaldo as Sinatra, on Sunday at 2 p.m. at 617 Lexington St. in Waltham.

Setting the mood, film clips and photo stills of the stars grace the stage as the tribute artists bring their most famous tunes to life.

Tickets are $35 to $50 for adults, $32 to $47 for seniors, and $25 for ages 5 to 18. Student rush seats at 50 percent off are available one hour before curtain with a valid college ID.

To purchase tickets or for more information, go to www.reaglemusictheatre.com, call 781-891-5600, or visit the theater’s box office.

Send ideas to nancyswest@ gmail.com.
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