T station gallery looks to expand programming

May 27, 2011
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Now in its fourth year occupying a gallery space attached to the Green Street T Station, The Axiom Center for New and Experimental Media has spent 2011 trying to expand.

The hope, Axiom founder Heidi Kayser said, is to bring more shows to the space and “to keep the space open more, just really enliven the space.”

The gallery’s mission is to be cutting-edge, she said.

“We are not a community center. A lot of the stuff we do is off the map,” adding, “We are trying to engage people in the neighborhood.”

After years of being run by regularly changing group, the volunteer-run gallery took on four new members in January, expanding to become a fairly permanent eight-person collective, Kayser said.

The gallery, which has long been a local exhibit space for the JP-run Boston Cyberarts Festival, this year gave up its stand-alone nonprofit status and became a part of the nonprofit that runs the festival. That could mean new fund-raising opportunities, Kayser said, and it means less paperwork for the volunteer-run gallery. One of Kayser’s day jobs is on the five-person staff of Boston Cyberarts.

Cyberarts officially ran from April 22 to May 8 this year, and right now Axiom’s exhibit from this year’s festival, a display of kinetic sculptures called “Move Me,” is keeping things hopping there. One piece from that show—“Field” by Chris Fitch—is a tempo-setting geared contraption that sets a long jointed arm swinging back and forth like a drunk metronome.

That piece is visible through the gallery’s storefront near the Amory Street entrance to the station.

“Move Me” also features work by Arthur Ganson, Tom Haney, Steve Hollinger and Erica von Schilgen. According to Axiom’s website (www.axiomart.org), “The works explore the intimate, poetic drama created as electricity, clockworks or human interaction physically ‘moves’ kinetic sculpture but also emotionally ‘moves’ an observer.”

And moving forward, Kayser said, she is hopeful that the gallery will be the site of more activity all around.

Each of the new collective members will be curating at least one exhibit a year, and the expanded group means Axiom may be able to expand its hours. Currently, the gallery is open from 6 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 2 to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

In Axiom’s immediate future is a show scheduled for this summer that will feature works by college students from Emerson, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Boston and the Wentworth Institute of Technology, she said.

That show, scheduled for June, will be one of the collective’s first projects as a group. Axiom collective members are reaching out to faculty at the different colleges to identify student artists, Kayser said.

The collective also plans to spend some time making art together this summer as part of the annual Bumpkin Island Art Encampment—an event where groups of artists spend a week on an island in the Boston Harbor creating installation pieces. “That might turn into a show,” Kayser said.

And the group is working with video game sound designer and audio collage artist Ben Houge on setting up a “sound installation” in the gallery in August, Kayser said.

Axiom has been renting the Green Street space from the MBTA since 2007, Kayser said. Prior to that, Axiom was founded in Brighton in 2004 and then moved to Cambridge. The Green Street space was previously occupied by the Green Street Gallery, which opened in 1998.

For more information, see axiomart.org.

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